Wednesday

6th Jul 2022

One in three Europeans more educated than parents, research finds

  • 'The economic crisis hit young, low-educated adults hardest' Gurria said (Photo: Lawrence OP)

One in every three young Europeans has a higher level of education than their parents, according to new research.

However, the number of young people with lower educational attainment than their parents has increased, with researchers finding increasing correlation between the success of children and that of their parents.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • One in every three Europeans has enjoyed a higher level of education than their parents, an OECD report has found. (Photo: Kaisa Pankakoski)

The findings are contained in the OECD's "Education at a glance" report published on Tuesday (9 September) by the Paris-based think tank.

The report analyses the education systems of the 34 OECD member countries, 20 of which are members of the EU, as well as Argentina, Brazil, China, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Latvia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa.

The data suggests that access to education continued to expand despite the economic crisis, although the 38 percent of 30 to 34-year old Europeans with degrees is still lower than the OECD's 40 percent average and the 45 percent score in the United States.

"The crisis did not slow this process of expansion," the OECD's secretary general Angel Gurria said in a statement.

"On the contrary, when labour markets didn't provide much of an alternative, many individuals used the low opportunity costs to invest in their education with the aim of improving their chances for a better life."

But the research also reflects the record levels of unemployment and weakening social mobility rates across much of Europe.

The proportion of 15-29 year olds who were not in work, education or training stood at 15 percent in 2012, up from around 12 percent at the start of the crisis in 2008.

Unsurprisingly, the research indicates that graduates are far more likely to avoid the EU's record unemployment lines. Europeans with a degree are 50 percent more likely to be employed than those without.

Even so, 20 percent of adults who continued their studies until 18 and beyond were inactive, 8 percent of which were unemployed.

The data also reveals that, despite the economic crisis, only three EU countries reduced their public spending on education between 2008 and 2011. Only Estonia, Hungary and Italy cut spending compared to an average increase of 4 percent across the bloc.

"Our data reconfirm that the economic crisis hit young, low-educated adults hardest," said Gurria.

OECD education spokesman Andreas Schleicher said that policy makers should be concerned about the "growing disparities in earnings and employment' for the education 'haves' and have nots'."

"The most worrying part is that it is the young people, the most recent graduates that are seeing the lowest mobility in their life-chances".

Crisis threatens higher education across Europe, report says

As higher education ministers from 46 European countries are set to meet to celebrate 10 years of higher education reform, a European Commission report has raised the alarm on the threat to universities and colleges from the economic crisis.

Rising prices expose lack of coherent EU response

The increasingly sharp debate over the rising cost of living exploded in European Parliament, with lawmakers from all stripes, liberal, left, green and conservative, calling on the EU to act.

Column

'War on Women' needs forceful response, not glib statements

Some modest headway in recognising the unrelenting tide of discrimination and violence facing women worldwide was made at last week's largely self-congratulatory and mostly irrelevant G7 talk-fest. But no one mentioned abortion, just days after the Roe vs Wade decision.

News in Brief

  1. France to nationalise nuclear operator amid energy crisis
  2. Instant legal challenge after ok for 'green' gas and nuclear
  3. Alleged Copenhagen shooter tried calling helpline
  4. Socialist leader urges Czech PM to ratify Istanbul convention
  5. Scottish law chief casts doubt on referendum
  6. British PM faces mounting rebellion
  7. Russian military base near Finnish border emptied
  8. Euro slides to lowest level in two decades

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  4. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  6. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022

Latest News

  1. Legal action looms after MEPs back 'green' nuclear and gas
  2. EU readies for 'complete Russian gas cut-off', von der Leyen says
  3. Rising prices expose lack of coherent EU response
  4. Keeping gas as 'green' in taxonomy vote only helps Russia
  5. 'War on Women' needs forceful response, not glib statements
  6. Greece defends disputed media and migration track record
  7. MEPs adopt new digital 'rule book', amid surveillance doubts
  8. 'World is watching', as MEPs vote on green finance rules

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us