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Do we get less education bang for the buck?

We are spending far more per capita on education than 10 years ago, even when 50% is added to inflation.

Much has been said recently about the quality of Canada’s education system. The Canadian Council on Learning’s report “What is the Future of Learning in Canada” notes that we are “slipping down the international learning curve.” It certainly is not from the lack of spending.

Statistics Canada in its report about total expenditures per student, notes that educational spending has risen much faster than inflation in every province and territory. To illustrate this trend over the last 10 years, we took 2001 and 2011 education expenses for Nova Scotia, Ontario and B.C. Each province’s population of persons aged five to 24 in 2001 and 2011 was used to arrive at a per capita number. 2001 expenses were adjusted upward by 23% for 10 years of inflation to obtain per capita expenses in today’s dollars. The chart’s red column adds 50% to the inflated number to account for a higher quality of education. The green column is the actual 2011 per capita number for each province. As can be seen, we are currently spending far more per capita on education than 10 years ago, even when 50% is added to inflation.


 

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