Almost half of EU pupils study vocational programmes - Products Eurostat News

null Almost half of EU pupils study vocational programmes


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In 2017, 21.4 million pupils were studying at upper secondary level in the European Union (EU), out of which more than 10.2 million (or 48%) were enrolled in vocational education.

Students usually enter upper secondary school programmes (ISCED level 3) between the ages of 14 and 16. These programmes are typically designed to complete secondary education in preparation for tertiary education or provide skills relevant to employment, or both. In particular, vocational education programmes are designed to provide learners with the knowledge and the set of skills specific to a particular occupation or trade. Such programmes may have work-based components (e.g. apprenticeships, dual-system education programmes). Successful completion of such programmes leads to labour market-relevant, vocational qualifications acknowledged as occupationally oriented by the relevant national authorities and/or the labour market.


Vocational education in the EU, 2017

The source dataset can be found here.


Vocational education at upper secondary level was somewhat dominated by males, who accounted for 56% of pupils studying this type of programme.


Highest share of upper secondary pupils enrolled in vocational education in Czechia and Finland

In thirteen EU Member States, more than half of all upper secondary pupils studied vocational programmes in 2017. Czechia and Finland registered the highest proportion of pupils at upper secondary level enrolled in vocational education (both 72%), ahead of Slovenia (71%), Croatia (70%), Austria and Slovakia (both 69%), and the Netherlands (68%).

At the opposite end of the scale, shares of less than a third were recorded in Ireland (10%), Cyprus (17%), Hungary (23%), Lithuania and Malta (both 27%), and Greece (29%).


Vocational education in the EU Member States, 2017

The source dataset can be found here.


More males than females in upper secondary vocational education in most Member States

The majority of pupils following vocational upper secondary programmes were male in every EU Member State, except the United Kingdom (52% were women), Belgium and Sweden (both 51%), and Finland (little over 50%).

In contrast, fewer than 40% of pupils following vocational programmes at upper secondary level were female in Cyprus (23%), Ireland (33%), Greece (34%), Lithuania (35%), Germany (37%), Italy (38%), Hungary and Poland (both 39%).


This news item marks the European Vocational Skills Week (14 - 18 October).


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