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Saudi ranks high in public spending on education

At 19.26 per cent, this figure is significantly higher than that recorded for other countries in the same year

Source : Tradearabia / 24 May 2014

Saudi Arabia has been ranked seventh globally for its high public spending on education in the latest 'Learning Curve Index' published by Pearson, a leading learning company, which rates the educational performance of 39 countries.  

The Learning Curve 2014 report, explores factors behind global performance shifts in global education league tables and the importance of 21st Century skills.

Saudi Arabia also performed highly in the category of pupil-teacher ratios at primary level, recording a ratio of 11.01 in 2011, the most recent year in which data is available.

The Kingdom’s ratio is similar to that of Qatar, which recorded an 11.28 ratio and not far behind the highest ranking country, Sweden, which has a 9.27 ratio. India recorded the highest ratio on the table at 35.15, said the report.

South Korea, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong claim top spots in overall education ranking due to a ‘culture of accountability’ in which teachers, students and parents all take responsibility for education; and society values teachers and schools far more highly than in many other parts of the world.

At 19.26 per cent, this figure is significantly higher than that recorded for other countries in the same year such as in the US and UK, at 13.81 per cent and 11.26 per cent, respectively.

Qatar and Saudi Arabia were two of the 50 countries featured in the Learning Curve’s Data Bank and are both profiled in the new report.

Karim Daoud, the managing director of Pearson in the Middle East, said the extensive collection of data will prove particularly useful for governments in the Arab region who continue to provide vast funding towards improving national education systems.

Qatar and Saudi Arabia were two of the fifty countries featured in the Learning Curve’s Data Bank and are both profiled in the new report.

"The UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have all committed to comprehensive education reform as a way of ensuring the future economic and social well-being of citizens after oil revenues can no longer guarantee national wealth," stated Daoud.

The Learning Curve will help those employed with this gargantuan task allocate resources for maximum effect in improving educational outcomes,” he remarked.

The new open Data Bank contains over 2,500 educational, economic and social indicators relating to a total of 50 countries, including Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which is available at

The data related to Qatar and Saudi Arabia has also been condensed into infographic tools, providing a visual guide to the findings. The tools help demonstrate the relationship in these Arab states between educational inputs, such as government expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP, and educational outputs, such as PISA scores and literacy rates.

Also linked to these inputs and outputs are socio-economic indicators, such as homicide rates and average income levels - creating a comprehensive set of information for researchers and policy makers in the Arab region to draw upon.

The Data Bank brings together a collection of information taken from many different sources, including the OECD and United Nations.

John Fallon, the chief executive of Pearson said: "One of the most pervasive and endemic problems in education in just about every country is the lack of attention paid to skills provision.  In rich countries and emerging economies, the demand for better skills is urgent - as governments strive to create rewarding jobs for their citizens."

"The Learning Curve brings together a growing body of evidence on what works in education. We hope it is a small but important contribution to improving learning outcomes on a global basis. As educational debates shift from a focus on inputs to learning outcomes, we hope what we have discovered will drive others to take up the baton and do more work in this field," he observed.

Michael Barber, Pearson’s chief education advisor, pointed out that governments around the world were under pressure to deliver better learning outcomes because they are increasingly important to people's lifelong success.  

"The Learning Curve provides an ever-deeper knowledge base about precisely how education systems improve themselves. The rise of Pacific Asian countries, which combine effective education systems with a culture that prizes effort above inherited "smartness”, is a phenomenon that other countries can no longer ignore," he added.


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