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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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What Are Tertiary Students Choosing to Study?

  • The social sciences are the most popular field for non-vocational tertiary education programmes. One in three new students choose a programme in social sciences, business and law.
  • Gender equality has been virtually achieved in many fields of study, especially in social sciences and services but significant gender differences persist in computing and engineering (maledominated) and in health and welfare and education (female-dominated).
  • Almost one in four international students in OECD countries follow programmes in the field of business and administration (23%). The proportion of international students from fields oriented to the public function such as education (3%) or health and welfare (9%) is lower on average.

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