Eurostat has just published a report which shows that increasing number of people aged between 30 and 34 in the European Union have completed tertiary or higher education, such as university studies, professional training etc. While in 2002 only 23.6% had a university degree, this percentage increased to 38.7% last year. This figure is close to the target set by the Europe 2020 strategy that at least 40% of those aged between 30 and 34 should have completed tertiary education.

As regards the breakdown of the figures for individual countries, in 2015 the number of persons aged between 30 and 34 completing tertiary education increased in each Member State. In countries like Lithuania, Cyprus, Luxembourg and Sweden, more than half of the population in this age group has completed tertiary education. This contrasts with countries like Italy, Romania, Malta and Slovakia, where less than 30% of young people aged between 30 and 34 have finished this phase.

In Spain the figures for 2002 show that 34 out of 100 persons engaged in further education completed this phase. 13 years later,in 2015, this percentage had increased to almost 41%, close to the 44% target for Spain laid down in the Europe 2020 strategy.

Another of the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy is to reduce the rate of those dropping out of school, which was 17% in 2002. 13 years later, this percentage was 11%, very close to the target set, namely to reduce the percentage of those dropping out of school to less than 10% by 2020.

In general, the school dropout rate has fallen in 2015 compared to 2006 in all Member States except the Czech Republic, Romania and Slovakia. Last year, countries such as Croatia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Poland and Lithuania had the lowest school dropout rates of less than 5%, while Spain, Malta and Romania had the highest percentages, of around 20%.

In Spain, the school dropout rate has fallen since 2006 by slightly more than 10%, from 30.3% to 20%. However, despite this welcome news, according to the Europe 2020 strategy, Spain’s strategy must be to reduce this figure even further, to 15%.

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