If one disaggregates total educational expenditure among first-level (primary), second-level (secondary) and third-level education and examines expenditure per pupil, further interesting points emerge. First, in the developing countries as a whole, real expenditure per pupil declined between 1980 and 1985 in each of the three levels of education. Secondly, this same pattern is found in the four regions identified above as ones where total expenditure on education per capita declined. Thirdly, real expenditure per student in secondary education also fell in North Africa. Finally, in both the East Asian newly industrialized countries and in the other East Asian countries, real public expenditure per student on third-level education declined. In only one group of countries South Asia - did expenditure per pupil increase in all three levels of education. In every other group there was a decline in at least part of the educational system.
There are enormous differences between the amounts that different nations spend per pupil at all levels of education, ranging from over US$2,400 per head in the industrialized nations to less than $60 in sub-Saharan Africa. Africa spends the least per pupil, but the most as a percentage of GNP. In 1980, schools in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia spent roughly the same amount on each pupil. By 1990, spending per pupil had risen by almost 70% in South Asia and fallen by almost 7% in Africa.
2. If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.