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The statistical office of the European Union (EUROSTAT) has released the newest figures showing how far member states (MS), and the European Union (EU) as a whole, are on track towards reaching the EU 2020 targets on higher education attainment as well as early school leaving. Since the targets were set in 2010, and received an overhaul in the frame of a stocktaking exercise in 2014, progress has been steady on securing that at least 40% of people aged 30-34 to have completed some form of tertiary education and reducing the rate of early leavers from education and training aged 18-24 to below 10%. Across all member states the number of people (aged 30-34) who attain tertiary education has continuously increased, and the 2016 figure at 39.1% reflects incremental progress to the previous year’s 38.7%, and a large leap compared to a starting point of 23.6% in 2002. At the same time, the share of early leavers from education and training has steadily decreased, dropping to a currently 10.7%, reducing the number of those aged 18-24 doping out of education by about 6.3% since the data collection in 2002. Thirteen MS stated that they have already achieved the EU 2020 target that stipulates 40% of people should hold a tertiary education qualification and thirteen more are meeting their national 2020 target set to tackle early school leaving.
In more detail the data reveals:
The EU has made large progress in securing citizens in education and training since 2002, along the headline targets. Disparities remain when looking at the level of individual member states, and also this year’s data reveals important outliers, with Germany once again posing the exception where women fare worse than men in attaining a higher education degree.
EUROSTAT – Press release
For Eurostat 2015 results on EU 2020 targets in education & training - see ACA Newsletter ‘Education Europe’ (May 2016 edition)