• Educational attainment has been increasing throughout the OECD, in particular at tertiary level. Between 2000 and 2021, the share of 25-34 year-olds with tertiary attainment increased on average by 21 percentage points. In Türkiye, the share increased at an even faster pace, by 31 percentage points (from 9% in 2000 to 40% in 2021) (Figure 1). Türkiye is one of the 24 OECD countries where tertiary education is the most common highest level of attainment among 25-34 year-olds.

  • Upper secondary attainment is often seen as a minimum qualification for successful labour market participation. Although the general increase in educational attainment has seen a parallel decline in the share of 25-34 year-olds without upper secondary attainment, 14% of young adults across the OECD still left school without an upper secondary qualification. In Türkiye, the share is 36%, which is higher than the OECD average.

  • Higher educational attainment is often associated with better employment prospects and Türkiye is no exception. In 2021 the employment rate among 25-34 year-olds with tertiary education in Türkiye was 20 percentage points higher than among those with below upper secondary attainment and 10 percentage points higher than among those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary attainment. On average across OECD countries, the employment rate among 25-34 year-olds with a tertiary qualification was 26 percentage points higher than among those with below upper secondary attainment and 8 percentage points higher than among those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary attainment. While the positive link between educational attainment and employment rates holds for both men and for women across the OECD, it is particularly strong for women. In Türkiye, 24% of women with below upper secondary attainment were employed in 2021, compared to 59% of those with tertiary attainment. In contrast, the figures were 79% and 83% for men.

  • Educational attainment affects not just employment prospects, but also wage levels. On average across the OECD, 25-64 year-old workers with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary attainment earn 29% more than workers with below upper secondary attainment, while those with tertiary attainment earn about twice as much. In Türkiye, the earnings advantage of tertiary-educated workers was even greater than the OECD average. In 2020, workers with upper secondary attainment earned 31% more than those with below upper secondary attainment and those with tertiary attainment earned more than twice as much.

  • National averages provide only an incomplete picture of the situation in any given country. In most OECD countries, there are large differences in educational attainment across subnational regions. This is also the case in Türkiye. In 2020, the difference between the region with the highest share of 25-64 year-olds with tertiary attainment (Ankara, at 32%) and that with the lowest share (Southeastern Anatolia - Middle, at 13%) was 20 percentage points. These subnational variations do not only reflect differences in education opportunities. To a large degree, they are due to economic conditions and internal migration patterns.

  • Compulsory education begins at the age of 6 and ends at the age of 17 in Türkiye. The range of ages for which at least 90% of the population are enrolled is shorter than the period of compulsory education and goes from the age of 6 to the age of 15. This differs from most other OECD countries, where more than 90% of the population are enrolled for longer than the period of compulsory education.

  • The age at which children enter early childhood education differs widely across countries. In Türkiye, early childhood education starts offering intentional education objectives for children younger than 1 and 0% of children under 3 are enrolled in early childhood education. Across OECD countries, the average enrolment rate among children below the age of 3 is 27%, but the rates range from less than 1% to 63%. The enrolment rate among 3-5 year-olds increases substantially in all OECD countries. In Türkiye, 41% of all children of this age are enrolled in early childhood education institutions belonging to the Ministry of Education, which is below the OECD average.

  • The average age of graduation from general upper secondary programmes varies from 17 to 21 years across OECD countries and is 20 years in Türkiye. Differences in the average age of graduation from vocational upper secondary education are much larger and vary from 16 to 34 years across the OECD. These differences largely depend on whether vocational upper secondary students usually enrol in these programmes towards the end of their compulsory education or in mid-career. In Türkiye, the average age of graduation from vocational upper secondary education is 19 years, which is below the OECD average at 22 years (Figure 2).

  • In almost all OECD countries, women make up the majority of those graduating from general upper secondary education. In Türkiye, the share is 52% (OECD average 55%). In contrast, men are overrepresented among graduates of vocational upper secondary programmes in most OECD countries, as is the case in Türkiye where they make up 53% of all vocational upper secondary graduates, slightly below the OECD average (55%).

  • In Türkiye, 40% of 18-24 year-olds are still in full- or part-time education or training at either upper secondary or tertiary level (significantly below the OECD average of 54%). A subset of these students (11% of 18-24 year-olds) combine their education or training with some form of employment in Türkiye, compared to 17% on average across the OECD.

  • One significant difference across countries’ education systems is on whether or not vocational upper secondary programmes provide access to tertiary education. In 12 OECD countries and other participants, all vocational upper secondary graduates have direct access to tertiary education. In Türkiye, 99% of graduates from vocational upper secondary programme have access to tertiary education, but students need to take additional courses to enter tertiary education.

  • As is the case in all OECD countries, a majority of students enrolled at tertiary level in Türkiye are bachelor’s students (55%). However, the next commonest enrolment level varies from country to country. In Türkiye, short-cycle tertiary students make up the second largest group of tertiary students at 38%. This is also the case in 13 other OECD countries, while in the remaining 26 countries with available data, master's students form the second largest group.

  • At 28%, business, administration and law was the most popular field of study among new entrants into tertiary education in Türkiye, which is the case in most OECD countries. Despite the growing need for digital skills and the good employment prospects of students with degrees in information and communication technologies (ICT), only a small fraction of entrants into tertiary education choose this field. In Türkiye, 74% of 25-64 year-olds with a tertiary ICT qualification are employed, but ICT students make up only 3% of new entrants into tertiary education. This is below the OECD average of 6%.

  • All OECD countries devote a substantial share of national output to educational institutions. In 2019, OECD countries spent on average 4.9% of their gross domestic product (GDP) on primary to tertiary educational institutions. In Türkiye, the corresponding share was 5.2%.

  • Public spending on primary to tertiary education was 11.6% of total government expenditure in Türkiye (Figure 3), higher than the OECD average (10.6%). In contrast, relative to GDP, public spending on primary to tertiary education (4.1%) is lower than the OECD average (4.4%).

  • Spending on educational institutions as share of GDP or public budgets are important measures of the importance that countries place on education in their budgeting decisions. However, they do not show the total amount of funding per student because GDP levels, public budgets and student numbers vary from country to country. Across primary to tertiary education, OECD countries spend an average of USD 11 990 per student (in equivalent USD converted using PPPs for GDP) on educational institutions each year. In comparison, Türkiye spent USD 5 743 per student in 2019. Its cumulative expenditure on educating a student from the age of 6 to 15 was USD 46 709, which was significantly below the OECD average of USD 105 502.

  • Across OECD countries, the provision of education at primary and secondary levels in terms of curricula, teaching styles and organisational management leads, on average, to similar patterns of expenditure per student from primary to post-secondary non-tertiary levels. OECD countries as a whole spend on average around USD 9 923 per student at primary and USD 11 400 per student at secondary level. In Türkiye, the values are USD 4 400 at primary and USD 5 110 per student at secondary level, which are among the lowest across OECD countries.

  • In contrast to lower levels of education, spending on tertiary education varies widely across OECD countries. Expenditure per student at tertiary level in Türkiye is higher than at other levels of education, as is the case in almost all other OECD countries. The average expenditure per student in Türkiye is USD 9 455 per year, which is about USD 5 100 higher than that of the primary level and USD 4 300 higher than that of the secondary level. It is among the lowest across OECD countries. The average expenditure at tertiary level (USD 17 559) is driven up by high values in a few countries. At 19%, the share of research and development (R&D) expenditure makes up a smaller fraction of expenditure on tertiary education in Türkiye than on average across OECD countries (29%).

  • Public funding dominates non-tertiary education (primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary) in all OECD countries, even after transfers to the private sector. On average across the OECD, private funding accounts for 10% of expenditure at primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary levels, while this share was 25% in Türkiye in 2019. In contrast, private expenditure at tertiary level was higher in all OECD countries. In Türkiye, the share of private expenditure at tertiary level reached 31%, which was the same as the OECD average.

  • Between 2015 and 2021, on average across OECD countries, the statutory salaries of teachers at lower secondary level (general programmes) with 15 years of experience and the most prevalent qualifications increased by 6% in real terms. In Türkiye, salaries increased less than the OECD average, by 5%.

  • The average number of teaching hours per year required from a typical teacher in public educational institutions in OECD countries tends to decrease as the level of education increases. This is also the case in Türkiye.

  • Based on official regulations or agreements, annual teaching hours in Türkiye are 930 hours per year at pre-primary level, 744 hours at primary level, 521 hours at lower secondary level (general programmes) and 521 hours at upper secondary level (general programmes) (Figure 4).

  • During their working hours, teachers also perform various non-teaching tasks such as lesson planning and preparation, marking students’ work and communicating or co-operating with parents or guardians. At the upper secondary level, 67% of teachers’ working time is formally dedicated to non-teaching activities in Türkiye, compared to an average of 56% across OECD countries.

  • The duration of initial teacher education for primary and lower secondary teachers ranges from 2.5 years to 6.5 years across OECD countries. In Türkiye, initial teacher education typically lasts 4 years for prospective lower secondary teachers (general programmes). It is the same length for prospective primary teachers. As is the case in almost all OECD countries, a tertiary degree is awarded to prospective teachers of all levels of education upon completion of their initial teacher training.

  • Continuing professional development is compulsory for all teachers of general programmes in most countries with data, and Türkiye is no exception. At secondary level, professional development activities are compulsory for all teachers.

  • Among 25-64 year-olds in Türkiye, bachelor's degrees are the most common tertiary attainment at 16% of the population followed by short-cycle tertiary qualifications at 7% and master's degrees with 2%. This is similar to the OECD average, where bachelor’s degrees are most common (19%), followed by master’s degrees (14%) and short cycle tertiary qualifications (7%). As in all OECD countries and other participants, only a small fraction of the population holds a doctoral degree: the share is less than 1% in Türkiye.

  • On average, tertiary attainment generates a wide range of labour-market benefits, including high employment rates. Yet, there are significant differences depending on the field of study. In 2021, employment rates in Türkiye were highest among tertiary-educated individuals who studied engineering, manufacturing and construction with 78% and lowest among those who studied arts and humanities, social sciences, journalism and information at 67%. However, these differences need to be put into perspective. Even among 25-64 year-olds with tertiary attainment in the field with the lowest employment rate, this was 7.9 percentage points higher than among those with upper secondary attainment (all fields combined).

  • In most OECD countries including in Türkiye, tertiary-educated adults have higher rates of participation in non-formal education and training than those with a lower level of educational attainment. In 2021, 1% of 25-64 year-olds with tertiary attainment in Türkiye had participated in non-formal education and training in the four weeks prior to being surveyed, compared to 1% of their peers with below upper secondary attainment.

  • Over the decades, independent private institutions have been established to meet increased demand for tertiary education. On average across the OECD, 17% of students are enrolled in independent private institutions, but this figure masks large differences between countries. In Türkiye, 8% of tertiary students are enrolled in such institutions. Independent private institutions charge higher annual tuition fees on average than public institutions for master’s programmes in all OECD countries and other participants with available data, except in Chile and Lithuania.

  • Staff at tertiary level tend to start their careers relatively late due to the length of the education they need to qualify. In Türkiye, 17% of academic staff are aged under 30, above the OECD average (8%). In contrast, the share of academic staff aged 50 or over is 20%, which is below the OECD average by 20 percentage points.

  • The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted traditional schooling in 2020 and the first half of 2021, leading to school closures across all OECD countries. While most shut down their premises entirely in the wake of the pandemic in 2020, by 2021 the situation had improved and returned to normal in most countries in 2022. In Türkiye, primary and secondary schools were entirely closed for 98-113 days during the school year 2019/20, for 24-38 days in 2020/21 and stayed open in 2021/22 (Figure 5). Partial closures reached 34-39 days during the school year 2019/20 and 40-42 days in 2020/21.

  • National examinations have also been affected by the pandemic. At general upper secondary level, 18 OECD countries postponed their national examinations during the school year 2019/20, while 10 countries even cancelled them entirely. In 2020/21, national examinations were postponed in 9 countries and cancelled in 6 countries. Türkiye rescheduled its national examinations in 2019/20 and in 2020/21.

  • Most countries conducted assessments of the impact of school closures on learning outcomes at various levels of education and along several dimensions. Türkiye has conducted studies to evaluate the effects of the pandemic on the impact on primary, lower secondary, upper secondary general and vocational education. The assessments covered mathematics, reading and science.

  • In school year 2022, national programmes to support students affected by the pandemic were implemented in Türkiye at pre-primary, primary, lower secondary, upper secondary general and vocational level. At primary to upper secondary education, measures to address the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic included accelerated education or catch-up programmes for students who dropped out of school, community mobilisation campaigns to bring students back to school, cash transfers to increase enrolment among students from disadvantaged families, referral systems for students in need of specialised services, psychosocial and mental health support to students, automatic re-enrolment of students in school, tutoring programmes or financial support for tutoring and additional water, sanitation and hygiene services. The government has already assessed the effectiveness of these programmes.

  • The challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic have created additional costs for education systems. Preliminary budget estimates for 2021 suggest that, compared to 2020, the education budget at pre-primary to upper secondary level in Türkiye increased strongly (by more than 5%, in nominal terms), while it increased slightly (by between 1% and 5%) at the tertiary level.

  • The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on adult learning in most OECD countries. In 2020, the share of adults who participated in a formal or non-formal education and training activity in the four weeks prior to being surveyed decreased by 2 percentage points on average across OECD countries compared with 2019. However, in 2021, participation in non-formal education and training returned to pre-pandemic levels in most countries. In Türkiye, a similar pattern emerged. From 2019 to 2020, the share of adults participating in a formal or non-formal education and training activity remained unchanged. From 2020 to 2021, it increased by 1 percentage point and has thus reached pre-pandemic levels.

  • Young adults who are not in employment, education or training (NEET) for prolonged periods are at risk of adverse economic and social outcomes in both the short and the long term. After increasing during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the share of 18-24 year-olds who are NEET in Türkiye declined in 2021. The share of NEET among young adults was 33% in 2021, below pre-COVID levels.


OECD (2022), Education at a Glance 2022: OECD Indicators, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/69096873-en.

OECD (2022), “Regional education”, OECD Regional Statistics (database), https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/213e806c-en.

For more information on Education at a Glance 2022 and to access the full set of Indicators, see: https://doi.org/10.1787/3197152b-en

For more information on the methodology used during the data collection for each indicator, the references to the sources and the specific notes for each country, See Annex 3 (https://www.oecd.org/education/education-at-a-glance/EAG2022_Annex3.pdf).

For general information on the methodology, please refer to the OECD Handbook for Internationally Comparative Education Statistics: Concepts, Standards, Definitions and Classifications (https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264304444-en).

Updated data can be found on line at http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/eag-data-en and by following the StatLinks under the tables and charts in the publication.

Data on subnational regions for selected indicators are available in the OECD Regional Statistics (database) (OECD, 2022). When interpreting the results on subnational entities, readers should take into account that the population size of subnational entities can vary widely within countries. For example, regional variation in enrolment may be influenced by students attending school in a different region from their area of residence, particularly at higher levels of education. Also, regional disparities tend to be higher when more subnational entities are used in the analysis.

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The data on educational responses during COVID-19 were collected and processed by the OECD based on the Joint Survey on National Responses to COVID-19 School Closures, a collaborative effort conducted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS); the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF); the World Bank; and the OECD.

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