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The UK's only independent think tank devoted to higher education.

HEPI hosts the launch of ‘Education at a Glance 2019: OECD Indicators’, the world’s best source of education data

  • 10 September 2019

On Tuesday, 10thSeptember 2019, the Higher Education Policy Institute is hosting the UK launch of the OECD’s Education at a Glance 2019.

Nick Hillman, the Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said:

Education at a Glance is the world’s best compendium of educational data. No Government wanting to improve their country’s education system can afford to ignore the document.

This year’s report reveals many striking facts about the UK. For example, early childhood provision is now almost universal, we spend more than nearly all other developed countries on education and, for good or ill, our teachers are younger than in nearly all our competitors. Unusually for a developed nation, we spend more on each child in primary school than we do on each pupil in secondary school.

There is a welcome focus on tertiary education this year. The UK numbers confirm different degrees lead to very different earnings outcomes. This will be of interest to the Treasury, but universities are right to worry about the possibility of ill-thought through policies based on such data. The UK figures also show we educate 10 per cent of all international students in OECD countries. That is a huge achievement, even though it is only half the number in the US. Spending on tertiary education is much higher than average in the UK, which is one reason why our universities top international comparisons.

As the UK stands at a crucial juncture at a time of unprecedented uncertainty, one thing is certain. Future prosperity depends on a well-resourced education system that empowers individuals and provides the skills that allow the economy to thrive.

Andreas Schleicher, Director, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills, said:

Tertiary education has seen unprecedented growth in the past decade, but there is a significant share of graduates who struggle to find good jobs, while employers say they cannot find the people with the skills they need.

The tertiary education sector needs to reinvent itself to give people greater ownership over what they learn, how they learn, when they learn and where they learn to meet tomorrow’s demand for knowledge and skills.

The slides presented at the event are available to download below.

Notes for Editors

  1. The Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international organisation that works to build better policies for better lives. Education at Glance 2019 is available from the OECD website at
  2. The Higher Education Policy Institute ( was established in 2002 to shape the higher education policy debate with evidence. It is the United Kingdom’s only independent think tank devoted to higher education. HEPI is a non-partisan charity funded in part by organisations and universities that wish to see a vibrant higher education debate.
  3. Andreas Schleicher, Director of the OECD Directorate for Education and Skills, delivered the 2015 HEPI Annual Lecture on Value-Added: How do you measure whether universities are delivering for their students?

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