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.

Chapter A – The Output of Educational Institutions and the Impact of Learning

Indicator A1. To what level have adults studied?
Indicator A2 – How many students finish secondary education?
Indicator A3 – How many students finish tertiary education?
Indicator A4 – To which fields of education are students attracted?
Indicator A5 – Does student background affect student performance?
Indicator A6 – Are students who enjoy reading better readers?
Indicator A7 – How does educational attainment affect participation in the labour market?
Indicator A8 – What are the earnings premiums from education?
Indicator A9 – What are the incentives to invest in education?….. A user’s guide to Indicator A9 -Incentives to invest in education
Indicator A10 – How expensive are graduates to hire?
Indicator A11 – What are the social outcomes of education?

Chapter B – Financial and Human Resources Invested In Education

Indicator B1 – How much is spent per student?
Indicator B2 – What proportion of national wealth is spent on education?
Indicator B3 – How much public and private investment in education is there?
Indicator B4 – What is the total public spending on education?
Indicator B5 – How much do tertiary students pay and what public subsidies do they receive?
Indicator B6 – On what resources and services is education funding spent?
Indicator B7 – Which factors influence the level of expenditure?

Chapter C – Access to Education, Participation and Progression

Indicator C1 – Who participates in education?
Indicator C2 – How many students will enter tertiary education?
Indicator C3 – Who studies abroad and where?
Indicator C4 – Transition from school to work: where are the 15-29 year-olds?
Indicator C5 – How many adults participate in education and learning?…..Technical standards for indicator C5 – Adult learning activities

Chapter D – The Learning Environment and Organisation of Schools

Indicator D1 – How much time do students spend in the classroom?
Indicator D2 – What is the student-teacher ratio and how big are classes?
Indicator D3 – How much are teachers paid?
Indicator D4 – How much time do teachers spend teaching?
Indicator D5 – How are schools held accountable?
Indicator D6 – How equal are educational outcomes and opportunities?

Indicator A5 – Does student background affect student performance? • The difference in reading performance between students from various socio-economic backgrounds is strong, particularly in France and New Zealand. • Even after adjusting for socio-economic status, students with an immigrant background score an average of 27 points below students who do not have an immigrant background. • Across OECD countries, nearly one-third of disadvantaged students are identified as “resilient”, meaning that they perform better in reading than would be predicted from their socio-economic backgrounds.

Indicator A7 – How does educational attainment affect participation in the labour market? • In all OECD countries, individuals with a tertiary-level degree have a greater chance of being employed than those without such a degree. • Higher education improves job prospects, in general, and the likelihood of remaining employed in times of economic hardship. • Differences in employment rates between men and women are wider among less-educated groups.

Labour-force status by vocational and general orientation of education Matching supply and demand for skills not only concerns the level of education but also the specificity of skills acquired in the educational system. Vocational education and training (VET) is geared towards giving students labour market-relevant skills for a particular occupation or industry. This type of specialisation has the advantage of ensuring a closer match between employer needs for specific skills; as such, it reduces the need for initial on-the-job training and increases immediate, and potentially also long-term, productivity of new hires. The drawback is that the versatility of skills acquired might be limited in times of changing demand. Therefore, vocational education and training is, in many instances, developed in close co-operation with employers and other labour-market participants.

Indicator C2 – How many students will enter tertiary education? • Based on current patterns of graduation, it is estimated that an average of 46% of today’s women and 31% of today’s men in OECD countries will complete tertiary-type A education (largely theory-based) over their lifetimes. Only 39% of women and 25% of men will do so before the age of 30. • In some countries, it is common for students older than 30 to graduate from tertiary-type A programmes. More than 30% of women in Iceland and Sweden who graduate from these programmes, and more than 30% of men in Iceland and Israel who do so, are over 30.

Indicator C2 – How many students will enter tertiary education?

• Based on current patterns of entry, it is estimated that an average of 59% of today’s young adults in OECD countries will enter tertiary-type A (largely theory-based) programmes and 19% will enter tertiary-type B (shorter, and largely vocational) programmes over their lifetimes. • Between 1995 and 2009, entry rates for tertiary-type A programmes increased by nearly 25 percentage points, on average across OECD countries, while entry rates for tertiary-type B programmes remained stable. In some countries, tertiary-type A and B programmes are provided by different types of institutions, but this is changing. It is increasingly common for universities or other institutions to offer both types of programmes, and the two programmes are gradually becoming more similar in terms of curriculum, orientation and learning outcomes. Graduates from tertiary-type B programmes can often gain entry into tertiary-type A programmes, usually in the second or third year, or even into a master’s programme. Adding entry rates into these two types of programmes together to obtain overall tertiary-level entry rates would thus result in overcounting. Entry is often subject to conditions, such as passing a special examination, past personal or professional achievements, and/or completion of a “bridging” programme, depending on the country or programme. In some cases, students who leave an academic programme before graduating can be successfully re-oriented towards vocational programmes. Countries with high entry rates into tertiary education may also be those that offer pathways between the two types of programmes. There are also indications that previous schooling plays an important role in securing access to and equal opportunities in tertiary education.

Indicator A4 – To which fields of education are students attracted? • Women represent the majority of students and graduates in almost all OECD countries and largely dominate in the fields of education, health and welfare, and humanities and arts. Men dominate in engineering, manufacturing and construction. • In the vast majority of countries, more than two-thirds of graduates in the field of education and the field of health and welfare in 2009 were women. However, in 26 of the 33 countries, women represented fewer than 30% of graduates in the fields of engineering, manufacturing and construction. As shown in Table A4.5, the sciences attract at least 15% of international students in Germany, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States, and a similar proportion of foreign students in France, but fewer than 1 in 50 in Japan. Similarly, among countries for which data using the preferred definition of international students are not available, agriculture, science and engineering attract at least 20% of students in 4 of 6 countries and the proportion is higher than 25% of foreign students in the Czech Republic (28%) and France (30%). In contrast, few international students are enrolled in agriculture, science and engineering in Estonia, Japan, the Netherlands and Spain. Among countries for which data using the preferred definition of international students are not available, France has the largest proportion of foreign students enrolled in these subjects (40%). This is especially obvious for linguistic or cultural studies (e.g. Austria, France, Germany and Japan).

Enrolment in tertiary programmes leading to direct entry into the labour market, by field of education Tertiary-type B programmes are conceived with the aim of allowing students to enter directly into the labour market, and the fields of education in which they are concentrated differ markedly from those usually found in tertiary-type A and advanced research programmes. During times of structural readjustments in the labour market, tertiary-type B programmes can help adapt the workforce to new sectors of growth in employment. For instance, countries show more diversified participation in tertiary-type B programmes than in tertiarytype A and advanced research programmes. As in more academic programmes, most students in tertiary-type B programmes in OECD countries are enrolled in social science, business or law programmes (an average of 25% of all students), but this proportion is 9 percentage points less than the share of students enrolled in the same fields of education in more academic programmes. On the other hand, students in tertiary-type B programmes prefer the fields of services and health – by ten and nine more percentage points, respectively, among students in the EU21 countries – more than do students in more academic programmes, and by eight and six percentage points more, respectively, among students in OECD countries.