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Examining the Social Indicator of Public Spending on Education

In: Social Issues

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A nation is defined not just by geographic borders, it is defined by its citizens. Citizens are shaped by the goods and services that are available to them. Any governmental service costs money; therefore a nation’s economy - and the spending of that money - works to shape the sociological core of that nation. But how should that money be spent? One can argue that education spending is important to a nation’s well-being. During the 19th century US President James Garfield commented that “next in importance to freedom and justice is popular education, without which neither freedom nor justice can be permanently maintained” (as cited in McPherson, 1912, p.192). One way in which a nation’s value for the importance of education can be quantified is by examining the public spending on education as a total percentage of government spending. In this paper, I will review education spending as a social indicator for three distinct, geographically diverse, and very financially disparate nations: Oman, Georgia, and the Republic of Congo. The social indicator that is education spending greatly affects other social factors; I argue that it is a foundation piece of a great country, and that without national support for education, overall quality of life is diminished.
What defines public spending on education? The World Bank clearly describes it as “public expenditure on education includes government spending on educational institutions (both public and private), education administration, and transfers/subsidies for private entities (students/households and other privates entities).”1 Education spending is not only governmental monies, it also includes items like textbooks bought by parents for students. Spending on public education is similar to several other social indicators in that it is not a tangible good or service (as opposed to something like an infrastructure...

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