Economic growth, not teacher payrises needed

NZPA report:

A new report reveals New Zealand teachers are still paid far less than their Aussie counterparts, says the sector union Te Riu Roa.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has released a report, Education at a Glance 2010, which compares the education systems of 29 countries.

The report shows a New Zealand primary school teacher with 15 years experience earns $US38,412 ($NZ52,871) but an Australian teacher, with the same experience, earns $US46,096 ($NZ63,447).

If the Government was serious about closing the pay gap and retaining teachers then it had to invest in education, NZEI president Frances Nelson said.

I am not surprised teachers in Australia get paid more. Everyone in Australia gets paid more – they are a wealthier country. The solution to this problem is to increase productivity growth.

The better comparison between countries is how much do teachers get paid, compared to the average wage, or how much does a country spend on education as a percentage of GDP.

The OECD report answers the latter.

In Australia 3.5% of GDP is spent on non-tertiary education, and in New Zealand it is 4.0%. So we are already paying more as a percentage of GDP, than Australia. Hence the solution is to increase GDP, not to increase the share spent on education.

Only three OECD countries spend a higher percentage of GDP on non-tertiary education than New Zealand.

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