Education is another important factor to preserve and
promote health. Significant differences are shown among EU Member States both
in terms of total population having completed at least upper secondary
education (Table 2.3) and of total early school leavers (Figure 2.4).
Table 2.3. Total population percentage having completed at least upper secondary
education in EU Member States, candidates and EFTA countries.
The indicator shows the percentage of the adult population
(25-64 years old) that has completed upper secondary education. The indicator
aims at measuring the share of the population that is likely to have the
minimum necessary qualifications to actively participate in social and economic
life. It should be noted that completion of upper secondary education can be
achieved in European countries after varying lengths of study, according to
different national educational systems.
Figure 2.4. Early school leavers in EUGLOREH Countries, per
gender, in 2006.
In the EU25 as a whole, women accounted for almost 55%
of all students enrolled in tertiary level education (i.e. ISCED levels 5 or 6)
This gap is evident throughout the EU. There are more
women than men enrolled in ISCED in 5 level programmes in EU Member States.
Women accounted for more than 60% of students enrolled in Sweden and the three Baltic States as well as in Iceland and Norway. The share of women among
students increased between 1997/98 and 2003/04 in virtually all countries for
which data are available for both years. The only exceptions are Finland and Lithuania, marginally, and, Cyprus and Bulgaria more markedly (EUROSTAT, 2008).
Men represent the majority of students enrolled in ISCED 6
or advanced research programmes in most European countries. In the EU25 as a
whole, women made up almost 47% of students in 2003-04. In Belgium and the Czech Republic the figure was under 40%. Women outnumbered
men, however, in the three Southern countries of Spain, Italy and Portugal, the three Baltic States, Luxembourg, Finland, Bulgaria and Romania as well as Iceland. Between 1997/98 and 2003/04, the number of women enrolled in ISCED level
6 programmes compared to men increased in nearly all countries, by an average
of almost 3 percentage points in the EU25. The only exception is Italy, where women still outnumber men (EUROSTAT, 2008).
In 2004, women made up around 59% of students
graduating with ISCED level 5 qualifications in the EU25, 4 percentage points
more than the share of women in enrolments. More women than men graduated in 2004 in all countries except Turkey, where women make up a relatively small proportion of students
enrolled. In Portugal, Poland and the three Baltic States, as well as Iceland, around two thirds or more of graduating students were women.
The situation is
very different at post graduated level. In the EU25 as a whole in 2004, 57% of
those successfully completing their studies were men. Men also outnumbered
women in most countries. The exceptions are Ireland, Italy (though only
marginally so), Cyprus, Portugal, the three Baltic states and Bulgaria. The share of men among graduates at this level, moreover, was more than their
share of enrolments in most countries, which partly reflects the growing share
of women enrolling in ISCED 6 programmes (i.e. those graduating are those who
initially enrolled some years previously when the share of women was smaller).
There is a marked difference between the fields of education in which women and
men successfully complete the first stage of tertiary level programmes. While
women make up a large majority of those graduating in health and welfare and
teacher training and education programmes at ISCED level 5, outnumbering men by
more than three to one on average in the Eu in 2004, the opposite occurs in
engineering, manufacturing and construction.
The number of
enrolled in education in EU is expected to decline from 91.8 and 91.6 millions
in 2002 and 2003 respectively to 71.7 millions in 2050. For all age groups, the
main explanation for the drop in the number of students is demographic, but for
students aged 15 or more, labour market developments also influence the
developments in enrolment rates. The number of students is expected to decline
from 2002 to 2050 in all countries but Luxembourg. Measured as a share of
working-age population, the average EU student ratio is expected to decline by
2.4 percentage points. Declines in this ratio are expected in all countries but
Denmark and the Netherlands, and the strongest expected reductions are
foreseen for Cyprus and Poland with reductions of about 10 percentage points
(European Commission, 2006).
While education is
primarily publicly founded in all Member States, private contributors also play
some role. The share of public education expenditure varies across countries
depending on the specific institutional setting for education and across ISCED
levels of education. In most Member States, the share of publicly funded
education is close to 100 for basic and upper-secondary education. For tertiary
education, the shares of publicly funded education vary somewhat and are
generally lower than at lower level (European Commission, 2006).
large increase of life expectancy and the rapidly charging contexts of working
and social life, the need emerges for providing the opportunity of life-long
education to help all citizens to better cope with the many innovations and
developments taking place during their life-times. This is absolutely essential
to ensure optimal performance in the working environment, but it is also
important in the social context. How to succeed such as demanding task is one
fundamental challenge we have to face.