Chapter 4: Prospects for Education Policy in Europe
Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Seppo Mikko Sakari Honkapohja (),
Hans-Werner Sinn (),
Giancarlo Corsetti (),
Xavier Vives (),
Gilles Saint-Paul () and
Jan-Egbert Sturm ()
EEAG Report on the European Economy, 2006, 89-100
Educational systems are under pressure in many countries. On the one hand, the costs of education are soaring as both enrolment rates and the length of studies trend upward, while the cost per pupil grows as fast as GDP per capita. On the other hand, there is a perception that standards and achievements are going down. Large disparities are evident between countries in terms of achievements in reading, mathematics and science, occurring even among countries that are similar in economic and demographic terms. The amount of resources devoted to primary and secondary education does not seem to have a large impact, whereas the structure of school systems seems to matter a lot. Simply devoting more resources to education or pursuing naïve targets – such as a reduction in class sizes – are not effective ways to improve school systems. Instead, policies should focus on a better organisation of schools. Increasing parental choice and fostering competition among students to get into good schools as well as among schools in order to attract good students seem to be more effective policy reforms. If designed well, such reforms do not lead to unfair or non-egalitarian practices.
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