Public Expenditure on Education in the Acceding Countries in 1999
EU accession provides both opportunities and challenges to Acceding Countries as they seek to become competitive knowledge-based economies. To do so investing in education is and will remain a major priority for Acceding Countries in the next years. In order to enable Acceding Countries to benchmark against EU Member States, Eurostat has decided to publish for the first time data on educational finance for Acceding Countries. Although Acceding Countries have put great efforts in submitting these figures in the joint data collection of UNESCO, OECD and Eurostat, data should be interpreted cautiously. For the time being Acceding Countries are not always able to breakdown their expenditure on education by level of education which sometimes creates comparability problems across countries. However, there is a strong will from the Acceding Countries to improve continuously the quality of the data. Generally, the public sector funds education either by bearing directly the current and capital expenses of educational institutions (direct expenditure for educational institutions) or by supporting students and their families with scholarships and public loans as well as by transfering public subsidies for educational activities to private firms or non-profit organisations (transfers to private households and firms). Both types of transactions together will be reported as total public expenditure on education. In total, public resources invested in education at all levels represented an average of 5.0 % of the Acceding Countries' GDP in 1999, slightly less than in the two previous years. It varies considerably across Acceding Countries, ranging in 1999 from 4.3 % in the Czech Republic and 4.5 % in the Slovak Republic to 6.3 % in Latvia, 6.2 % in Lithuania and 7.4 % in Estonia (figure 1).
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