Education administrative data from 2013 onwards (ISCED 2011)

Reference Metadata in Euro SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Compiling agency: Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

Eurostat metadata
Reference metadata
1. Contact
2. Metadata update
3. Statistical presentation
4. Unit of measure
5. Reference Period
6. Institutional Mandate
7. Confidentiality
8. Release policy
9. Frequency of dissemination
10. Accessibility and clarity
11. Quality management
12. Relevance
13. Accuracy
14. Timeliness and punctuality
15. Coherence and comparability
16. Cost and Burden
17. Data revision
18. Statistical processing
19. Comment
Related Metadata
Annexes (including footnotes)
National metadata

For any question on data and metadata, please contact: EUROPEAN STATISTICAL DATA SUPPORT


1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation

Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

1.2. Contact organisation unit

F5: Education, health and social protection

1.5. Contact mail address

2920 Luxembourg LUXEMBOURG

2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 28/05/2021
2.2. Metadata last posted 28/05/2021
2.3. Metadata last update 28/05/2021

3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

This domain covers statistics and indicators on key aspects of the education systems across Europe. The data show entrants and enrolments in education levels, education personnel and the cost and type of resources dedicated to education.

The standards on international statistics on education and training systems are set by the three international organisations jointly administering the annual UOE data collection:

  • The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation Institute for Statistics (UNESCO-UIS),
  • The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and,
  • The Statistical Office of the European Union (EUROSTAT).

The following topics are covered:

  • Pupils and students – Enrolments and Entrants,
  • Learning mobility,
  • Education personnel,
  • Education finance,
  • Graduates,
  • Language learning.

Data and indicators disseminated include e.g. participation rates at different levels of education, shares of pupils and students by programme orientation (general/academic and vocational/professional) and in combined school and work-based programmes, enrolments in public and private institutions, tertiary education graduates, degree mobile students enrolled and graduates, pupil-teacher ratios, foreign language learning, expenditure on education per student and relative GDP.

3.2. Classification system

- International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED).

  • Non-finance education data up to reference year 2012 are based on ISCED 1997, as from the reference year 2013 ISCED 2011 is applied;
  • Education expenditure data use respectively ISCED 1997 until 2011 data, and ISCED 2011 from the reference year 2012.

- International Standard Classification of Education Fields of Education and Training (ISCED-F 1999).

- ISCED-F 2013 - ISCED Fields of Education and Training 2013 - is a classification of fields of education, which accompanies ISCED 2011 ( ). It is implemented in UOE data collections from school year 2014/2015.

-  Nomenclature of territorial units for statistics: NUTS2.

3.3. Coverage - sector

Not available.

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

Countries participating in this collection are compiling their data according to the concepts and definitions of the UOE data collection manuals on education systems statistics. The concepts and definitions are available on this site.

There are country specific notes to all tables (See annex at the bottom of the page).

3.5. Statistical unit

In the UOE data collection on education statistics, the statistical units collected are students enrolled, entrants, graduates, mobile students enrolled and graduated, education personnel and expenditure.

In the Eurostat data collection on language learning the statistical unit is enrolments in studies of foreign languages. The Eurostat data collection on regions includes students enrolled by age, sex and ISCED level by NUTS2 regions (See Ramon, Eurostat's classification server for more details on the NUTS).

3.6. Statistical population

The statistics refer to education in the school and university system, as defined in the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED 2011). The basic unit of classification in ISCED 2011  is the educational programme.

The UOE data collection covers all organised and sustained learning opportunities for children, youth and adults, including those with special educational needs, irrespective of the institutions or organisations providing them or the form in which they are delivered. They cover school-based general education and vocational education/training (including combined school- and work-based programmes such as dual system apprenticeship). Exclusively (initial and continuing) work-based training is not included in the statistics. Programmes or studies designated as 'adult education' or 'continuing education' are included only if the content is similar to regular educational programmes or lead to similar potential qualifications.

The data collection covers all of a country's domestic educational activity (i.e. within its own territory).

3.7. Reference area

The UOE data collection on education statistics covers the EU Member States (Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Hungary, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovak Republic, Finland, and Sweden),  United Kingdom, the EFTA/EEA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), the candidate countries (Albania, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey), as well as OECD Member States situated outside Europe (Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, United States) and other countries (e.g. Israel).

The dissemination of education statistics by Eurostat is generally limited to the EU Member States, the United Kingdom, and the EFTA/EEA and Candidate countries. Information on OECD Member States situated outside Europe can be provided by OECD.

3.8. Coverage - Time

Data cover mainly the period 1998 and onwards. A few data on enrolments, graduates and finance are available since 1990 or 1995.

3.9. Base period

For expenditure data, the base period is the financial year which is in general identical to the calendar year and thus running from 1st of January to 31st of December. However, there is one noticeable exception: in the United Kingdom the financial year is running from 1st of April to 31st of March.

For graduates, the base period is in general the calendar year and data refer to all graduates during the calendar year, with some exceptions, where graduate data refer to the academic year.

Data on students refer in general to the count on a given date at the beginning of the school/academic year, preferably at the end of the first month. Exceptions may be on pre-primary and tertiary levels of education, where enrolments can be counted as an average over several counting dates or as the count of individuals registered during the reference period. Data on personnel refer in general to a given date at the beginning of the school/academic year.

4. Unit of measure Top

Students enrolled, mobile students, entrants, graduates, teachers, euros.

5. Reference Period Top

In education non-finance statistics such as enrolments, entrants, graduates, personnel, credit mobility and language learning "201X" stands for school/academic year 201X-1/201X.

In education finance statistics, the reference period is the financial year for expenditure data.

6. Institutional Mandate Top
6.1. Institutional Mandate - legal acts and other agreements

The basic legal act for UOE statistics is Regulation (EC) No 452/2008 of 23 April 2008 concerning the production and development of statistics on education and lifelong learning.

The following implementing regulations specify the details for data collection:

The methodological requirements are set up by Eurostat in cooperation with the participating countries, UNESCO-UIS and OECD. The definitions and methodological requirements are available on this site.

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

The main source of data is the joint UIS (UNESCO Institute of Statistics)/OECD/Eurostat (UOE) questionnaires on education statistics, which constitute the core database on education.

7. Confidentiality Top
7.1. Confidentiality - policy

Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics (recital 24 and Article 20(4)) of 11 March 2009 (OJ L 87, p. 164), stipulates the need to establish common principles and guidelines ensuring the confidentiality of data used for the production of European statistics and the access to those confidential data with due account for technical developments and the requirements of users in a democratic society.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

 Not available.

8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

Data are disseminated on an annual basis, normally in May.

8.2. Release calendar access

Not available.

8.3. Release policy - user access

In line with the Community legal framework and the European Statistics Code of Practice Eurostat disseminates European statistics on Eurostat's website (see item 10 - 'Accessibility and clarity') respecting professional independence and in an objective, professional and transparent manner in which all users are treated equitably. The detailed arrangements are governed by the Eurostat protocol on impartial access to Eurostat data for users.

9. Frequency of dissemination Top


10. Accessibility and clarity Top
10.1. Dissemination format - News release

Ad-hoc news releases on-line when required.

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications


10.3. Dissemination format - online database

Online tables on education systems data from UOE data collection are available, see

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

 Not available.

10.5. Dissemination format - other

Eurydice, the information network on education in Europe, publishes in cooperation with Eurostat data and indicators on education in the publications ‘Key Data on Education' and ‘Key Data on languages'.

Key data on Early Childhood Education and Care in Europe. 2014 Edition

Key data in teachers and school leaders in Europe. 2013 Edition

Key data on Education in Europe. 2012 Edition

Key Data on Teaching Languages at School in Europe – 2017 Edition

10.6. Documentation on methodology

The definitions and methodological requirements for the joint UOE data collection and for the Eurostat data collection on regional enrolments and foreign language learning are available on this site.

The International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED 2011) is the basis for international education statistics.  The ISCED 2011 Operational Manual, elaborated by UIS, OECD and Eurostat, provides guidelines for classifying national education programmes and related qualifications according to ISCED 2011. It was prepared for national statisticians reporting data on education to international organisations and for all users interested in better understanding of these data.

10.7. Quality management - documentation

Eurostat's mission is to provide the European Union with a high-quality statistical information service (see Eurostat quality framework).

11. Quality management Top
11.1. Quality assurance

The quality of the education systems statistics from UOE data collection is ensured through specific requirements set in Regulation (EC) No 452/2008 and the details provided in Commission Regulation (EU) No 912/2013 for data from 2013 onwards and Commission Regulation (EU) No 88/2011 for 2011 and 2012 data. Until 2011 data was collected based on gentlemen’s agreement.

Quality is also reflected through the use of harmonised definitions and concepts. Specific recommendations to help countries properly collecting the expected data are also available through a set of methodological documents and guidelines (see item 10.6. Documentation on methodology). The quality is discussed in working groups (such as the Education and Training Statistics Working Group) within the European Statistical System (ESS) and with other organisations involved in UOE data collection, namely UNESCO-UIS and OECD.

UOE data is provided in the standard questionnaires prepared jointly by the three organisations (UNESCO-UIS, OECD and Eurostat). For countries that are both EU and OECD members, a common validation process is carried out by the two organisations based on gentlemen’s agreement.

11.2. Quality management - assessment

UOE statistics are considered to be of good quality thanks to a harmonised production process (as described in item 11.1. above).

Data quality requirements and standard quality reports are set out in Annex II of Commission Regulation (EU) No 912/2013. The EU Member States and EFTA countries are obliged to transmit to Eurostat the standard quality reports together with ISCED mapping of national programmes and qualifications every year.

National quality reports provide users with basic information on quality at national level and document compliance with the definitions and concepts as stated in the detailed guidelines for UOE data collection. Deviations from the definitions and concepts should be documented and explained, and if possible quantified.

The use of estimates and revisions should be clearly identified at the level of tables and breakdowns.

12. Relevance Top
12.1. Relevance - User Needs

Statistics on education systems based on UOE data collection support monitoring the education participation and outcomes. They provide at EU level, detailed results on the pupil/student population, new entrants, graduates, learning mobility, education personnel, language learning and education finance. Numbers of students enrolled, entrants and graduates are collected by age, sex, education level, programme orientation and completion, type of institution, intensity of participation, field of study, and country of origin. Education finance data are important for monitoring investment in education.

UOE data is also used to measure one of the benchmarks which have been set for education in ET 2020 Strategy. At least 95% of children (from 4 to compulsory primary school age) should participate in early childhood education.

12.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

There is no satisfaction survey targeted at UOE users. The content of the UOE data collection and the type of results that are disseminated by Eurostat on its website was consulted by Eurostat with stakeholders as much as possible to get their opinion and to satisfy their needs in terms of data availability.

12.3. Completeness

The data sent by participating countries to Eurostat are overall complete and match the requirements set out in the Commission Regulations or gentlemen’s agreement (before reference year 2011) respectively.

Nevertheless, some national datasets are not always fully matching the expected format because some content is missing or is not applicable. In those cases the data disseminated are displayed as ‘not available’ (‘:’) or ‘not applicable’ (‘:’z). This can be explained either because the country could not implement the variable for some reason and may have received a temporary derogation from implementing the Commission Regulations or because the concept does not exist in the country.

13. Accuracy Top
13.1. Accuracy - overall

The overall accuracy of UOE statistics is considered as high.

Incompleteness of private expenditure on education:

In many countries, private expenditure on education contained in some indicators is not comprehensive. This is in particular true for the payments of other private entities (e.g. firms, non-profit organisations, religious institutions) to educational institutions that are often very difficult to track back through administrative records. This can sometimes result in a significant under-evaluation of private expenditure on education that has to be taken into account when interpreting indicators on education finance statistics.

Influence of effects that are exogenous to the education system on some education finance statistics indicators:

Effects that are exogenous to the education system, but are contained in auxiliary indicators (e.g. Gross Domestic Product, Gross National Income, GDP-Deflator or Purchasing Power Parity) used to calculate indicators on education finance statistics may sometimes bias the interpretation of some indicators.

13.2. Sampling error

Not applicable.

13.3. Non-sampling error

The main type of non-sampling error is coverage error due to the divergence between the frame population and the target population. Detailed information on coverage errors is provided by countries in quality reports.

14. Timeliness and punctuality Top
14.1. Timeliness

Pupils/students enrolled, entrants, personnel, language learning: 2 years after end of the reference period.

Graduates and Credit Mobility: 1.5 years after end of the reference period.

Finance: 2.5 years after end of the reference period.

14.2. Punctuality

Not available.

15. Coherence and comparability Top
15.1. Comparability - geographical

Differences in education systems

The education systems differ between countries. The ISCED 2011 classification makes it possible to compare educational levels in spite of these differences, but the differences may nevertheless affect certain figures. The degree structures differ between countries. To which extent students qualify for and receive more than one qualification differs between the countries, as well as the length of studies to obtain a degree.

National ISCED mappings, presenting classification of education programmes and qualifications in ISCED 1997 and ISCED are available on CIRCABC website (link:

Participation rates above 100%

In indicators on participation rates, enrolment statistics are related to population statistics. The reference date for ages is the same (1st of January) but differences in data collection dates or methodologies may result in slight differences, which affect the participation rates. Percentages above 100 percent can be due to such differences, but can also appear because of inflows or outflows of students. The enrolment statistics refer to all education enrolments within the country while population statistics refer to residents in the country. In some countries, where the outflow of students is substantial (Luxembourg, Cyprus), specific notes are added in the tables, but other countries' figures may also be affected.

Ambiguities of classification with regards to levels of government:

The classification of governments by level is clear in most cases, but there are some ambiguities. If a country only has two levels of government, the lower level usually is designated local, not regional. If there are four or more levels, the second level usually is designated regional and the third, local. If a city (such as the national capital) has dual status as both regional and local government, its expenditure is reported as expenditure of regional level of government (e.g. the Stadtstaaten Hamburg, Bremen and Berlin in Germany).

Different concepts used for "country of origin" in learning mobility data

Country of origin in the learning mobility data should in principle refer to the "country of prior secondary education". However, until the reference year 2016 countries might use instead country of prior residence or citizenship or other. From reference year 2016 onwards all countries should report data according to "country of prior education". Information on the specific definition currently used by countries is available in Chapter 3. Annexes "Footnotes - Learning mobility".

15.2. Comparability - over time

Introduction of the ISCED 2011 classification:

  • Non-finance education data up to reference year 2012 are based on ISCED 1997, as from the reference year 2013 ISCED 2011 is applied;
  • Education expenditure data use respectively ISCED 1997 until 2011 data, and ISCED 2011 as from the reference year 2012.

Compared to ISCED 1997 which had seven levels of education, ISCED 2011 now has nine levels of education, from level 0 to level 8:

ISCED 0: Early childhood education;

ISCED 1: Primary education;

ISCED 2: Lower secondary education;

ISCED 3: Upper secondary education;

ISCED 4: Post-secondary non-tertiary education;

ISCED 5: Short-cycle tertiary education;

ISCED 6: Bachelor’s or equivalent level;

ISCED 7: Master’s or equivalent level;

ISCED 8: Doctoral or equivalent level.

Correspondence between ISCED 2011 and ISCED 1997 levels (at 1-digit ISCED 1997)

ISCED 1997

(data up to 2012)

ISCED 2011

(data from 2013 onwards)





















* Content of category has been modified slightly.

ISCED 2011 took into account the changes in education systems occurred over the last decade, mainly relating to the Bologna process in tertiary education (link:, but also to the expansion of education programmes for very young children. With ISCED 2011 education programmes can be coded up to 3-digit-level.

15.3. Coherence - cross domain

Data and indicators on education, where the data source is the joint UOE data collection, are also published by OECD and UIS.

The main OECD publication, 'Education at a Glance', is published on this site.

Access to UIS' database and tables (Select "View indicators").

15.4. Coherence - internal

Not applicable.

16. Cost and Burden Top

Indication of the cost associated with the collection and production of UOE data is provided by countries in quality reports. 

17. Data revision Top
17.1. Data revision - policy

A major revision of the UOE data collection on education statistics occurred in the reference year 1998, when the revision of the ISCED classification was implemented, and in 1999, when a major revision of the concepts and definitions of UOE financial data was introduced. Time-series beyond 1998 are therefore rare.

The next important revision occurred in 2005 and became effective in the data in the reference year 2003 for data on expenditure, in year 2004 for graduate data and in school/academic year 2003/04 for other non-monetary data.

17.2. Data revision - practice

Data are considered of sufficient quality and as final when they are released in Eurostat Reference Database.

They may however still be subject to revisions.

If substantial changes in methodology will occur, these changes will be explained with the first release of data affected by such changes.

18. Statistical processing Top
18.1. Source data

The main source of data is the joint UIS (UNESCO Institute of Statistics)/OECD/Eurostat (UOE) questionnaires on education statistics, which constitute the core database on education. The UOE data collection is an administrative data collection that is administered jointly by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation - Institute for Statistics (UNESCO-UIS), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the Statistical Office of the European Union (EUROSTAT). Data on regional enrolments and foreign language learning are collected additionally by Eurostat.

Commission Regulation No 88/2011 regarding statistics on education and training systems was the first EU legal implementing act covering the above mentioned data. 2012 was the first year of application of the Regulation. The first data provided according to that Regulation refers to the school academic year 2010/2011 and, as far as data on education expenditure are concerned, to the financial year 2010. Data for previous years were reported on a voluntary basis from countries (i.e. so called gentlemen's agreement). in 2013, it was replaced by Commission Regulation 912/2013.

The results of the UOE data collection on education statistics are compiled on the basis of national administrative sources, reported by Ministries of Education or National Statistical Offices.

Countries provide data, coming from administrative records, on the basis of commonly agreed definitions.

The national data collections on enrolments, graduates, personnel etc. are in most countries census or in some cases extractions from administrative registers.

Moreover, auxiliary indicators from statistics on demography (e.g. population) or the National Accounts (e.g. Gross Domestic Product, Total Public Expenditure) are used to calculate some of the indicators.

18.2. Frequency of data collection


18.3. Data collection

Data are collected through data collection tables in electronic questionnaires that are returned by countries to a unique e-mail address ( EU, EFTA and Candidate countries should use eDAMIS for sending the data that will be automatically forwarded to the unique e-mail address mentioned above. Afterwards Eurostat makes all data available to OECD and UNESCO via a restricted CIRCABC space. The international organisations process and verify the data after their reception.

18.4. Data validation

Since 2012, first year of application of Commission Regulation No 88/2011, there is a joint data validation made by Eurostat and OECD on the data transmitted by the countries that are both EU or EFTA, and OECD members. Each organisation validates the data for the remaining member countries. The validated data are shared between the three organisations.

18.5. Data compilation

European aggregates in absolute figures are in most cases disseminated only if data are available for all countries. In some cases, the aggregates are estimated by for example imputing data for previous years.

European averages are computed by adding up the data provided by the countries. They are calculated taking into account all relevant countries for which data are available.

Data on educational expenditure are compiled on a cash accounting rather than an accrual accounting basis as many countries use this system to record government expenditure and revenues. Expenditure is recorded in the year in which the payments occurred. This means in particular that:

  • Capital acquisitions are counted fully in the year in which the expenditure occurs;
  • Depreciation of capital assets is not recorded as expenditure, though repairs and maintenance expenditure is recorded in the year it occurs;

Expenditure on student loans is recorded as the gross loan outlays in the year in which the loans are made, without netting-off repayments from existing borrowers.

18.6. Adjustment

Enrolment data are adjusted to the reference period of the financial year, by weighting the school years overlapping the financial year. These adjusted enrolment data are then used in combination with financial data to calculate financial indicators that are related to enrolment (e.g. expenditure per pupil/student).

Adjustments of educational expenditure figures are made when the financial year is not corresponding to the calendar year in order to ensure full comparability of the indicators across countries. The adjustment method is varying depending on the indicator on education finance statistics. Information about adjustments, if necessary, is provided through specific footnotes.

19. Comment Top

Not available.

Related metadata Top

Annexes Top
Educ -Finance - accuracy
Methodological manual on Learning mobility