Educational attainment of the population aged 25 years and above

Definition

Percentage distribution of population aged 25 years and above according to the highest level of education attained or completed with reference to ISCED.

Data source

Mainly national population census; household and/or labour force surveys.

Calculation method

Divide the number of persons aged 25 years and above with respect to the highest level of education attained by the total population of the same age group and multiply the result by 100.

Data required

Population aged 25 years and above by highest level of education attained.

Interpretation

A relative high concentration of the adult population in a given level of education reflects the capacity of the educational system in the corresponding level of education. Educational attainment is closely related to the skills and competencies of a country's population, and could be seen as a proxy of both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of the stock of human capital.

Limitations

Caution is required when using this indicator for cross-country comparison, since the countries do not always classify degrees and qualifications at the same ISCED levels, even if they are received at roughly the same age or after a similar number of years of schooling. Also, certain educational programmes and study courses cannot be easily classified according to ISCED. This indicator only measures educational attainment in terms of level of education attained, i.e. years of schooling, and do not necessarily reveal the quality of the education (learning achievement and other impacts).

Purpose

To show the educational composition of the population aged 25 years and above, hence the stock and quality of human capital within a country, so as to gauge needs and establish policies for upgrading it. This indicator also reflects the structure and performance of the education system and its accumulated impact on human capital formation.

Quality standards

This indicator should be based on complete and reliable census or survey data, applying clear classification of levels of education in accordance with ISCED.

Types of disaggregation

By sex and by age group.