Which countries are home to the most educated people in Europe?

2024-04-12 14:54:55Lifestyle SHKRUAR NGA REDAKSIA VOX

The population with higher education, which is the highest level, varies significantly across Europe, according to available data. On average, almost a third of 25-74 year olds in the European Union have a higher education degree, including public and private universities, colleges, technical training institutes and vocational schools. Education level also varies by age and gender.

Educational levels are defined as low (less than high school), high (secondary school), or high (university studies). The European data agency Eurostat's classification is based on the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) and refers to:

· Low: pre-primary, primary and lower secondary education (ISCED levels 0–2);

· Average: upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education (ISCED level 3 and 4);

· Higher: tertiary education (ISCED levels 5–8). It includes public and private universities, colleges, technical training institutes and vocational schools.

In 2022, 31.8% of people aged 25-74 in the EU had a higher education, ranging from 17.4% in Romania to 49.8% in Ireland. % of higher education graduates were higher than the EU average in the Nordic and Baltic countries. Sweden and Norway are ranked third and fourth with over 45% of higher education graduates.

Of the Latvian population, 44% had a higher education degree. The other Nordic and Baltic countries also had a higher than EU average % of tertiary graduates. In the UK, 43.5% of the population aged 25-74 had a tertiary education, which was above the 'Big Four' EU countries. France (38.2%) had the highest share among them, followed by Spain (38%).

After Romania, Italy had the lowest percentage of tertiary graduates at 18.5%. This figure was also slightly below the EU average in Germany (31.5 %). The % of the population with higher education was significantly lower in the EU candidate countries. Turkey had the highest % of the population with low education by far, with two-thirds (61.8%) having less than upper secondary education. This figure was also below 40% in four EU countries, namely Portugal, Italy, Malta and Spain.

Looking at the details of secondary educational attainment, consisting of general and vocational orientation, the share of vocational education is quite high in some countries. The % of vocationally oriented people at a secondary level of education was over 45% in nine EU countries, including the Czech Republic (63.9), Poland (52.2) and Germany (47.4).

The percentage of higher education graduates increases significantly among the younger population across Europe. It also shows how countries have fared in recent decades. Thus, the level of the population aged 25-34 has been widely analyzed by international institutions. In 2022, 42% of the EU population aged 25-34 had a higher education degree. It varied from 24.7% in Romania to 62.3% in Ireland. Unlike the population aged 25-74, the Nordic countries Finland and Iceland had a lower % of higher education than the EU average.

This figure was over 50% in a third of the EU countries. Ten EU countries were also behind the EU's 45% target by 2030. In the 35 European countries where data are available, women aged 25-34 had a higher % of educational attainment higher than men.

In 2022, on average, the percentage of women with higher education was 47.6%, while for men it was 36.5%. With the exception of Finland, the gender gap was significantly higher in the Nordic and Baltic countries in favor of women. Iceland (25.4 percentage points, or pp), Slovenia (23.8 pp) and Slovakia (22.8 pp) recorded the highest difference.

Turkey (1.3 pp), Switzerland (3.6 pp) and Germany (4.6 pp) reported the smallest gap, showing that the percentages of women and men with higher education are so close. Lifelong learning is also important as people may need to update their skills. It is also called adult learning, which is participation in education and training for adults. According to Eurostat, it includes all intentional learning activities, whether formal, non-formal or informal.

The aim is to improve the knowledge, skills and competences of the participants. Adult learning is an important aspect when it comes to digitization and automation in the labor market. In 2022, the proportion of people aged 25 to 64 in the EU who had taken part in education or training in the previous 4 weeks was 11.9%, up from 1.7% in Bulgaria and 36.2% in Sweden.

While the percentage of adult learning was high in the Nordic countries, the Balkan countries had significantly lower percentages compared to the EU average.