Private funding of education on the up

August 17, 2007

The use of private funding in education has risen substantially around the world, according to a report by the US-based Institute for Higher Education Policy.

According to the report, private finance increased by 5 per cent worldwide as a proportion of total spending on higher education between 1995 and 2003, including tuition fees, donations and collaboration with industry.

The greatest rises in the use of private finance in education were seen in Australia, Italy and the UK. Each of the three countries saw a rise of more than 9 per cent from 25 per cent, 17 per cent and 20 per cent respectively in 1995. The Czech Republic, Ireland, Norway and Spain experienced decreases during this period.

The report identified Greece as having the highest ratio of public-to-private spending in education, and Korea the lowest of the countries monitored by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Increases in enrolments and costs had helped to prompt the increase in private financing. However, strong political opposition to charging students for tuition in some European countries meant that the trend to sharing costs with the private sector could stagnate, says the report.

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