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Education in States and Nations: 1991

(ESN) Indicator 14: Staff employed in education

The most important resource used in education is personnel. This indicator presents the proportion of a country's or state's total labor force that is comprised of "education workers" - teachers and non-teaching staff. It provides a measure of the size of the education system as an employer, relative to the entire labor force. Teachers generally account for about half or more of all staff employed in education. Their role as instructors and evaluators is the most essential in the education enterprise. Teachers are supported, to varying degrees across countries and states, however, by non- teaching personnel, such as school administrators and those employed in ancillary services. Countries vary in the degree to which they include ancillary services and the associated salaries as part of their education budgets. In the United States, for example, school districts commonly provide school-based health services, school cafeterias, pupil transportation, vocational and psychological counseling, building construction and maintenance, and administrative management of the schools; higher education institutions commonly provide dormitories, health clinics, and intercollegiate sports activities. In other countries, few or none of these services are provided by the education authorities but, rather, by non-education public authorities or from private funds. In these other countries, the staff providing these ancillary services would not be counted as non-teaching education staff. Thus, the teaching to non-teaching education staff ratio is likely to be higher in these countries, all else being equal.

Note on interpretation:

Another major difference across countries in classification procedures lies in the definition of teaching personnel. The United States includes only classroom teachers in this category. Many other OECD countries, including Australia, Austria, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, however, also include personnel involved in the administration of schools. In cases of assistant principals or other administrative personnel who have some teaching responsibilities, this practice yields results somewhat comparable with the U.S. data. In the case of other administrative staff with no teaching responsibilities, however, accurate comparison cannot be made. It is still unclear exactly which non-teaching administrative personnel are classified as teaching staff in each of the OECD countries, but some include principals and headmasters and some may even include counselors, psychologists, and persons certified as teachers who work in central offices. A study is currently underway to deal with these issues of comparability across countries. Though the comparability problem is less dramatic, there also exists some variation in how states classify personnel and, thus, in how they report these data.

Table 13b Processes and Institutions Indicators Figure 14