EDUCATION INDICATORS: An International Perspective


Indicator 39: Student/Teacher Ratio

The student/teacher ratio measures the number of students per teacher. It reflects teacher workload and the availability of teachers' services to their students. The lower the student/teacher ratio, the higher the availability of teacher services to students. The student/teacher ratio has implications not only for the cost of education, but also for the quality. The student/teacher ratio is not the same as class size, however. (See Indicator 21 for a discussion of class size.) The relationship between these two measures of teacher workload is affected by a variety of factors, including the number of classes for which a teacher is responsible and the number of classes taken by students.

Although Indicator 39 provides student/teacher ratios both for public education and for public and private education combined, the general pattern of cross-country variation and cross-education-level variation in student/teacher ratios for these two sectors is similar. Discussions, therefore, focus on public education.

*For further information on the levels of education, see the sidebar entitled ISCED levels of education.


Table 39: Ratio of students to teaching staff,1 by level of education and country: 1992


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				Public education	        Public and private education	
			------------------------------------	-------------------------------------------
					Lower	Upper	All			Lower	Upper	All
			Pre- 	 	secon-	secon-	secon-	Pre-		secon-	secon-	secon-
Country			primary	Primary	dary	dary	dary	primary	Primary	dary	dary	dary
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
G-72
France			25.8	20.2	-	-	14.0	26.0	20.4	-	-	14.3
West Germany (former)	24.4	19.6	14.6	19.8	16.4	23.9	19.6	14.6	19.0	16.2
Japan			14.5	19.8	17.0	15.5	16.3	18.5	19.8	16.8	16.4	16.6
Italy                   11.8    10.5     8.9     9.1     9.0    13.3    10.9     9.0     8.8     8.9
United Kingdom		38.1	21.2	16.5	14.9	15.5	38.1	20.8	15.9	14.8	15.2
United States		-	15.53	17.7	15.6	16.7	-	15.23	16.8	15.0	15.9
Other
Australia		-	18.0	-	-	12.8	-	18.4	-	-	12.9
Austria                 17.3    12.2     7.9    11.4     9.4    18.3    12.2     7.7    11.6     9.4
Belgium                 17.5    13.0    -       -        6.7    18.4    13.7    -       -        7.8
Czech Republic		10.9	22.9	17.0	10.6	13.3	10.9	22.9	17.0	10.5	13.2
Denmark                 10.8    11.1     9.0    10.4     9.6    10.7    10.9     9.1    10.4     9.7
Finland			-	-	-	-	-	12.5	19.0	-	-	-
Hungary			11.3	12.6	11.5	14.1	12.7	11.5	12.7	11.6	14.1	12.7
Ireland			27.5	25.8	-	-	17.1	27.2	25.6	-	-	17.1
Netherlands		-	-	-	-	-	25.9	23.6	-	-	18.8
New Zealand             17.0    18.5    -       -       18.0     8.8    18.5    -       -       17.7
Norway                  -       10.6     8.5     8.2     8.3     -       -       -       -       -
Spain21.5		18.8	16.6	14.5	15.3	23.4	21.2	17.6	15.9	16.6
Sweden			-	11.9	10.4	16.0	12.8	-	11.9	10.6	16.0	13.0
Turkey			16.7	29.4	46.3	13.6	23.7	16.6	29.3	47.5	13.2	23.4
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-Not available.
1/ Students and teaching staff are full-time equivalents.
2/ No data available for Canada.
3/ 1991 data.

NOTE: See supplemental note to Indicator 39 for an explanation of the calculation of full-time equivalents.

SOURCE: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Center for Educational Research and Innovation, International Indicators Project, 1995.


Figure 39: Ratio of students to teaching staff, by level of education and G-7 country:1,2,3 1992

Figure 39


1/ No data available for Canada.
2/ Public and private education combined.
3/ Countries are sorted in descending order by the ratio of students to teaching staff in primary education.
4/ Primary level, 1991 data.

SOURCE: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Center for Educational Research and Innovation, International Indicators Project, 1995.

Notes on Figures and Tables

Australia, Denmark, Finland, West Germany (former), and the United States

See supplemental notes to Indicator 38.

Technical Notes

Calculation of full-time equivalents

See supplemental note for Indicator 1 for an explanation of the calculation of full-time equivalents.


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