Growing advantages for the better educated and likely continuing high levels of unemployment will provide more and more young people with strong incentives to stay on in education. Governments need to take account of this in planning education policies, according to the latest edition of this annual report.
Going to university pays dividends in later life through higher salaries, better health and less vulnerability to unemployment, OECD analysis shows. In most countries, the difference in pay levels between people who have degrees and people who don’t is continuing to grow.
This report calculates the returns on investment in education by balancing the costs of education and of foregone earnings against prospects for increased future earnings as a result of higher educational attainment.
Among other points, the report reveals that:
• The number of people with university degrees or other tertiary qualifications has risen on average in OECD countries by 4.5% each year between 1998 and 2006. In Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey, the increase has been 7% per year or more.
• In 2007, one in three people in OECD countries aged between 25 and 34 had a tertiary level qualification. In Canada, Japan and Korea, the ratio was one in two.
• In most countries, the number of people who leave school at the minimum leaving age is falling, but in Germany, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Turkey and the United States their numbers continue to rise.
• Early childhood education is growing fast, and nowhere more than in Sweden. On average in OECD countries, enrolments have risen from 40% of 3-4 year-olds in 1998 to 71% in 2007; and in Turkey, Mexico, Korea, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and Germany enrolment in early childhood education more than doubled.
• Young people who leave school at the minimum leaving age without a job are likely to spend a long time out of work. In most countries over half of low-qualified unemployed 25-34 year-olds are long-term unemployed.
• People who complete a high-school education tend to enjoy better health than those who quit at the minimum leaving age. And people with university degrees are more interested in politics and more trusting of other people.
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