Indicators on education in the OECD, academic year 2006/2007

27 per cent with tertiary education in OECD


As an average for OECD countries, 27 per cent of the population aged 25-64 years had attained a tertiary education in 2007. Girls were more likely than boys to complete upper secondary education, and a 15-year-old in 2007 could expect to continue in education for about 6 years and 8 months in the next 15 years.

The OECD publication Education at a Glance 2009 , which is published today, shows that 27 per cent of the population aged 25-64 years had attained tertiary level of education in 2007. In Norway, 34 per cent in the same age group had attained tertiary level. Canada, Japan, New Zealand, the United States and Finland had higher proportions than Norway.

More information

National figures on the population’s level of education in Norway will differ from indicators on educational attainment in Education at a Glance 2009 (EaG 2009). National figures are based on the population 16 years and older, whereas the population aged 25-64 years is used in EaG.

Tertiary attainment was also higher among younger adults – reaching 34 per cent of 25-to-34-year-olds as an OECD average. In Norway, 43 per cent within the same age group had attained this level of education. Five out of 30 OECD countries were ranked with higher proportions than Norway, but none of the Nordic countries.

Attainment of upper secondary unchanged since 1997

Close to 37 per cent of the population in OECD countries had attained less than upper secondary education in 1997. In 2007, this proportion was reduced to 30 per cent as an OECD average. The proportion with tertiary education increased from 20 per cent in 1997 to 27 per cent in 2007. The proportion of 25-to-64-year-olds with upper secondary education remained stable, and around 43 per cent during this decade.

The proportion of students graduating from upper secondary programmes grew by seven percentage points on average in OECD countries between 1995 and 2007. Graduation rates for girls exceeded those for boys in 23 of the countries. The gap was greatest in the Nordic countries except Sweden, and in Hungary, Ireland and New Zealand.

Several years in education

On average, a 15-year-old in OECD countries could expect to remain in school for an additional 6 years and 8 months in the next 15 years – which was equal to the school expectancy in Norway. In ten countries, a 15-year-old could expect at least 7½ years in education. In Finland and Iceland, school expectancy was 8½ years in 2007.

Over 3 million tertiary students were enrolled outside their country of citizenship in 2007, and OECD countries attract more than four out of five students studying abroad. The United States, United Kingdom, Germany and France hosted just under half of the world’s students who studied abroad in 2007. The United States hosted 20 per cent alone in 2007 – a decline of five percentage points since 2000. Similar falls in market shares were also found in both United Kingdom and Germany. By contrast, the proportion of foreign students grew by 1.7 percentage points in New Zealand and 1.4 percentage points in Australia from 2000 to 2007.