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Diagram of the education system

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  • Diagram of education system in country language


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  • > Notes on the education system in Belgium
    Education system in Belgium

    Belgium
    Overview of the education system (EAG 2019)
  • Belgium has an open tertiary education admission system and the highest first-time entry rates to tertiary education. However, completion rates at bachelor's level (within the theoretical duration) are below the average across countries. The difference in tertiary completion rates between entrants with a general and with a vocational upper secondary qualification is one of the largest among countries.
  • Only 0.8% of 25-64 year-olds have a doctorate in Belgium, below the OECD average. Around one-quarter of students graduating from doctoral programmes in 2017 were international, in line with the OECD average.
  • 5.8% of Belgium's gross domestic product (GDP) is invested in education from primary to tertiary levels, one of the highest shares among OECD countries. Staff compensation accounts for the large majority of this expenditure.
  • Pre-primary education in Belgium is universal and in principle free of charge. Almost all children are enrolled by the age of 3, and only 3% of the cost of pre-primary education comes from private sources.
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    The following list displays indicators for which your selected country shows the highest and lowest values among countries. The list can be sorted by level of education or by age group. All rankings are calculated including available data from OECD and partner countries. Find out more about the methodology here.

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    Educational outcomes

    In Belgium, the average age of upper secondary graduates from general programmes is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data (21.5 Years, rank 23/23 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The average age of upper secondary graduates from vocational programmes in Belgium is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data (19.2 Years, rank 27/36 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Attainment by gender

    Belgium has one of the smallest shares of 25-64 year-old men whose highest education level is a short-cycle tertiary education degree. (0.5 %, rank 35/40 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The share of 25-64 year-old women who attained a bachelor's or equivalent tertiary education degree is one of the largest among countries with available data. (26.9 %, rank 8/46 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Attainment by field of education

    The percentage of 25-64 year-olds with tertiary education who studied in the field of business, administration and law is one of the lowest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (21.2 %, rank 24/32 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The percentage of 25-64 year-olds with tertiary education who studied in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction is one of the lowest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (13 %, rank 24/32 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Participation in education

    Among adults (25-64 years-old) with below upper secondary education, a low proportion participate in non-formal education. (17.4 %, rank 26/33 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Participation rate of 25-64 year-olds in not job-related non-formal education is low in Belgium, compared to other countries with available data. (12.7 %, rank 28/34 , 2016) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, a low proportion of 25-64 year-old men participate in not job-related non-formal education. (8.8 %, rank 29/34 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The enrolment rate among 15-19 year-olds in Belgium is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (95.2 %, rank 1/39 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of three-year-olds in early childhood education in Belgium is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (97.9 %, rank 5/40 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Belgium the percentage of young people expected to enter short-cycle tertiary programmes during their lifetimes is comparatively low. (0.8 %, rank 32/36 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The enrolment rate of 40-64 year-olds in Belgium is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (3.3 %, rank 6/39 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the average age of new entrants into doctoral programmes is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (28.5 Years, rank 31/36 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the percentage of tertiary students enrolled in private institutions is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (61.9 %, rank 10/44 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the share of part-time students in bachelor's programmes is relatively large. (28.6 %, rank 9/30 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The share of part-time students in doctoral programmes in Belgium is relatively small. (0 %, rank 23/29 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Graduation expectancy

    The percentage of young people expected to graduate from vocational programmes in upper secondary education during their lifetimes in Belgium is comparatively low (16.8 %, rank 28/34 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Excluding mobile students, the percentage of young people expected to obtain a master's or an equivalent degree during their lifetime is one of the lowest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (10.2 %, rank 24/29 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Excluding mobile students, Belgium has one of the lowest percentages of young people expected to complete a doctorate or an equivalent education during their lifetime. (0.9 %, rank 22/29 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Graduation by gender

    In Belgium, the share of female doctoral graduates in the field of Natural sciences, mathematics and statistics is relatively low. (38.4 %, rank 37/43 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The share of female graduates among post-secondary non-tertiary graduates from vocational programmes in Belgium is relatively low. (49.9 %, rank 17/25 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Graduation by field of education

    The percentage of tertiary graduates in the field of information and communication technologies is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (1.9 %, rank 39/43 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of tertiary graduates in the field of health and welfare is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (28.2 %, rank 1/44 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The share of doctoral graduates in the field of education in Belgium is relatively small. (1.2 %, rank 43/45 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The share of doctoral graduates in the field of information and communication technologies in Belgium is relatively small. (0.5 %, rank 40/44 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Fields of education

    The share of female who enter tertiary education in the field of education is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (70.8 %, rank 32/34 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The share of female who enter tertiary education in the field of natural sciences, mathematics and statistics is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (39.2 %, rank 33/34 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The share of female who enter tertiary education in the field of information and communication technologies (ICTs) is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (8.5 %, rank 33/33 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The share of female who enter tertiary education in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (19.8 %, rank 30/34 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of national tertiary students enrolled in the field of services in Belgium is relatively low. (1.8 %, rank 33/37 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Student mobility

    In Belgium, international students from Asia are least represented among all international students, compared to other OECD and partner countries with available data. (6.3 %, rank 39/45 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, international students from Europe are most represented among all international students, compared to other OECD and partner countries with available data. (63.2 %, rank 9/45 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, international students from Africa are highest represented among all international students, compared to other OECD and partner countries with available data. (12.6 %, rank 8/45 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Student mobility by field of education

    The percentage of international tertiary students enrolled in the field of business, administration and law in Belgium is relatively low. (12 %, rank 33/36 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of international tertairy students enrolled in the field of natural sciences, mathematics and statistics in Belgium is relatively low. (4.3 %, rank 29/37 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of international tertiary students enrolled in the field of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in Belgium is relatively low. (1.6 %, rank 34/36 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of international tertiary students enrolled in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction in Belgium is relatively low. (11 %, rank 29/37 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Expenditure per student

    Annual expenditure per tertiary student is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (18169 USD Equivalent, rank 10/35 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Annual expenditure per student from primary to tertiary level is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (13446 USD Equivalent, rank 7/35 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Annual expenditure per pupil at the pre-primary level is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (8427 USD Equivalent, rank 10/31 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Annual expenditure per primary student is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (10646 USD Equivalent, rank 9/35 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Annual expenditure per secondary student is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (13603 USD Equivalent, rank 6/35 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Annual expenditure per student for core and ancillary services, from primary to below-tertiary institutions is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (12324 USD Equivalent, rank 5/35 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Annual expenditure per tertiary student is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (11848 USD Equivalent, rank 9/32 , 2016) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the total expenditure on educational institutions per full-time equivalent student in primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary, is relatively high. (12324 USD Equivalent, rank 5/35 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Expenditure in education and national wealth

    In Belgium, expenditure on primary through tertiary educational institutions as a percentage of GDP is one of the highest among OECD countries and partner economies. (5.8 %, rank 8/35 , 2016) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, public expenditure on educational institutions as a percentage of GDP on primary to tertiary education from final source of funds is relatively high. (5.3 %, rank 3/39 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Public and private expenditure in education

    The share of private expenditure on pre-primary education is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (3.3 %, rank 29/31 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The share of private expenditure on all levels below tertiary education is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (3.3 %, rank 29/34 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The share of private expenditure on tertiary education is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (14.7 %, rank 27/35 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Belgium has one of the smallest shares of private expenditure on primary through tertiary educational institutions among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (6.3 %, rank 29/35 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The share of public expenditure on educational institutions, for tertiary education is comparatively large . (82.4 %, rank 8/35 , 2016) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the share of public expenditure on educational institutions, for primary to tertiary education is comparatively large . (92.5 %, rank 7/35 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Ratio of student to teaching staff

    The number of students per teacher in tertiary institutions is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (21.2 Ratio, rank 6/30 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The ratio of students to teaching staff at the lower secondary level is especially low. (8.9 Ratio, rank 32/36 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The ratio of students to teaching staff at the upper secondary level is especially low. (9.7 Ratio, rank 35/38 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The number of students per teacher in secondary schools is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (9.4 Ratio, rank 34/38 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Who the teachers are

    The share of women among teaching staff in post-secondary non-tertiary education is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (43.4 %, rank 16/18 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The share of women among teaching staff in tertiary education is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (48.5 %, rank 9/36 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of primary to upper secondary teachers younger than 30 is especially high. (17.2 %, rank 4/34 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of primary to upper secondary teachers older than 50 is especially low. (27.8 %, rank 25/34 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Employment and educational attainment

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-olds with a general upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is relatively low compared to other OECD and partner countries. (70.1 %, rank 30/38 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Unemployment and educational attainment

    Among the unemployed population aged between 25 and 64, with below upper secondary education, the share of those who have been unemployed for less than 3 months is one of the smallest in Belgium, compared to other OECD countries. (12.7 %, rank 29/31 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Among the unemployed population aged between 25 and 64 with below upper secondary education, the share of those who have been unemployed for at least 12 months is one of the largest in Belgium, compared to other OECD countries. (63.7 %, rank 5/38 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Among the unemployed population aged between 25 and 64 with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education, the share of those who have been unemployed for less than 3 months is one of the smallest in Belgium, compared to other OECD countries. (17.1 %, rank 27/31 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Among the unemployed population aged between 25 and 64 with tertiary education, the share of those who have been unemployed for less than 3 months is one of the smallest in Belgium, compared to other OECD countries. (26 %, rank 24/31 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Among the unemployed population aged between 25 and 64 with tertiary education, the share of those who have been unemployed for at least 12 months is one of the largest in Belgium, compared to OECD countries. (43.3 %, rank 7/38 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The inactivity rate of 25-34 years-old adults with below upper secondary education is high in Belgium. (38.1 %, rank 8/42 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Earnings and educational attainment

    The proportion of male full-time earners among all earners aged 35 to 44 without upper secondary education is comparatively low. (55.1 %, rank 20/29 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The proportion of female full-time earners among all earners aged 35 to 44 without upper secondary education is comparatively low. (20.5 %, rank 22/29 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The proportion of male full-time earners among all earners aged 55 to 64 without upper secondary education is comparatively low. (22.8 %, rank 27/29 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The proportion of female full-time earners among all earners aged 55 to 64 without upper secondary education is comparatively low. (7.2 %, rank 28/29 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The proportion of female full-time earners among all earners aged 35 to 44 with upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education is comparatively low. (29.9 %, rank 24/29 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The proportion of male full-time earners among all earners aged 55 to 64 with upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education is comparatively low. (30.1 %, rank 27/28 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The proportion of female full-time earners among all earners aged 55 to 64 with upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education is comparatively low. (14.8 %, rank 26/27 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The proportion of male full-time earners among all earners aged 35 to 44 with tertiary education is comparatively low. (72.8 %, rank 27/29 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The proportion of male full-time earners among all earners aged 55 to 64 with tertiary education is comparatively low. (45.6 %, rank 28/29 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The proportion of female full-time earners among all earners aged 55 to 64 with tertiary education is comparatively low. (23.4 %, rank 26/28 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The earnings of adults without an upper secondary education are relatively high compared to those of adults with an upper secondary or a post-secondary non-tertiary education. (91 Index, rank 3/37 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old men with tertiary education and those with upper secondary education is quite low. (134 Index, rank 32/37 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old women with tertiary education and those with upper secondary education is quite low. (126 Index, rank 34/37 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The proportional difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old adults with tertiary education and those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is quite low. (128 Index, rank 34/37 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Earnings of women as a percentage of men's earnings (among 25-64 year-olds without an upper secondary education with income from employment) are one of the highest among countries with available data. (89.4 %, rank 1/37 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Earnings of women as a percentage of men's earnings (among 25-64 year-olds with upper secondary education and income from employment) are one of the highest among countries with available data. (91.7 %, rank 1/37 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Earnings of women as a percentage of men's earnings (among 25-64 year-olds with tertiary education and income from employment) are one of the highest among countries with available data. (86.5 %, rank 2/37 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Earnings of women as a percentage of men's earnings (25-64 year-olds with income from employment) are one of the highest among countries with available data. (94.1 %, rank 3/37 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Compared with other OECD and partner countries, the proportional difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old adults with a short-cycle tertiary education degree and those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is low. (108 Index, rank 26/29 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Compared with other OECD and partner countries, the proportional difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old adults with a bachelor's or equivalent degree and those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is low. (115 Index, rank 30/34 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Compared with other OECD and partner countries, the proportional difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old adults with a master's, doctoral or equivalent degree and those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is low. (145 Index, rank 30/34 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The gap in average earnings between 25-64 year-old women with a bachelor's or equivalent degree and those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (116 Index, rank 30/34 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The gap in average earnings between 25-64 year-old women with a master's, doctoral or equivalent degree and those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (141 Index, rank 31/34 , 2016) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the proportional difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old men with a short-cycle tertiary education degree and those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is low. (107 Index, rank 25/29 , 2016) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the proportional difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old men with a bachelor's or equivalent degree and those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is low. (118 Index, rank 32/34 , 2016) Download Indicator

    In Belgium, the proportional difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old men with a master's, doctoral or equivalent degree and those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is low. (151 Index, rank 30/34 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Earnings of 25-64 year-old full and part-time workers with tertiary education are comparatively low. (130 Index, rank 33/37 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Earnings of foreign-born aged between 25 and 64 who work full- and part-time with a short cycle tertiary education are comparatively low. (109 Index, rank 25/29 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Earnings of 25-64 year-old full- and part-time workers with a Bachelor's or equivalent education are comparatively low. (117 Index, rank 29/33 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Earnings of 25-64 year-old full- and part-time workers with a Master's, doctoral or equivalent education degree are comparatively low. (150 Index, rank 30/33 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Neither in education nor employed

    The percentage of 15-19 years-old men neither employed nor in education or training is one of the lowest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (3.8 %, rank 30/39 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Migrant background

    The employment rate of foreign-born aged between 25 and 64 and without upper secondary education is comparatively low. (42.7 %, rank 27/27 , 2015) Download Indicator

    The employment rate of foreign-born aged between 25 and 64 with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is comparatively low. (63.4 %, rank 27/30 , 2015) Download Indicator

    The employment rate of native-born aged between 25-64 with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is comparatively low. (48.2 %, rank 25/30 , 2015) Download Indicator

    The percentage of native-born aged between 25 and 64 who attained upper secondary or post-secondary non tertiary education is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (37.7 %, rank 25/30 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Earnings of foreign-born aged between 25 and 64 who work full- and part-time with tertiary education are high compared to those of native-born with the same characteristics. (108 Index, rank 2/21 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The percentage of foreign-born aged between 15 and 29 who are neither employed nor in education and training is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (24.2 %, rank 5/29 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Social outcomes

    Among 25-64 years-old adults with below upper secondary education, a low proportion have someone to ask for moral, material or financial help. (85.4 %, rank 26/29 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Among 25-64 years-old adults with tertiary education, a low proportion have someone to ask for moral, material or financial help. (95 %, rank 25/29 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Among employed adults (25-64 years-old) with below upper secondary education, a large share have difficulties to fulfill their family responsabilities because of their jobs, compared to other countries with available data. (63.4 %, rank 2/18 , 2015) Download Indicator

    The proportion of employed adults (25-64 years-old) with below upper secondary education who have concentration difficulties at work because of family responsabilities is high in Belgium. (30.5 %, rank 7/18 , 2015) Download Indicator


    The data table will display up to six selected countries.
    General findings
    • In 2018, 44% of 25-34 year-olds held a tertiary degree, compared to 35% in 2008, on average across OECD countries.
    • Tertiary-educated adults also reap higher earnings, although this varies by field of study. Their advantage increases with age too: 25-34 year-olds with tertiary education earn 38% more than their peers with upper secondary education while 45-54 year-olds earn 70% more.
    • While engineering, manufacturing and construction, and information and communication technologies are two fields most commonly associated with the best labour market outcomes, only 14% of graduates earned a degree in the former and 4% earned a degree in the latter in 2017.
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    • Although graduation from upper secondary education increased by 6 percentage points between 2005 and 2017, 15% of 25-34 year-olds did not attain upper secondary education in 2018, on average across OECD countries.
    • In some countries, vocational programmes are prominent at the upper secondary level. On average across OECD countries, 40% of first-time upper secondary graduates earned a vocational qualification in 2017; in Austria, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia, more than 66% of this population did.
    • At the lower secondary level, the average class shrank by 6% while teachers’ statutory salaries increased by 8% between 2005 and 2017, on average across OECD countries.
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    • In 2017, more than one in three children under the age of three were enrolled in early childhood education and care services, on average across OECD countries - an increase of 7 percentage points compared to 2010.
    • Between the age of 3 to 5, on average across OECD countries, 87% of children are enrolled in pre-primary and primary education.
    • Annual expenditure per child in early childhood development programmes was greater than in pre-primary education in 2016 on average across OECD countries. However, as a share of GDP, expenditure on early childhood development is lower.
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    • In 2016, expenditure per tertiary student amounted to USD 15 556, approximately one-third of which was devoted to research and development.
    • Private sources financed more than 30% of the expenditure, on average, at the tertiary level compared to 10% at primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary level.
    • OECD countries spent an average of 3.5% of GDP on primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary institutions in 2016, and public expenditure at this level increased by 18% since 2005.
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    • About 10% of primary and secondary teachers are under the age of 30, on average across OECD countries.
    • While the teaching profession is dominated by women, the share of female teachers decreases with the level of education taught: almost all teachers at the pre-primary level are women, however they make up less than half of the teaching force at tertiary level.
    • Salaries tend to increase with the level of education taught, but teachers' earnings remain between 78% and 93% of the earnings of other tertiary-educated adults.
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    Key
    Country Reviews for Belgium

    Note: These values should be interpreted with care since they are influenced by countries' specific contexts and trade-offs. In education, there is often no simple most- or least-efficient model. For instance, the share of private expenditure in education must be read against other measures designed to mitigate inequities, such as loans and grants; longer learning time is an opportunity to convey more and better content to students, but may hinder investments in other important areas. If you want further information on the nature of different variables, please take the time to read the analysis and contextual information, available at the website for each publication.
    All rankings for individual variables are compiled on the basis of OECD and G20 countries for which data are available. The OECD average includes only OECD countries which are listed here: http://www.oecd.org/about/membersandpartners/

    *TALIS averages are based on all countries participating in the TALIS survey, including partner countries and economies. This explains the difference between the OECD average and the TALIS average. Data from the TALIS survey and Education at a Glance (EAG) may differ. See Annex E of the TALIS technical report and Annex 3 of EAG 2019 for more details about the data collections.

    For additional notes, please refer to annexes in the list of links below the introductory country profile text.