As of 2006, Japan ranked next-to-last overall among the OECD's 28 member countries in terms of public spending on education as a percentage of GDP. It was LAST for public spending on higher education (although this could be muddled somewhat, since money is channeled in various ways to universities and colleges and not just through the enormous Ministry of Education).
At most, public expenditures on higher education amount annually to only .5-1%, with most subsidy going to the former national universities and medical and teacher training colleges (numbering less than 100 institutions nationwide).
This lack of government support makes a university degree, especially at the more numerous private institutuions, a major expense for families' finances.
Excerpts of the Kyodo article below highlight the HE aspects:
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Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Japan 2nd Lowest In OECD In Education Spending
TOKYO (Kyodo)--Japan had the second-smallest expenditure on education in 2006 among the 28 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in terms of the ratio of such state spending to gross domestic product, the OECD announced Tuesday.
Breaking down the ratio of spending by level of schools, Japan ranked third from bottom for elementary, junior high and high schools at 2.6 percent, while ranking bottom for higher education including universities at 0.5 percent, about half the average of other members.
The results indicate that Japanese households have to compensate for the lack of state expenditure on education. Notably, the ratio of Japan's private spending on preschool education was 56.6 percent, the highest among the members, and 67.8 percent for higher education which was the second highest.
The DPJ pledged to make high school education effectively free of charge and transitionally make preschool and higher education free in a bid to lighten financial burdens on households.
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