The OECD Warns That 28% Of Young Spaniards Have Not Completed The Baccalaureate Or Vocational Training, The Highest Percentage In The EU

US education inequality

According to OECD data, 28% of Spaniards between 25 and 34 years of age have not graduated from the Baccalaureate or Intermediate Vocational Training. Yesterday, the international organisation took us to task, warning us that the second stage of secondary education is the “minimum qualification” that must be acquired in order to have “a successful participation in the labour market”. However, the percentage of those who barely achieve a basic education is double the average for developed countries, which stands at 14%.

Only Turkey (36%), Mexico (44%) and Costa Rica (45%) are worse off than Spain in this respect. But countries such as Colombia (25%) are in a better situation. Moreover, we are the worst on the list when compared with European OECD member states, whose average is 12%. The indicators of our EU-22 neighbours are more acceptable everywhere: from Italy (23%) to Slovenia (4%), Hungary (13%) or Greece (8%).

The OECD’s annual education report, which was presented yesterday, Monday, on several continents, also warns us of the “big differences” between the various autonomous communities. The proportion of low-skilled young people is very high in Extremadura (37%), Murcia (36%), Castilla-La Mancha (34%), Andalusia (34%) and, above all, the autonomous cities of Ceuta (38%) and Melilla (41%), which are managed by the Ministry of Education. Other regions, on the other hand, are in line with OECD standards. This is the case of Navarre (14%) and the Basque Country (15%).

As in the rest of the countries, although here more clearly, boys (33%) are worse off than girls (22%). There is an 11 percentage point difference between the educational attainment of the two sexes, a gap that also appears in the statistics on grade repetition and early dropout.

“There is a great polarisation in Spanish education that is unusual,” said Abel Schumann, director of the OECD’s Education Systems Indicators programme, in his presentation of the study at the headquarters of the Ministry of Education. He explained that, on the one hand, we have more higher education graduates than average (49% compared to 47% for the OECD and 46% for the EU-22). On the other hand, “there are high levels of people who have not reached the second stage of secondary education”. In other words, there are many university graduates but there is a lack of middle-level profiles.

The figures, in any case, have improved a lot in the last decade, because in 2011 we were at 35% of young people without post-compulsory education.

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The Corner
The Corner has a team of on-the-ground reporters in capital cities ranging from New York to Beijing. Their stories are edited by the teams at the Spanish magazine Consejeros (for members of companies’ boards of directors) and at the stock market news site Consenso Del Mercado (market consensus). They have worked in economics and communication for over 25 years.