Education at a Glance 2011

OECD Indicators

image of Education at a Glance 2011

Across OECD countries, governments are having to work with shrinking public budgets while designing policies to make education more effective and responsive to growing demand. The 2011 edition of Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators enables countries to see themselves in the light of other countries’ performance. It provides a broad array of comparable indicators on education systems and represents the consensus of professional thinking on how to measure the current state of education internationally.

The indicators show who participates in education, how much is spent on it, and how education systems operate. They also illustrate a wide range of educational outcomes, comparing, for example, student performance in key subjects and the impact of education on earnings and on adults’ chances of employment. New material in this edition includes:

  • an analysis of tuition-fee reforms implemented since 1995;
  • indicators on the relationship between social background and learning outcomes;
  • indicators on school accountability in public and private schools;
  • an indicator on the fields of education chosen by students;
  • an indicator on labour market outcomes of students from vocational and academic programmes;
  • indicators on the scope of adult education and training;
  • indicators on student engagement in reading.

The Excel™ spreadsheets used to create the tables and charts in this book are available via the StatLinks provided throughout. The tables and charts, as well as the complete OECD Online Education Database, are freely available via the OECD Education website at www.oecd.org/edu/eag2011.

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To what level have adults studied?

In this publication, different indicators show the level of education among individuals, groups and countries. Indicator A1 shows the level of attainment, i.e. the percentage of a population that has reached a certain level of education. Graduation rates in Indicators A2 and A3 measure the estimated percentage of young adults who graduate from this level of education during their lifetimes. Successful completion of upper secondary programmes in Indicator A2 estimates the proportion of students who enter a programme and complete it successfully (see Box A2.1). Educational attainment is a commonly used proxy for the stock of human capital – that is, the skills available in the population and the labour force. Following a decline in demand for manual labour and for basic cognitive skills that can be replicated by computers, recent trends show sharp increases in the demand for complex communication and advanced analytical skills. These trends generally favour a more educated labour force, and the demand for education is thus increasing at a rapid pace in many countries. While the economic crisis increased the speed of change, it is also bolstering incentives for individuals to invest in education, as worsening prospects in the labour market lower some of the costs of education, such as earnings foregone while studying.

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