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[Published: Thursday February 22 2024]

 How do public and private schools differ in OECD countries?

PARIS, 23 Feb. - (ANA) - In total, 44 million students in OECD countries (18% of all students) were enrolled in private schools in 2021.
Although students from private schools achieved better results in PISA 2022 in many countries, this is mainly because they enrol more students from advantaged socio-economic backgrounds than their public counterparts. The main challenge in many countries today is to increase the social mix in public and private schools, which is why many efforts have been made in this direction over the past decade.
Private  schools  are  part  of  the  educational  landscape  in  all  OECD  countries,  coexisting  and  evolving  alongside public schools. They are often the subject of controversy, particularly when their educational performance is compared with that of public schools, with debates over how they are funded (sometimes largely  by  public  authorities),  the  autonomy  they  may  enjoy,  or  how  they  contribute  to  the  goals  of  inclusion and equity in education.The nature of private schools varies from country to country (see Box 1). 
In some countries, most private schools are associated with a particular religion or religious denomination and have historical roots, as is the case in Belgium, France and the Netherlands. Other private schools may have emerged more recently to offer parents a wider choice of schools for their children, as in Sweden, or simply to cope with the rapid expansion of education systems, as is the case with pre-primary education in many OECD countries.
Nearly one-fifth of all students attend private schools in OECD countries, from pre-primary to upper secondary education
In total, 44 million students in OECD countries (or 18% of all students) were enrolled in private schools in 2021, from pre-primary to the end of secondary education. 
However, this figure masks major differences between  countries,  depending  on  the  level  of  education  considered.  In  general,  the  share  of  students  enrolled  in  private  schools  increases  with  each  level  from  primary  onwards.  The  OECD  average  rises  from 12% at primary level to 15% at lower secondary and 20% in upper secondary education. 
At upper secondary level, more than 40% of students are enrolled in private schools in Australia, Belgium, Chile, Korea and the United Kingdom. Another  overall  trend  is  that,  in  most  countries,  private  institutions  account  for  a  significantly  higher  share  of  enrolment  in  pre-primary  education  than  for  primary  and  secondary  education.  
On  average,  around one-third of children enrolled in pre-primary education are in private schools, although the share ranges from 4% or less in Bulgaria and Czechia to 99% in Ireland and New Zealand (Figure 1).Contrary to the popular belief that private school enrolment is on the rise, the share of students enrolled in private schools has remained largely constant over the last decade. 
For instance, at upper secondary level,  only  two  countries  saw  the  share  of  students  enrolled  in  private  schools  increase  by  more  than  5 percentage points between 2015 and 2021: Australia, where it rose from 40.5% to 52.7%, and Czechia, where it rose from 14.7% to 20.2%.   - (ANA) -
To download the full report, visit:
AB/ANA/22 February 2024 — - -

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