Education spending is under pressure, according to the European Commission (EC), which has just published a report on investment across the EU post financial crisis. Romania saw severe cutting of budgets across the public sector in the wake of the global financial crisis and education was not spared. Education spending was reduced by over 5 percent in 2011 from the amount in 2010. However, the trend was finally reversed in 2012, when the country upped investment in the education sector for the first time since the crisis and further rises are planned this year.
“These are difficult times for national treasuries but we need a consistent approach on public investment in education and training because this holds the key to the future of our young people and a long-term sustainable economic recovery,” said European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth Androulla Vassiliou. She warned that failure to invest in education would result in Europe struggling to compete in global markets and that tackling youth unemployment would be more difficult, if education was overlooked.
According to the EC, teachers’ wages account for over 70 percent of education budgets. The report shows that shows that in 2011 and 2012, teachers’ salaries and allowances were reduced or frozen in 11 countries. But Romania was not one of them. After the harsh 25 percent pay cuts made across the public sector after the crisis, public sector salaries rose in Romania last year. In education, as in other parts of the public sector, Romania seems to have cut early and is now starting to spend more. The trend is reversed in some other EU states, where deep cuts have been made more recently.
Romania’s Education budget is at 3.2 percent of GDP this year, or some EUR 1.8 billion – 6.6 percent higher than in 2012.
Liam Lever, email@example.com
photo source: sxc.hu