Educational Expenditure in the Public Sector
In recent years, Estonia has invested 14–15% of its total public expenditure in education. In 2008, educational expenditure in Estonia’s public sector amounted to 12.6 billion EEK – less than 13% of the total public sector expenditure. The expenditures on education are hereafter seen as education-related expenses in the context of international statistics and their calculation is based on the UNESCO / OECD / Eurostat methodology, which allows the expenditures to be compared internationally. As a result, the expenditures discussed here do not constitute the whole funding for education.
Expenditure on general education constitutes more than half of the total public expenditure on education (see the figure). This indicator has decreased in recent years compared to the second half of the 1990s when expenditure on general education constituted more than 60% of the total public expenditure on education, reaching a level of 53% in 2008. The percentage of pupils engaged in studies at the general education level has also fallen during the same period, from 80% in the 1990s to 62% in 2008.
Expenses related to vocational education make up approximately 11% of the education expenditure. In recent years, this indicator has shown a growing trend, reaching its highest level (12%) during the monitored time period (1995–2008) in 2007. The number of students engaged in vocational education has remained at 10–11% of the total number of students throughout the period.
While higher education expenses have generally constituted 18–19% of the public expenditure on education, this figure reached 21% in 2008. At the same time, the number of students has increased from a tenth to a quarter of the total number of learners (27% in 2008). Compared to the middle of the 1990s, the total number of students has more than doubled, but this has been mainly due to the increase in students studying in non-state commissioned student places.
A tenth (15% in 2008) of the public education expenditure is classified under other education expenses. This includes expenses that cannot be grouped with any level of education, for example expenses related to educational projects involving several levels of education, including education expenses in the field of language, youth and pre-school education.
In international comparison, educational expenditure is viewed as a percentage of the GDP or public wealth. At the end of the 1990s, the corresponding indicator for Estonia was nearly 6%.
Public expenditure on education by level of education (billions of EEK) and as a percentage of the GDP; by year.