Almost 88% of Spaniards aged 15-19 are in school, six points more than a decade ago

Sep 13, 2023 | Current affairs, Featured, Revista Lloseta, Thursday Daily Bulletin, Tradition

More than half of young Spaniards aged 25-34 have higher education, a figure above international averages.

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Spaniards aged 15-19

The school enrolment rate of the population aged between 15 and 19 stands at 87.9% (data from 2021), 6.1 percentage points higher than a decade ago, according to the study ‘Education at a Glance 2023. OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) indicators’, published today by the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MEFP). This figure exceeds the average for the OECD countries in the study (84.0%) and is at similar levels to the average for the 25 EU countries included in the study (87.7%).

The report, prepared by the MEFP’s National Institute for Educational Evaluation, is based on the report ‘Education at a Glance 2023’, which the OECD prepares every year, with educational data from the main OECD economies and other partner or accession countries. On this occasion, the report takes a more detailed look at vocational education and training, its evolution and its relationship with employment.

The school enrolment rate is also comparatively higher in Spain in the first stage of infancy: 24.7% of children under 2 years of age attend school (compared to 18.0% in the OECD average and 11.8% in the EU25), as well as 56.2% of those who have reached the age of 2 (compared to 43.0% in the OECD average and 37.3% in the EU25 average).

The expansion of education in the last decade is also reflected in a higher overall educational attainment of the population: in 2022, more than half of Spanish 25-34-year-olds, 50.5%, have tertiary education, compared to 47.2% of citizens of that age in the OECD average and 44.7% in the EU25 average. In 2015, 41.0% of young Spaniards had such a degree.

In the case of the adult population aged 25-64, 41.1% had higher education (40.4% in the OECD and 37.7% in the EU25), 8.5 points more than a decade ago. At the other extreme, the percentage with less than upper secondary education has fallen by 9.5 percentage points, from 45.3% in 2012 to 35.8% in 2022.

Wage differentials
The report also looks at the relationship between education and training and access to the labour market. The higher the education, the higher the level of employment and the higher the wages.

In Spain, passing the compulsory secondary education level and completing intermediate vocational training thus increases the chances of finding employment by 20% for young Spaniards between 25 and 34 years of age. In the case of graduates in Higher Vocational Training, almost 83% are in work 3 or 4 years after graduation (a figure that is not reached before 5 years in the case of university graduates).

Moreover, the probability of having a salary above the general average increases with the level of education attained. Thus, people with higher education qualifications in Spain earn 55% more than those who did not study beyond the second stage of secondary education (mainly Bachillerato and intermediate vocational training). In the OECD and the EU, the differences are 56% and 52% respectively.

The study also analyses the educational trajectory of students one year after graduation, thus showing the variability of the educational offer and the alternatives offered by the education systems. Spain is among the OECD countries with the highest percentage of people who continue studying after graduating from an intermediate-level training cycle (49.8%), with short tertiary education cycles standing out (36.4%), mainly Higher Vocational Training Degrees, and other vocational programmes in the second stage of secondary education (12.7%).

In terms of teaching staff, Spain has a lower student/teacher ratio than international averages, especially in the case of VET. In general upper secondary education, there are 11 students per teacher (14 in the OECD and EU25 average), and in VET, Spain has an average of 9 students per teacher (15 in the OECD average and 14 in the EU25 average). In the case of tertiary VET, the average number of students per teacher in Spain is 11 students, compared to 16 in the OECD average and 13 in the EU25.