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Spain
Overview of the education system (EAG 2013)
  • A number of countries, including Spain, have used vocational programmes in compulsory education to engage or re-engage adolescents at risk of dropping out of school. However, provision of vocational education and training (VET) programmes could be extended. In Spain, 14% of adults had a general upper secondary education in 2011 as their highest diploma (OECD average 12%). Only 8% had an upper secondary vocational education as their highest qualification, significantly lower than the OECD average of 34 year-olds %.
  • Spain is still among only five OECD countries where less than 60% of 25-64 year-olds have attained an upper secondary or tertiary education - the OECD average is 75%. However, educational attainment in Spain has been growing since 2000. In 2011, 46% of the country's 25-64 year-olds (compared to an OECD average of 25%) had below upper secondary education as their highest level of attainment, a decrease of 16 percentage points since 2000. 22% had upper secondary education as their highest level of attainment (compared to an OECD average of 44%), an increase of 6 percentage points since 2000. 32% (the same as the OECD average) had completed a tertiary education, an increase of 9 percentage points since 2000.
  • The difference in educational attainment between generations has been even more significant among women. In 2011, among 55-64 year-olds women, only 30% had attained at least upper secondary education while some 70% of 25-34 year-olds had attained this level of education the same year. This difference of 40 percentage points was the highest among OECD countries.
  • After the strong impact of the financial crisis, unemployment rates in Spain remain above the OECD average at each level of education. Between 2008 and 2011, unemployment rates for people without an upper secondary education rose from 13% to 26% (OECD average: 8.8% and 13%, respectively). Among those with an upper secondary education, unemployment rates rose from 9.3% to 19% (OECD average: 4.9% and 7.3%, respectively). Among tertiary-educated workers, unemployment rose from 5.8% to 12% (OECD average: 3.3% and 4.8%, respectively).
  • Great efforts still need to be made to support young adults in the labour market in Spain. In 2011, 30% of 25-29 year-olds who had not completed upper secondary education were unemployed (compared to an OECD average of 14%). 18% of those in this age group with upper secondary were unemployed (OECD average: 7.9%), and 15% of those with tertiary education were unemployed (OECD average: 6.5%). At the same time, only 3% of those who had attained upper secondary education and who were not employed continued their studies, one of the lowest percentages among OECD countries (OECD average: 7%).
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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

    The level of upper secondary attainment among 25-64 year-olds is one of the lowest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (54 %, rank 32/40 ) Download Indicator

    The level of upper secondary attainment among 25-34 year-olds is one of the lowest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (64.8 %, rank 31/35 ) Download Indicator

    The level of upper secondary attainment among 55-64 year-olds is one of the lowest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (33.8 %, rank 31/35 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of 25-64 year-olds who have attained vocational programmes in the upper secondary or post-secondary level is one of the lowest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (8.4 %, rank 27/27 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of 25-64 year-olds men who have attained vocational programmes in the upper secondary or post-secondary level is one of the lowest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (8 %, rank 27/27 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of 25-64 year-olds women who have attained vocational programmes in the upper secondary or post-secondary level is one of the lowest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (8.7 %, rank 25/27 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of 25-64 year-olds who have attained general programmes in the upper secondary or post-secondary level is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (14.1 %, rank 9/27 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of 25-64 year-olds men who have attained general programmes in the upper secondary or post-secondary level is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (14.3 %, rank 9/27 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of 25-64 year-olds women who have attained general programmes in the upper secondary or post-secondary level is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (13.9 %, rank 9/27 ) Download Indicator

    Participation in education

    The proportion of upper secondary vocational men graduates who studied Engineering, manufacturing and construction is one of the lowest among OECD and G20 countries (45.4 %, rank 22/25 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of upper secondary vocational men graduates who studied Sciences is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries (7.6 %, rank 5/25 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of upper secondary vocational women graduates who studied humanities, arts and education is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries (25.4 %, rank 4/25 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of upper secondary vocational women graduates who studied health and welfare is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries (21.8 %, rank 10/25 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of female graduates who studied engineering, manufacturing and construction in upper secondary vocational programmes is one of the lowest among OECD and G20 countries (3.6 %, rank 23/25 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of female graduates who studied sciences in upper secondary vocational programmes is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries (1.8 %, rank 6/25 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of female graduates who student agriculture in upper secondary vocational programmes is one of the lowest among OECD and G20 countries (1.2 %, rank 23/25 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of male graduates who studied humanities, arts and education in upper secondary vocational programmes is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries (15.6 %, rank 2/25 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of male graduates who studied health and welfare in upper secondary vocational programmes is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries (3.5 %, rank 9/25 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of male graduates who studied social sciences, business and law in upper secondary vocational programmes is one of the lowest among OECD and G20 countries (10.9 %, rank 16/25 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of male graduates who studied social services in upper secondary vocational programmes is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries (12.4 %, rank 10/25 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of today's young people expected to graduate from tertiary-type A (academic) programmes before turning 30 in Spain ranks as one of the lowest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (28.6 %, rank 18/25 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of today's young people expected to graduate from tertiary-type B (vocational) programmes before turning 30 in Spain ranks as one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (16.4 %, rank 2/21 ) Download Indicator

    In Spain, the annual growth of first-time graduation rates in tertiary-type A education is comparatively low. (0.9 %, rank 19/25 ) Download Indicator

    The change in the number of foreign students in tertiary education in Spain between 2005 and 2011 is one of the largest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (235.5 %, rank 8/34 ) Download Indicator

    The expected number of years in education for 15-29 year-olds in Spain is one of the lowest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (6.4 %, rank 28/35 ) Download Indicator

    The expected number of years in education for 15-29 year-old men in Spain is one of the lowest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (6.2 %, rank 29/35 ) Download Indicator

    The expected number of years in education for 15-29 year-old women in Spain is one of the lowest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (6.5 %, rank 27/35 ) Download Indicator

    Resources for education

    In Spain, cumulative expenditure per tertiary student is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (62319 USD Equivalent, rank 9/20 ) Download Indicator

    The change in expenditure between 2005 and 2010 per student at the tertiary level is comparatively small. (82 Index, rank 24/29 ) Download Indicator

    The change in total expenditure between 2005 and 2010 at the tertiary level is comparatively large. (88 Index, rank 9/33 ) Download Indicator

    The change in the number of students between 2005 and 2010 at the tertiary level is comparatively large. (107 Index, rank 1/29 ) Download Indicator

    In Spain public expenditure on educational institutions as a percentage of GDP is comparatively low. (4.8 %, rank 24/33 ) Download Indicator

    In Spain the change in public expenditure between 2008 and 2010 on educational institutions as a percentage of GDP is comparatively small. (103 Index, rank 22/31 ) Download Indicator

    The share of private expenditure on pre-primary education is one of the largest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (26.8 %, rank 7/28 ) Download Indicator

    In Spain public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP is comparatively low. (5 %, rank 25/33 ) Download Indicator

    In Spain the change in public expenditure between 2008 and 2010 on education including subsidies to households is comparatively small. (103 Index, rank 21/30 ) Download Indicator

    Public funding to households and other private entities in tertiary education is one of the lowest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (9.4 %, rank 25/32 ) Download Indicator

    In Spain the salary cost of primary teachers per student is comparatively high. (3139 USD Equivalent, rank 10/27 ) Download Indicator

    Teachers

    The number of students per teacher in tertiary institutions is one of the smallest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (11 Students, rank 24/27 ) Download Indicator

    The ratio of students to teaching staff at the lower secondary level is especially low. (10 Students, rank 23/32 ) Download Indicator

    The ratio of students to teaching staff at the upper secondary level is especially low. (10 Students, rank 30/32 ) Download Indicator

    The number of students per teacher in secondary schools is one of the smallest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (10 Students, rank 30/36 ) Download Indicator

    After 15 years of experience, an upper secondary teacher can expect to have one of the highest salaries among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (46479 USD Equivalent, rank 10/32 ) Download Indicator

    After 15 years of experience, a pre-primary teacher can expect to have one of the highest salaries among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (41339 USD Equivalent, rank 8/27 ) Download Indicator

    The ratio of pre-primary teachers' salaries to earnings for full-time, full-year workers with tertiary education is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (1.23 Ratio, rank 2/22 ) Download Indicator

    The ratio of primary teachers' salaries to earnings for full-time, full-year workers with tertiary education is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (1.23 Ratio, rank 2/27 ) Download Indicator

    The ratio of lower secondary teachers' salaries to earnings for full-time, full-year workers with tertiary education is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (1.38 Ratio, rank 1/27 ) Download Indicator

    The ratio of upper secondary teachers' salaries to earnings for full-time, full-year workers with tertiary education is one of the highest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (1.4 Ratio, rank 1/27 ) Download Indicator

    The number of days of instruction in a school year in pre-primary school is especially small. (176 Days, rank 28/30 ) Download Indicator

    The number of days of instruction in a school year in primary school is especially small. (176 Days, rank 27/33 ) Download Indicator

    The number of days of instruction in a school year in lower secondary school is especially small. (176 Days, rank 23/30 ) Download Indicator

    The number of days of instruction in a school year in upper secondary school is especially small. (171 Days, rank 28/31 ) Download Indicator

    Classroom environment

    Intended instruction time for lower secondary students, in hours per year, in Spain is one of the longest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (1050 Hours, rank 4/31 ) Download Indicator

    Total compulsory instruction time for lower secondary students in Spain is one of the longest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (4200 Hours, rank 3/31 ) Download Indicator

    Total intended instruction time for lower secondary students in Spain is among the longest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (4200 Hours, rank 4/31 ) Download Indicator

    Total compulsory instruction time for primary and lower secondary students in Spain is among the longest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (9450 Hours, rank 4/30 ) Download Indicator

    Total intended instruction time for primary and lower secondary students in Spain is among the longest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (9450 Hours, rank 4/30 ) Download Indicator

    Compulsory instruction time for primary students, in hours per year, in Spain is one of the longest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (875 Hours, rank 9/31 ) Download Indicator

    Intended instruction time for primary students, in hours per year, in Spain is one of the longest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (875 Hours, rank 9/31 ) Download Indicator

    Compulsory instruction time for lower secondary students, in hours per year, in Spain is one of the longest among OECD and G20 countries with available data. (1050 Hours, rank 3/31 ) Download Indicator

    Economic and social outcomes

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-old men with only primary or pre-primary education is comparatively low. (49.4 %, rank 18/26 ) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-old women with only primary or pre-primary education is comparatively low. (31.1 %, rank 19/26 ) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-old individuals with a tertiary education is comparatively low. (78.9 %, rank 33/36 ) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among individuals with an upper secondary or a post-secondary non-tertiary education is comparatively low. (67.5 %, rank 30/36 ) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among men with an upper secondary or a post-secondary non-tertiary education is comparatively low. (74.2 %, rank 32/36 ) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among men with a tertiary education is comparatively low. (82.1 %, rank 35/36 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of 25-29 year-olds who are neither employed nor in education or training is comparatively large in Spain. (29.6 %, rank 3/34 ) Download Indicator


    General findings
    • Across almost all OECD countries, upper secondary attainment is the norm. On average, 75% of 25-64 year-olds and 82% of 25-34 year-olds had reached this level of attainment in 2011. However, despite notable strides, some countries remain far below the OECD average in upper secondary attainment. For example, in Mexico, Portugal and Turkey, less than 20% of the population had attained upper secondary education as the highest level of education in 2011.
    • Vocational education and training is a major factor in the educational attainment of people in many countries. In 2011, a vocational upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education was the highest level of attainment for more than 50% of 25-64 year-olds in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia. However, in these countries, people tend to leave education after attaining upper secondary qualifications. In an additional 10 OECD countries, a vocational upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary attainment was the highest educational level for more than 30% of 25-64 year-olds.
    • Tertiary attainment levels have increased considerably over the last decades. On average across OECD countries, the proportion of 25-64 year-olds that hold a tertiary qualification has increased by 4.2% per year since 2000. However, even though tertiary attainment rates have increased in recent years, less than 35% of both men and women had attained a tertiary education in 2011.
    • If current tertiary attainment rates among 25-34 year-olds are maintained, the proportion of adults in France, Ireland, Japan and Korea who have a tertiary education will surpass that of other OECD countries, while the proportion in Austria, Brazil and Germany will fall further behind other OECD countries.
    • Significant progress has been achieved in reducing the gender gap in educational attainment and women have surpassed men in many aspects of education in OECD countries. Among 30-34 year-olds, more than 40% of women had a tertiary education in 2011, surpassing the rate of men with that level of education by about 8 percentage points. Tertiary attainment rates among young women have grown strongly in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden, where 50% or more of younger women in that age group had attained tertiary education in 2011.
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    • Across OECD countries, employment rates are highest among people who have a tertiary education; and these individuals are also most likely to be employed full time.
    • Unemployment rates are nearly three times higher among individuals who do not have an upper secondary education (13% on average across OECD countries in 2011) than among those who have a tertiary education (5% in 2011).
    • Individuals who have at least an upper secondary education have a greater chance of being employed than those without that level of education.
    • Gender differences in employment rates are smallest among tertiary-educated individuals and largest among men and women who do not have an upper secondary education.
    • In all OECD countries, adults with tertiary education earn more than adults with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education, who, in turn, earn more than adults with a below upper secondary education.
    • On average across OECD countries, the difference in earnings between younger and older workers increases with educational attainment, benefitting more educated older workers. The earnings premium for tertiary-educated 55-64 year-olds is generally larger than that for all tertiary educated workers: in 2011, on average, the earnings differential between these two groups increased by 16 percentage points.
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    • In 2011, on average across OECD countries, 16% of 15-29 year-olds were neither employed nor in education or training (NEET) (7% unemployed and 9% inactive), as were 8% of 15-19 year-olds (2.7% unemployed and 5.8% inactive), and 20% of 25-29 year-olds (8% unemployed and 12% inactive).
    • In Chile, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Spain and Turkey, more than 20% of 15-29 year-olds were NEET in 2011 compared to less than 10% in Austria, Iceland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. Unemployment levels are particularly worrying in Greece (14.6% in 2011) and Spain (17.0% in 2011), as is inactivity among young people in those countries (7.1% and 7.5%, respectively, in 2011).
    • On average across OECD countries in 2011, 18% of 15-29 year-old women were NEET (12% inactive and 6% unemployed) as were 13% of 15-29 year-old men (7% unemployed and 6% inactive).
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    • In 2010, OECD countries spent an average of 6.3% of their GDP on educational institutions. Out of the 33 countries for which data were available, this proportion exceeded 7% in Denmark, Iceland, Israel, Korea, New Zealand, Norway and the United States. Only the Czech Republic, Hungary Italy, the Russian Federation and the Slovak Republic spent less than 5% of their GDP on educational institutions.
    • On average, OECD countries spent USD 9 313 annually per student from primary through tertiary education in 2010: USD 7 974 per primary student, USD 9 014 per secondary student and USD 13 528 per tertiary student. Spending per pre-primary student amounted to USD 6 762 per year.
    • While there was no clear global trend in how the proportion of public expenditure on education evolved during the economic crisis, in 14 out of the 30 countries with available data, public expenditure on education grew at a faster rate than public expenditure on all other services between 2008 and 2010.
    • Public funding accounted for 84% of all funds for educational institutions on average in OECD countries in 2010, and between 2000 and 2010, public funding increased for all levels of education combined. However, more pressure has been put on households to share the cost of education, and private funding increased at an even greater rate in more than three-quarters of countries. The share of public and private investment in education differs among education levels. Tertiary institutions and, to a lesser extent, pre-primary institutions obtain the largest proportions of funds from private sources (32% and 18%, respectively, in 2010).
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    • The ratio of students to teaching staff varies across OECD countries and levels of education. At the primary level, there were more than 15 students for every teacher on average in OECD countries in 2011. In most countries, the student-teacher ratio decreases between primary and lower secondary school, despite an increase in class size. In 2011, there were, on average, about 14 students per teacher at the secondary level. At the tertiary level, there were, on average, about 16 students per teacher in OECD countries.
    • The number of teaching hours per teacher in public schools in 2011 averaged 790 hours per year in primary education, 709 hours in lower secondary education, and 664 hours in upper secondary education.
    • Teachers' statutory salaries vary widely across countries, but often increase with the level of education. In 2011, the statutory salaries of teachers with at least 15 years of experience averaged USD 36 135 at the pre-primary level, USD 38 136 at the primary level, USD 39 934 at the lower secondary level, and USD 41 665 at the upper secondary level. Between 2000 and 2011, teachers' salaries increased in real terms in most countries.
    • On average in OECD countries, pre-primary school teachers' salaries in 2011 amounted to 80% of full-time, full-year earnings of tertiary-educated adults working in different occupations. Primary school teachers' salaries amounted to 82% of that income, lower secondary school teachers' salaries amounted to 85% of that benchmark, and upper secondary school teachers' salaries amounted to 89% of those earnings.
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    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/

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