Education at a Glance 2016
Hide / Show Abstract

Education at a Glance 2016

OECD Indicators

Education at a Glance is the authoritative source for information on the state of education around the world. It provides key information on the output of educational institutions; the impact of learning across countries; the financial and human resources invested in education; access, participation and progression in education; and the learning environment and organisation of schools.

The 2016 edition introduces a new indicator on the completion rate of tertiary students and another one on school leaders. It provides more trend data and analysis on diverse topics, such as: teachers’ salaries; graduation rates; expenditure on education; enrolment rates; young adults who are neither employed nor in education or training; class size; and teaching hours. The publication examines gender imbalance in education and the profile of students who attend, and graduate from, vocational education.

The report covers all 35 OECD countries and a number of partner countries (Argentina, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Lithuania, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia and South Africa).

This edition includes more than 125 figures and 145 tables. The Excel™ spreadsheets used to create them are available via the StatLinks provided throughout the publication. More data is available in the OECD Education Statistics database.

Click to Access:
  • PDF
  • READ

Indicator C6 How Many Adults Participate in Education and Learning? You do not have access to this content

Click to Access:
  • PDF
  • READ

Hide / Show Abstract

Indicator C6 measures the proportion of adults (25-64 year-olds) in formal and/or non-formal education, broken down by skill proficiencies and gender. It also examines hours of non-formal education per participant.

Also available in French

Chapter Highlights

  • Across OECD countries and subnational entities that participated in the Survey of Adult Skills, a product of the OECD Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), 50% of all adults participate in formal and/or non-formal education in a given year.

  • In the majority of OECD countries, the participation rate in formal and/or non-formal education is about the same for women and men.

  • On average across OECD countries and subnational entities, 69% of those who read most frequently in everyday life participate in formal and/or non-formal education, while the participation rate is only 27% among those who use reading skills the least frequently.

Figure C6.1. Participation in formal and/or non-formal education, by gender (2012 or 2015)
Survey of Adult Skills, 25-64 year-olds

Note: Chile, Greece, Israel, Jakarta (Indonesia), Lithuania, New Zealand, Singapore, Slovenia, Turkey: Year of reference 2015. All other countries: Year of reference 2012.

* See note on data for the Russian Federation in the Methodology section.

Countries and subnational entities are ranked in descending order of the percentage of 25-64 year-old men and women who participate in formal and/or non-formal education.

Source: OECD. Table C6.2. See Annex 3 for notes (

ContextExpand / Collapse

Adult learning can play an important role in helping to develop and maintain key information-processing skills, and to acquire other knowledge and skills throughout life. It is crucial to provide and ensure access to organised learning opportunities for adults beyond initial formal education, especially for workers who need to adapt to changes throughout their careers and who have difficulty achieving high labour market outcomes (OECD, 2013).

Lifelong learning can also contribute to non-economic goals, such as personal fulfilment, improved health, civic participation and social inclusion. Social integration requires that individuals have the basic skills and knowledge needed to exercise their rights and responsibilities as citizens and enjoy the benefits of community life. The large variation in adult learning activities and participation among OECD countries at similar levels of economic development suggests that there are significant differences in learning cultures, learning opportunities at work and adult-education systems (Borkowsky, 2013).

Other findingsExpand / Collapse

  • Proficiency and educational attainment are both positively associated with adult learning, and seem to have a mutually reinforcing effect on participation in formal and/or non-formal education.

  • On average across countries, adults with high literacy proficiency and the most frequent use of reading skills in everyday life are four times more likely to participate in formal and/or non-formal education than those with low literacy proficiency and the least frequent use of reading skills in everyday life. Similar reinforcing patterns hold for numeracy proficiency and skills and readiness to use information and communication technologies (ICT) for problem solving in relation to participation in formal and/or non-formal education.

  • The Internet is by far the most important source of information for adult learning opportunities. Around three-quarters of participants in formal and/or non-formal education and training consulted the Internet to get relevant education and training information.

Visit the OECD web site