Tuesday, April 10, 2007

7% GDP on education?

To me education is the most important thing that a state does. More important then Health even. Maybe it is the right winger in me. But for instance I have no problem with for profit health care as the left tend to term it. If a guy/girl set up a hospital hire staff etc etc then they deserve pay in the form of profit. Doctors make money from Health care why not anyone else. My only problem is that people don’t get equal access to health care. That is not the fault of the private sector but the government and the fact that many people can’t afford health insurance. The best way to insure more people can afford health insurance. Is educate them for good jobs. So therefore you would think the idea of ring fencing 7% of GDP for education would be a big hit with me. You might think that but.

When ever people use percentages of stuff I always worry. Take relative poverty, 60% of median wage makes you poor. So what does the person on 61% have that make them not poor. It is a silly measure that is used for ideological justification. Very few things are percentages of averages indeed very few things are percentages of anything.

7% sounds great doesn’t but what is the point. We have problems in the education system, that need to be solved. Class sizes, people thinking Chemistry is a cooler science then Physics, IT equipment, school transport, primary school drop-out rates, special needs etc etc. This 7% is not going to solve any of it by itself. Each of these need coherent plans for them to be solved, with money being spent to solve it. Now that figure maybe 7% of GDP or not or more. That should not matter. All that should matter is solving those problems.

The 7% of GDP is purely a ideological device. “A signal of intent” to say we are dedicated to education this much. Using comparisons of percentage spends with the rest of Europe. This is stupid, we should be setting goals and achieving them. Not trying to look good on paper.

1 comment:

phdbird said...

To me education is the most important thing that a state does. More important then Health even. Maybe it is the right winger in me.

I think the state spending adequate money on education is quite a centrist point of view. The far lefties want the state to spend money on education so they're not manipulated by 'the man', and the far righties don't think the state should spend money on education at all, instead letting the rich pay for the expensive education of their children, perpetuating the lines of wealth and poverty.