Do Czechs spend too little on education?

12-04-2001

Thursday's edition of the daily Lidove Noviny carries fresh statistics revealing how Czechs spend their money. An average Czech family spends about 20 percent of their monthly expenditures on food, with accommodation payments in second place. But only 0.5 percent is spent on education. From these statistics, it would appear that education is not a high priority for the Czechs. Lucie Krupickova spoke to economic analyst Jan Sykora of Wood & Company, and asked him for his opinion on these results:

"Any statistics could be interpreted many different ways. I think this one certainly shouldn't be seen as anything alarming or shocking. It reflects not only the quality of education offered by the Czech education system, but at the same time the fact that it's for free. In any developed countries the best schools, primarily the Anglo-Saxon world, when you look at Ivy League schools or the most prestigious schools, they all charge tuition fees. So I think what this statistics captures is the amount of money people would pay for private schools from primary level up to high school level, plus probably some sort of a private educational courses."

So, do in your opinion Czechs spend much time and effort on education as people in other developed countries?

"The only way how we can measure whether Czechs are investing into education is to look at how much time an average Czech would invest into education or educating himself or herself. I think on that level Czechs would probably be very similar to any Western European nation. The only difference you can ask is what is the efficiency of the educational system. I think the best way to measure such a statistics you would need to measure not only by the absolute amount, which I think the statistics probably did, but you would need to make it really relevant. You would need to compare it to other countries and there to put all the things on a common denominator, you'd probably need to use not the exchange rate, but the purchasing power, a parity, and convert the currency to a sort of same level. And then you'll still see some discrepancies primarily in housing, where obviously in the Czech Republic the rents are still regulated by the government. So I think there's the big discrepancy."

12-04-2001