80% of the young people have at least a high school diploma or an intermediate level of vocational training

In the last 30 years, Spain has made an important qualitative leap in education, as it has improved many indicators of the system.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
01 April 2024 Monday 11:21
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80% of the young people have at least a high school diploma or an intermediate level of vocational training

In the last 30 years, Spain has made an important qualitative leap in education, as it has improved many indicators of the system. There are more people trained, for longer and with a higher level of education, according to the Statistical Yearbook: education figures in Spain. During these three decades, from 1991-1992 to 2021-2022, the last year published by the Ministry of Education and Training, education has evolved towards equity and inclusion and has promoted continuity in training. The population without education has decreased and the number of people with higher education has increased.

So there are more educated people. Eight out of ten young people aged 20 to 24 have completed, by and large, high school or an intermediate cycle of professional training (VET). In the 1990s, just over half reached this level of education. In addition, in those years when education was already universal, more students were leaving the education system at different stages, so that finally the rate of early school leaving (young people aged 18 to 24, who have neither intermediate degree or high school) was 41%, while in 2022 it was 13.9%. The authorities consider that passing these stages, which are not mandatory, is the minimum training for a citizen.

According to professor Carlos Magro, president of the Collective of Teachers for Inclusion and Educational Improvement, who shared this week on social networks the change in education from the nineties to today in eight graphs, it is necessary to "improve many things in Spanish education, but we also need to make a lot of progress, we must not forget that".

After the PISA report and the reactionary voices raised by the post-pandemic data, Magro wanted to look back and broaden the perspective on the journey of the Spanish education system, especially in terms of equity.

And it provides more data. In 1991-1992 the rate of the population that graduated from COU was 33%, while now it is 56% of the population (in high school). The improvement is also observed if you go down a step, in the ESO (previously BUP) stage. In the 1999-2000 academic year, one in four students did not graduate. Now they exceed 80%.

Another aspect that has changed (and which the European Commission is asking Spain to improve even more) is the suitability rate, that is, the course that corresponds to a student by age. 30 years ago the level of school repetition was very high, to the point that six students out of ten went from 8th grade of EGB to 1st grade of BUP at 15 and 16 years or older, and not at 14, which was the suitable age It meant that 60% had repeated during primary school. Instead, 80% now take the course that corresponds to them at the age of 14. And they all study compulsory secondary school until the age of 16.

Despite this, in Spain teachers continue to use the resource of repetition because it is one of the countries with the largest number of students behind compared to the course they would be studying. The suitability rate rises with age, as repeaters accumulate. But it is significant that then, in the nineties, two out of ten ten-year-old students had already stayed behind and had repeated, so that they left their classmates, because they did not arrive with enough "maturity" or "level of knowledge" .

Another interesting fact is the participation of the population in schooling. School life expectancy is an indicator that measures the average number of years a person is expected to stay in the education system. It is counted from the age of six, which is when compulsory education begins.

In the 2005-2006 school year, a six-year-old child was expected to train for 14.5 years (up to 20 and a half years). In the 2020-2021 school year, it is already expected that he will be there for 17.8 years, that is, until he is almost 23 years old. The more years of education, the more quality of life, better employment opportunities and more citizen participation.

Therefore, it is logical that, if the training time is extended, there will be more people on the block at the higher education level (VET or university). In 2023, half of the population aged 25 to 34 had a higher qualification. Specifically, 52%. This figure is well above the 37.5% of young people with a higher degree two decades ago. It is also above the European average (42%) and exceeds the European target for 2030 (45%), but it is similar, according to Magro, to that of other European countries.