Education at a Glance 2016. OECD Indicators


OECD (2016). Education at a Glance 2016. OECD Indicators. Paris: OECD Publishing. Retrieved September 15, 2016 from

Work data:

ISBN: 978-92-64-25980-5

Type of work: Report




Key findings


Educational attainment

  • The enrolment rate of 20-24 year-olds at the tertiary level increased from 29% to 33% between 2005 and 2014. 36% of today’s young adults are expected to graduate before the age of 30, but only 41% of full-time bachelor students graduate within the theoretical duration. (A3)


  • Gender imbalances remain: although women are over-represented among tertiary graduates (57% of first-time graduates across OECD countries), they remain under-represented in certain fields of study, such as science and engineering while, in the field of education, four women graduated for every man in 2014. (A3)


  • The earnings premium compared with adults with upper secondary education is 91% for master’s degree holders or higher, 48% for bachelor’s holders and 20% for short-cycle tertiary education. (A6). But the private net return for a woman attaining tertiary education is about two-thirds than for a man. (A7)


Education spending

  • OECD countries spend on average, USD 10,493 per student per year on primary through tertiary educational institutions: USD 8,477 per primary student, USD 9,980 per lower secondary student, USD 9,990 per upper secondary student and USD 15,772 per tertiary student. (B1)


  • Expenditure on tertiary education rose rapidly in most countries and was 29% higher in 2013 than in 2005, mainly due to a significant expansion of tertiary enrolment of 16% on average across the OECD. (B1)


  • OECD countries spent an average of 5.2% of their gross domestic product (GDP) in 2012 on educational institutions from primary to tertiary education, ranging from 3.5% in Luxembourg to 6.7% in the United Kingdom. (B2)


Access to education

  • Enrolments in pre-primary education rose from 54% of 3 year-olds in 2005 to 69% in 2014, and from 73% of 4 year-olds in 2005 to 85% in 2014 on average across OECD countries with 2005 and 2014 data. (C2)


  • 68% of young adults in OECD countries will enter tertiary education at least once during their lifetime if current patterns of entry continue. This average drops to 61% when international students are excluded and to 51% if only domestic students younger than 25 are considered. (C3)


  • Within the OECD, 6% of the students enrolled in tertiary education in 2014 were international students. The number of foreign tertiary students enrolled worldwide increased by 50% from 2005 to 2012. (C4)


In the classroom

  • Students in OECD countries receive an average of 7,540 hours of compulsory instruction during their primary and lower secondary education, ranging from 5,720 hours in Hungary to almost double that in Australia (11,000 hours) and Denmark (10,960 hours). (D1)


  • Ageing of the teaching workforce is a challenge in many countries: between 2005 and 2014 the share of teachers aged 50 or older grew in 16 of the 24 OECD countries with available data: 31% of primary school teachers were at least 50 years old in 2014, 34% at lower secondary level and 38% at upper secondary level. (D5)


  • More than two out of three teachers are women, on average across OECD countries, but the percentage of female teachers decreases as the level of education increases: 97% at pre-primary level, 82% at primary level, 68% at lower secondary level, 58% at upper secondary level and 43% at tertiary level. (D5)