Government expenditure per student in constant US$

Definition

Average total (current, capital and transfers) general government expenditure per student in the given level of education, expressed in US$ at market exchange rates, in constant prices. The constant prices base year is normally three years before the year of the data release. For example, in the May 2014 data release, constant US$ values are expressed in 2011 prices.

Calculation method

Divide total government expenditure (in constant US$) for a given level of education (ex. primary, secondary) by total enrolment in that same level.

Data source

Data on education expenditure and on the number of students by level is received by country governments responding to UIS's annual survey on formal education. The data used to fill the questionnaire on education expenditure may come from annual financial reports by the Ministry of Finance and/or the Ministry of Education, and/or national accounts reports by the National Statistical Office. The conversion factor between US$ and the local currency comes from the World Bank.

Interpretation

This indicator is useful to compare average spending on one student between levels of education, over time, or between countries. Constant US$ allow comparing absolute values using a common currency, and taking into account the effect of inflation.

Limitations

This indicator should not be considered a unit cost, since it only includes what the government spends, and not total spending per student (including household contributions). Since it is a simple division of total government expenditure by the number of students at a given level, whether they attend public or private institutions, in countries where private provision and/or funding of education is higher the average amount per student will appear lower.

Purpose

To show how much a government is spending on average on one student at a given level of education.

Types of disaggregation

By level of education.