The recently published OECD educational statistics collection "Education at a Glance 2022" highlights that both in Estonia and in other countries the share of people with higher education is increasing, a higher level of education means higher employment and wages and better coping during economic downturns.
According to Minister of Education and Science Tõnis Lukas Tõnis Lukas is an Estonian politician. , one of the world's most important compilations of education statistics confirms that investment in higher education serves the interests of the entire Estonian state.
In the years 2000-2021, the share of people aged 25-34 with higher education in Estonia increased from 29 percent to 43 percent. There are currently more people with higher education in this age group in Estonia than in Finland (40 percent), but less than on average in OECD countries (46 percent). Similar to other OECD countries, more women than men reach higher education in Estonia - in 2021, 54 percent of women and 33 percent of men had a higher education.
In 2021, the employment of people aged 25-34 with higher education in Estonia was 14 percentage points higher than those without secondary education and 3 percentage points higher than people with general secondary or vocational secondary education. In OECD countries, on average, people aged 25-65 with general secondary and vocational secondary education earn 29 percent more, and people with higher education earn almost twice as much as people without secondary education.
In Estonia, the wage advantage of people with higher education is smaller than the average in OECD countries, but still noteworthy. In Estonia, in 2020, people with general secondary and vocational secondary education earned six percent more and people with higher education earned 37 percent more than people without secondary education.
Only four percent of Estonian academic staff are under 30 years old, compared to an average of eight percent in OECD countries. On the other hand, the share of academic employees aged 50 or older in Estonia is over 40 percent, which corresponds to the OECD average.
The share of private money in Estonian higher education is 15 percent, on average 31 percent in the OECD. The smaller share of private money in Estonian higher education can be explained by the fact that full-time studies in Estonian are free for students and there are few private universities in Estonia. At the same time, the share of private money in higher education in Estonia is higher than in several comparable countries with free higher education, such as Finland, Sweden, Denmark or Austria.