Following the implementation of the National Partnership Agreement on Early Childhood Education in 2013, the percentage of youngsters at school rose from 51 per cent to 80 per cent.

This now places Australia on a par with rates for OECD and partner countries with available data.

“Early childhood plays an important role in improving the school performance of students. Those with at least one year of pre-primary education outperformed their peers who had not attended pre-primary education by 27 score points in PISA 2012, the equivalent of over half a year’s schooling,” the report read.

Expenditure per student in early childhood education in Australia is USD $10,146, among the highest across OECD countries, compared to the average of USD $7886. 

The report also noted that a significant share of adults aged 40-64 participate in education in Australia.

In fact, 7 per cent are enrolled in full-time or part-time programmes, five percentage points higher than the OECD average. Only Finland, Iceland and Sweden have similar numbers of adults in this age group participating in education.

“Since 2010, when the government first started removing the caps on public university places and providing a number for every domestic bachelor’s student admitted to university from 2012, the overall number of students aged 30-39 enrolled in all levels of education has risen to 13 per cent exceeding the OECD average by seven percentage points,” the report read.

The report, Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators, is the authoritative source for information on the state of education around the world. It provides data on the structure, finances and performance of education systems in 34 OECD countries and a number of partner countries. 


Early childhood education

Three-year-olds in education - AU 62 per cent, OECD average 74 per cent

Level of schooling

- Highest level of schooling, upper secondary or graduated high school - AU 35 per cent, OECD 43 per cent
- Highest level of schooling, university - AU 42 per cent, OECD 34 per cent

University attendance

- Young people expected to graduate with a bachelor's degree – AU 61 per cent, OECD 36 per cent

Unemployment rates

- Unemployment rate of those with upper secondary or graduate high school – AU 4.6 per cent, OECD 7.7 per cent

- Unemployment rate of those with a tertiary degree – AU 3.2 per cent, OECD 5.1 per cent

Student investment

- Spending on primary to tertiary education as a percentage of GDP – AU 5.6 per cent, OECD 5.2 per cent

- Spending on primary to tertiary education as a percentage of total public expenditure – AU 13.5 per cent, OECD 11.6 per cent

Average actual teachers’ salaries

Pre-primary school teachers – AU $49,535 USD, OECD $37,798 USD

Primary school teachers - AU $50,737 USD, OECD $41,248 USD

Lower secondary school teachers - AU $51,417 USD, OECD $43,626 USD

Upper secondary school teachers - AU $51,457 USD, OECD $47,702 USD


Source: OECD Education at a Glance 2015