Almost 88% of Spaniards aged 15-19 years are in school, six points more than a decade ago

News - 2023.9.12

The school enrolment rate of the population between 15 and 19 years stands out at 87.9% (2021 data), 6.1 percentage points higher than a decade ago, according to the study 'Education at a Glance 2023. OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Indicators', published today by the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MEFP). This figure is above the average of the OECD countries in the survey (84.0%), and at similar levels to the average of the 25 EU countries included in the survey (87.7%).

The report, prepared by the MEFP's National Institute for Educational Assessment, is based on the OECD's annual 'Education at a Glance 2023' report, which includes education data from the OECD's major economies and other partner and accession countries. On this occasion, the report takes a more detailed look at vocational education and training, its evolution and its relationship with employment.

The enrolment rate is also comparatively higher in Spain at the early childhood stage: 24.7% of children under 2 years of age attend school (compared to averages of 18.0% in the OECD and 11.8% in the EU25), and 56.2% of those who have reached 2 years do so (compared to averages of 43.0% in the OECD and 37.3% in the EU25).

The expansion of education in the last decade is also reflected in a higher level of general education in the population: in 2022, more than half of young Spaniards aged 25-34 years, 50.5%, had tertiary education, compared to 47.2% of citizens of that age in the OECD and 44.7% in the EU25. In 2015, 41% of young Spaniards had this qualification.

In the case of the adult population aged 25-64 years, 41.1% have tertiary education (40.4% in OECD and 37.7% in EU25), 8.5 points more than a decade ago. At the other extreme, the percentage with less than upper secondary education has reduced by 9.5 percentage points, from 45.3% in 2012 to 35.8% in 2022.

Wage differentials

The report also looks at the relationship between education and training, and access to the labour market. The higher the education, the higher the level of employment and the higher the wages.

In Spain, going beyond compulsory secondary education and completing an intermediate vocational training increases the chances of finding a job by 20% for young Spaniards between 25 and 34 years. In the case of graduates in higher vocational training, almost 83% are in work 3 or 4 years after graduation (a figure that is not reached until 5 years in the case of university graduates).

Moreover, the probability of having an above average wage increases with the level of education attained. Therefore, people with higher degrees in Spain earn 55% more than those who have not studied beyond the second stage of secondary education (mainly Bachillerato and intermediate vocational training). In the OECD and the EU, the differences are 56% and 52%, respectively.

The study also analyses the educational trajectory of students one year after graduation, thereby showing the variability of the educational offer and the alternatives offered by the education systems. Spain is among the OECD countries with the highest percentage of people who continue studying after graduating from an intermediate level training cycle (49.8%), with short tertiary education cycles standing out (36.4%), mainly higher vocational training degrees and other vocational programmes in the second stage of secondary education (12.7%).

In terms of teaching staff, the student/teacher ratio in Spain is lower than international averages, especially in the case of vocational training. In upper secondary education, in the general track, there are 11 students per teacher (14 in the OECD and EU25 average), and in vocational training, Spain has an average of 9 students per teacher (15 in the OECD average and 14 in the EU25 average). In the case of higher vocational training, the average number of students per teacher in Spain is 11, compared to averages of 16 in the OECD and 13 in the EU25.

Non official translation