by Staff

Average Median Education Spending as percent of government expenditure in Latin America (06-15)(1). Top performer refers to the highest ranking country in Latin America in the 2015 Pisa Tests (2,3).  

Metadata descriptors as originally published by the World Bank 

Indicator Name Government expenditure on education, total (% of government expenditure)
Long definition General government expenditure on education (current, capital, and transfers) is expressed as a percentage of total general government expenditure on all sectors (including health, education, social services, etc.). It includes expenditure funded by transfers from international sources to government. General government usually refers to local, regional and central governments.
Source United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics.
Topic Education: Inputs
Periodicity Annual
Aggregation method Median
Statistical concept and methodology Expenditure on education, total (% of government expenditure) is calculated by dividing total government expenditure on education by the total government expenditure on all sectors and multiplying by 100. Aggregate data are based on World Bank estimates.

Data on education are collected by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics from official responses to its annual education survey. All the data are mapped to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) to ensure the comparability of education programs at the international level. The current version was formally adopted by UNESCO Member States in 2011. Data on total general government expenditure were previously collected from countries through the annual questionnaire, but are from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook database since January 2014. Therefore, current data cannot be compared with data in earlier editions.

The reference years reflect the school year for which the data are presented. In some countries the school year spans two calendar years (for example, from September 2010 to June 2011); in these cases the reference year refers to the year in which the school year ended (2011 in the example).

Development relevance The share of government expenditure devoted to education allows an assessment of the priority a government assigns to education relative to other public investments, as well as a government’s commitment to investing in human capital development. Countries with younger populations may spend more on education in relation to other sector such as health or social security, and vice-versa.
Limitations and exceptions Data on government expenditure on education may refer to spending by the ministry of education only (excluding spending on educational activities by other ministries). In addition, definitions and methods of data on total general government expenditure may differ across countries.
License Type Open



(1) Data from database: World Development Indicators

(2) Zinny, GS. Latin America’s wake up call on global school tests. BBC. (2015)  

(3) Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). (accessed March 8 2017).