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Education in Europe - Statistics & Facts

Education plays a vital role in the economic and social context of Europe. Across the continent, there are a multitude of different education systems, each with their own attitudes and approaches to educating their population. The most successful education systems of the future will arguably be the ones that are able to adapt the fastest to new technologies and offer their students access to digital infrastructure. This was reflected in the most recent PISA results, which showed that Estonian students were the best educated in Europe, coming top in all three categories (Reading, Mathematics, and Science). Along with it's neighbors in Scandinavia, Estonian schools have some of the best access to new technologies in their classrooms, with 91 percent of their secondary schools having access to WI-FI compared with the European average of 67 percent.

Estonia also spends a relatively high share of it's gross domestic product on education, at 5.8 percent of GDP, compared with the EU average of 4.6 percent. The country that had the highest education spending in Europe was Sweden, at 6.8 percent of GDP, while the country that has increased education spending the most was Latvia with a ten percent year-on-year rise in education expenditure. In terms of salaries, Luxembourg has the best paid teachers at both primary and secondary level, with average starting salaries being 74.4 thousand U.S. dollars and 84.32 thousand U.S dollars respectively.

Although compulsory education is still the main learning experience for most people, an increasing number of Europeans are participating in higher education and obtaining degrees. As of 2018, approximately 40 percent of young Europeans had obtained a degree, with Lithuania having the highest share of 30-34 year old graduates at 57.6 percent. Europe is also home to some of the most prestigious universities in the world such as Oxford and Cambridge, which were the highest ranked universities in Europe in 2020.

As more and more people obtain degrees, and the modern economy becomes steadily more complex, there is also an increasing demand for lifelong learning, as both employer and employee seek to improve their skillsets. Part of the way this is provided is through educational technology (EdTech) such as online courses or through learning apps. While European EdTech companies are smaller than their competitors in the United States or China, investment in European EdTech is increasing, with 643 million U.S dollars invested in European EdTech in 2019, compared with just 70 million U.S. dollars in 2014.

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