Poverty’s affect on Education and Where Are My Car Keys? Part II

                                                                                                                                       keys_1By H Mac Wooten
A nation’s future is only as good as its children.

Educating children gives the next generation the tools to fight poverty. Educating girls, has a ‘multiplier effect’. Educated girls are more likely to marry later and have fewer children, who in turn will be more likely to survive and to be better nourished and educated. Educated women are more productive at home and better paid in the workplace, and more able to participate in social, economic and political decision-making.

Education Expenditures in South America

Peru 2.8% of GDP (2012)  Bolivia 6.9% of GDP (2011)   Chile 4.5% of GDP (2012)

Columbia 4.4% of GDP (2012)   Argentina 6.3% of GDP (2011)  Brazil 5.8% of GDP (2010)

Venezuela 6.9% of GDP (2009)   5.4% of GDP (2010)  *4

2014 Cognitive Skills Rank *5

The most current list of Countries with the highest ranking Education Systems

#1 Flag for SingaporeSINGAPORE 

#2Flag for South KoreaSOUTH KOREA

#3 Flag for Hong Kong-ChinaHONG KONG-CHINA

#4Flag for JapanJAPAN

#5 Flag for FinlandFINLAND

#6 Flag for CanadaCANADA

#7 Flag for NetherlandsNETHERLANDS

#8 Flag for United KingdomUNITED KINGDOM

#9 Flag for RussiaRUSSIA

#10 Flag for IrelandIRELAND

# 11 Flag for United StatesUNITED STATES

*** Not exactly Apples to Apples ***

East Asian nations currently continue to outperform others. South Korea tops the rankings, followed by Japan (2nd), Singapore (3rd) and Hong Kong (4th). All these countries’ education systems prize effort above inherited ‘smartness’, have clear learning outcomes and goalposts, and have a strong culture of accountability and engagement among a broad community of stakeholders.

Scandinavian countries, traditionally strong performers, are showing signs of losing their edge. Finland, the 2012 Index leader, has fallen to 5th place; and Sweden is down from 21st to 24th.

Notable improvements include Israel (up 12 places to 17th), Russia (up 7 places to 13th) and Poland (up four places to 10th).

Developing countries populate the lower half of the Index, with Indonesia again ranking last of the 40 nations covered, preceded by Mexico (39th) and Brazil (38th).

Now …….. having looked at these statistics you need to remember, these rankings don’t represent a true picture of education worldwide much-less the quality of education worldwide.  It goes without saying that the values and very diverse cultures, much-less the needs and priorities of the countries in this list aren’t exactly comparing apples to apples.  Your neighbor buys a new bass boat while you choose to put money into a 401(K). In a country with an agricultural based economy versus one with a manufacturing or service based economy, there are widely different needs (in education).

Singapore; The teachers receive comprehensive pre-teacher training at the National Institute of Education (NIE) and have many opportunities for continuing development. Apart from the academic curriculum, the students can develop themselves in music, arts and sports through co-curricular programs and community service as well as life skills essential in a rapidly changing world. Primary school students learn three core subjects: English Language, a second language (MotherTongue) and Mathematics. These core subjects help the students to develop literacy and problem solving skills. Students also take up other subjects like Arts & Crafts, Civics & Moral Education, Music, Social Studies and Physical Education. Science is introduced from Primary 3 onward. After the initial foundation stage (Primary 1 to Primary 4), the three core subjects are taught according to the abilities of the student. At the secondary level, students are placed in the Express, Normal (Academic) or Normal (Technical) course based on their PSLE scores.  Students in the Express course are offered 6 to 8 subjects. Those with exceptional academic ability may offered a 9th subject. Students in the Normal (Academic) course will be offered academically-based subjects while those in the Normal (Technical) course will follow a curriculum that is more practice-oriented and hands-on. Students with a passion for the arts, music and languages can select from a range of elective programs that focus on these specific areas of interests. Students can also choose to take up
advanced elective modules in applied areas such as Information Technology, Business, and Engineering. Besides content knowledge, life skills are an integral part of pre-university education. Students are given ample opportunities to engage in activities that will help them cultivate important qualities such as initiative, leadership, social responsibility and strength of character. *6
Israel;  Israel states that the main role of Israel’s education system is to produce well-prepared graduates capable of succeeding in a rapidly-changing global village, of actively and meaningfully participating in the labor force, and of contributing to Israel’s economy. Graduates who will forge an Israeli society based on love of one’s fellows, unity and mutual responsibility, social justice, building up and defending the homeland of Israel, charity, giving, and peace. With a rapidly growing population, Israel’s education system has successfully absorbed hundreds of thousands of immigrants throughout the years, including pupils, university students and teachers of different backgrounds. Immigrants with little education were added to the poorly-educated population already living in Israel. At the end of 2010 about 3.5% of those aged 15 and up had little education (up to four years of schooling). The rate of those with little education aged 65 and up is 13.2%.  *7.  In 2011, regarding the Jewish population, 73% had been born in Israel, most of them from first or second generation Israelis, and the rest of the population made aliyah (the immigration of Jews from the diaspora to the land of Israel) from over 80 countries around the globe. At the end of 2013, about 74.4% of the students are Jewish, 23.4% of the students are Arab (mainly Muslim), and the remaining 2.2% are Druze and other ethnic groups. The Israeli formal education system includes both Hebrew-speaking and Arabic speaking educational institutions. The structure and curricula of these institutions parallel those of the Hebrew-speaking sector, with appropriate adjustments to fit the different languages, cultures and religions. The state education system for the Hebrew-speaking sector consists of two educational streams: State education and State-religious. In the 2011/12 school year around 56% of the pupils in the Hebrew education system attended state schools, about 19% attended state-religious schools, and some 25% were enrolled in ultra-Orthodox schools. In the 2012/13 school year there are approximately 2,008,000 pupils in the Israeli education system, from pre-primary school through Grade 12. The Ministry of Education’s budget increased from NIS 21 billion in 2000 to NIS 36.3 billion in 2012. (an increase of 41%). National expenditure on education in 2012 was 8.4% of the GDP 78% of the national expenditure on education was from public spending. Between 2000 and 2012 the number of students grew by 23.2% while the budget increased by 41%A recent decision of the government, compulsory education will begin from ages 3-4. Concerns with pre-primary education was prompted by the growing awareness towards developmental problems of early childhood, as well as the social dilemmas faced by Israeli society.
Grades 1-6 in Hebrew education requirements;                                                 Reading, writing and literature 7.7
Mathematics 6.0
Science and technology 3.0
Social studies** 3.3
Foreign language 2.0
Art 2.0
Physical education 2.0
Religious studies 2.3
Other (life skills studies) 1.0
Compulsory flexible hours 2.0
Total*** 31.3  hours per week
Primary schools in Arab and Druze Education                                                                   Reading, writing and literature* 10.3
Mathematics 6.0
Science and technology 3.0
Social studies** 3.3
Foreign language 2.0
Art 2.0
Physical education 2.0
Religious studies 2.3
Other (life skills studies) 1.0
Compulsory flexible hours 1.8
Total*** 33.8  hours per week
EDUCATION  State Ed. 35.7 hrs / wk   State Religious Ed. 36.4 / wk                           LOWER SECONDARY SCHOOL (GRADES 7-8-9) IN THE ARAB AND DRUZE EDUCATION 35.7 hrs / wk.
EDUCATION 36.3 – 38.3 hrs / wk.  (State School)  43.3 – 45.3 (State Religious School)

The United States, well………

most of us are always trying to figure out what’s going on.  The federal government allocated approximately $141 billion on education in fiscal year 2014. Calculating that figure is challenging. Federal programs administered by the U.S. Department of Education appear in two separate parts of the federal budget, and other agencies administer large programs as well. Furthermore, measuring spending on the federal student loan program is not straightforward, and the government provides significant subsidies for higher education in the form of tax benefits.
Therefore, the $141 billion figure includes the annual appropriation for the U.S. Department of Education, spending for the U.S. Department of Education not subject to annual appropriations (i.e. mandatory spending), school meal programs administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Head Start program in the Departments of Health and Human Services, the forgone revenue and spending on education tax benefits for individuals, and military and veterans education benefits.
The federal government spent a total of $3.5 trillion in fiscal year 2013. That means the approximate $141 billion in education spending accounts for approximately 4 percent of the entire federal budget.  In my opinion, the U S government has too many pockets and it’s impossible to tell what the true figures are for most any expenditure.
Federal Education Spending, FY 2014 ($ billions)
Dept. of Education: Appropriation 67.3
Dept. of Education: Mandatory (excludes student loans) 9.9
School Nutrition Programs 14.8
Head Start Programs 8.6
Education Tax Expenditures for Individuals 21.3
American Opportunity Tax Credit (Refundable) 6.2
Student Loan Subsidies (Newly Disbursed Loans)* N/A
Servicemembers Education Benefits .6
Veterans Education Benefits 12.2
TOTAL 140.9
Sources: New America Foundation; U.S. Departments of Education, Health & Human Services, Agriculture, Defense, and Veterans Affairs; White House Office of Management and Budget; Congressional Budget Office

4. CIA Fact World Factbook

5. http://thelearningcurve.pearson.com/2014-report-summary/

6. siteresources.worldbank.org

7. http://meyda.education.gov.il/.

Some pictures are courtesy of Google Images.  Thanks to Google Images


Mac Wooten is President of Teach a Teacher Nonprofit and still can’t find his car keys but will x-ray the dog before placing final blame.  A native of Greenville S.C. We live and focus most of our work in the Ancash region of Peru.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s