“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”
Today I will write about some interesting data that I found on Pordata, related to the topic of education. I will analyze the average number of students per teacher in lower secondary education (ISCED 2).
First we need to understand education as a cumulative process and, due to that, in principal, the steps that one individual take in their education has impact in their future life. The point is to understand how correlated is the impact of the institutions quality with the indicator that I presented. As I don´t present an econometric or an empirical study about that, I will use this indicator to see, empirical, what is the relation of that and the kind of the country presented. Notice that, I only present information related to the European countries.
According to the graph, for the countries presented, we verify that, on average, the number of students per teacher, in general, decreases from 2000 to 2011. Why does this happened? One obvious reason is because the birth decreases, so the number of students per teacher decreases because we have less children in European countries. According to this logic we can argue that, if this happens, probably the quality of institutions in education was not the reason for this change. But, why I am talking about the quality of institutions? What I am trying to focus is that, in a very simple model, the decision of how many students each teacher can have in each country is a decision for the government that can represents and determine the quality of education on these countries, which is a different indicator from class size and it is not a good predictor of educational outcomes. Due to the fact that in primary school learning is much more important than signaling, the quality of institution assumes a very important key, in particular, teachers assumes an important role in children. For the secondary education maybe it is less important. The decision of how many students each class will have depends on the number of teachers that one country has in certain areas and, for that, is natural that these values varies between countries. However, according to the figure we can see that European countries are homogenous in this indicator. Afterwards, what we are interested to see, as economists, is that how much will be the return on growth in each country for investing (or not) on education.
Concluding, the main point is that few students per teacher in first years of education assumes an important key in student development. In last decade, we assisted to a decrease on the indicator presented, as a general trend is most of OECD countries, but the reason of that can be associated with a demographic change and not a change on quality of institutions of the education sector. Thus, this indicator is not a good measure of the quality of institutions.
Link to Pordata:
Pedro Luís Silva
Research master in Economic, #87