Lthe candidates for the 2022 French presidential election have all presented measures in favor of education: increasing teaching hours, the number of teachers, salaries, doubling primary classes, public school support mechanisms. These measures would lead to an increase in the national education budget. Given the issues at stake, it is important to compare our system with that of other developed countries in order to assess the appropriateness of these expenditures.
We will look successively at four criteria: the weight of public spending on education, the rate of supervision, the remuneration of teachers, and the level of teaching performance. In the first place, France is one of the developed countries where the weight of public expenditure on education in GDP is the highest: 4.5%, compared to 4.1% on average in the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development).
Germany spends only 3.6% of its national wealth on public spending on education. However, secondly, the supervision rate (number of students per teacher) is relatively higher in France. In 2018, a French primary school teacher supervised 19.2 students, the highest rate in the European Union (average of 13.6). The gap is smaller in secondary education (13.3, compared to 12 in the EU) and in higher education (16.2, compared to 15.3), but still remains higher in France.
France ranked 10th out of 18 EU countries
Germany, whose education system is cheaper, has a much better supervision rate: 15.3 in primary and 12 in higher education. This observation led the French government to split the CP and CE1 classes in priority education areas. Thirdly, French teachers enjoy relatively low salaries. At the beginning of their careers, the teachers of our high schools receive 27,700 euros annually.
On the 10the among the 18 EU countries selected by Eurostat, they earn less than the Swedes (€37,900), the Danes (€50,300) or the Germans, who earn twice as much (€58,500). At the end of their careers, French teachers rank 9th and Germans are still the highest paid (€82,000).
Finally, French primary school students have lower levels of reading comprehension than the OECD average (PIRLS study). The overall score is 511 for France, 540 for the EU and 541 for the OECD. The observation is the same in the scientific field (survey Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study/TIMSS).
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