Eurydice collects yearly data on teacher’s salaries and the cost of studies in Europe. Two reports have recently been released, giving an overview of the financial status of both teachers and students.
The “teachers’ and school heads’ salaries and allowances in Europe” report provides data for the financially critical period between 2000 and 2013 of teachers’ salaries. In all EU countries except Greece and despite salary cuts or freezes applied over the last few years in many countries, teachers’ purchasing power stayed the same or improved. However, the report concludes that in general, the teaching profession remains poorly remunerated.
In the great majority of countries, the minimum annual salary for teachers is less than per capita GDP. The lowest ratio can be observed in Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia. According to the report published by McKinsley & Company in 2007, salary is rarely the motivation to enter the teaching profession, even where salaries are high. According to the report, the main reason to become a teacher is a desire to help children to succeed.
Concerning the cost of studies in Europe, the “national student fee and support systems” report reveals a wide variation in fees paid by university students: from 0 in most of the Nordic countries to more than €11,000 in the UK. While the global trend is to introduce or increase fees, only Germany is moving in the opposite direction to abandon them.
Grants and loans are widespread means to support students. They are awarded due to financial need for support and/or on the basis of academic performance – depending on the country.
European education systems at all levels have been subject to many reforms and changes in the past few years. These have been taking place in a complex technological, political and economic context. The Eurydice reports provide some insight on the results of these national changes.