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Education Indicators in Focus

Education Indicators in Focus is a recurring series of briefs that highlight specific indicators in OECD’s Education at a Glance that are of particular interest to policy makers and practitioners. They provide a detailed look into current issues in pre-primary, primary and secondary education, higher education, and adult outcomes from a global perspective, and contain an engaging mix of text, tables and charts that describe the international context of the most pressing questions in education policy and practice.

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How Well Are Countries Educating Young People to the Level Needed for a Job and a Living Wage?

  • An upper secondary qualification (ISCED 3) has become the norm for young people in OECD countries. Today it is considered the minimum qualification for successful participation in the labour market and for integration in society.
  • In 2010, across OECD countries, 19.1% of 25-34 year-olds without an upper secondary qualification were unemployed, compared with 9.8% of young adults of the same age who had an upper secondary qualification.
  • From 2004 to 2008, increasing upper secondary graduation rates coincided with declining numbers of 20-24 year-olds who were neither in education nor employed; but during the economic crisis, an upper secondary qualification no longer provided sufficient insurance against unemployment and poverty.

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