The Global Education Digest 2007 presents the latest education statistics from primary to tertiary levels in more than 200 countries. This edition focuses on the financing of education and provides a series of indicators to compare spending patterns across countries and levels of education. The report publish by the UIS (UNESCO Institute of Statistics) indicates that the education budget of a single country like France, Germany, Italy or the United Kingdom outweighs education spending across the entire sub-Saharan African region. The Chronicle of Higher Education News Blog point out, according to the report, that the United States spends the most on education, with a public education budget “close to that of all governments in six regions combined: the Arab States, Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, South and West Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa.” The United States accounts for 28 percent of the global education budget but just 4 percent of the world’s children and young people, an imbalance “mainly due to the large numbers of university students and the relatively high costs associated with this level of education.

From UNESCO:

Governments in sub-Saharan Africa spend only 2.4% of the world’s public education resources. Yet about 15% of the school-age population lives in these countries, according to the Digest. In contrast, the United States, which is home to just 4% of the world’s children and young people, spends 28% of the global education budget. This is mainly due to the large numbers of university students and the relatively high costs associated with this level of education.

East Asia and the Pacific has the second-highest share of global public spending on education at 18% (after the North American and Western European region). Yet governments in the region are investing considerably less than their share of global wealth at 28% of GDP and the school-age population (29%).

The opposite scenario is found in South and West Asia, where 7% of the world’s public education resources are spent on 28% of children and young people. A more balanced situation emerges in Latin America and the Caribbean, a region which accounts for 8% to 9% of global education spending, the school-age population and global wealth.

For more information, download the following resources:

• the report in English, French (Arabic, Russian and Spanish versions forthcoming)
• two fact-sheets available in English and French focus on global education financing trends and public/private spending on education
UIS Data Centre
questionnaires used to collect data presented in the report
related publications cited in the report.


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