21 February 2012
The OECD publishes its PISA education survey statistics every three years.  The latest, released this month, suggests that New Zealand is getting its monies-worth from the spend on education.  New Zealand is rated in the top five countries for its children’s average reading performance and is one of the most efficient on an ability : cost ratio.
Shanghai (as a proxy for China) retains the highest performing status it acquired in the last PISA survey, indicating that the extraordinary methods adopted across China’s largest city are getting continuing success. 
New Zealand rates better than most developed countries.  They, generally, spend higher percentages of GDP on education.  Korea follows Shanghai in the pecking order of countries. The order having the top reading performance, is Shanghai, Korea, Finland, Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and Australia. Other Northern European countries follow closely behind.
Providing a good education for its citizens is a self evident role of good government. The countries in the top 10 places also rate among the 20 least corrupt national public sectors on the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index – with the exception of Korea. Teachers in these countries also rate among the professions where levels of public trust and confidence are very high.  In the recently published UMR Mood of the Nation survey, New Zealand primary schools are the institution with the third highest public sector confidence rating at 67% after Police and GPs. (Universities are in 5th place and secondary schools in 6th. The Public Service is 12th of 18 surveyed institutions at 34%).