September 5, 2014

Finland at the top of the education efficiency index

Finland gets best value for spending and results in international education study.
Finland gets best value for spending and results in international education study.

According to a new international study of educational efficiency across OECD countries, the Finnish education system ranks first. 

The study, commissioned by Gems Education Solutions, compares how developed countries allocate spending on education and how well they perform in the international PISA tests. The results are based on internationally comparable data gathered over the past 15 years. The study also focuses on teaching budgets and class room sizes.

Finland gets best value for spending and results and is therefore treated as the theoretical benchmark of maximum efficiency in the study. South Korea comes second and Czech Republic third. The countries at the bottom of the list are Switzerland, Indonesia and Brazil.

“Finland and Korea score highly because they combine very high standardized PISA scores with only moderately high teacher salaries and moderately high teacher/pupil ratios,” the study explains. “Their ‘output’ – in pupil attainment – is exceptionally high relative to their main ‘input’ cost, which is what makes them so ‘efficient’.”

Comparing to other OECD nations Finland has relatively big class room sizes. Finland’s class rooms has 16,5 pupils per teacher when United States’ pupil/teacher ratio is 15,3, the UK’s 13,4 and Germany’s 13,7.

The study also shows that in Finland the teacher salaries are above the international average but notably much lower than in some European nations, such as in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands. Finland has intense competition for teacher training places but it’s not the salary that draws exceptionally able graduates into teaching.

Efficiency scores (%) by country:


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GEMS Education Solutions