Participation in Education

18.05.20 | Statistics
Participation in education is important in and of itself. Moreover, participation in education is tied to socio-economic inequality as well as being related to and a driver of well-being and life expectancy. In that sense, participation in education affects not only the individual but also the society as a whole. In the Nordic countries participation in education is high as is the educational level. This continues to be a priority as income inequality is rising in the Nordic countries

Early childhood education and care (ECEC)

Research shows that high quality early childhood education and care lay the groundwork for better education, health, social and economic outcomes later in life. Investing in early childhood education is therefore an effective strategy for promoting participation though social integration and mobility over time. The Nordic countries have high enrollment rates in early childhood education. Furthermore, the Nordic countries have developed policies for universally available ECEC supporting family-worklife balance, gender equality and social equity.


Young people neither in employment nor education (NEET)

Young people who are neither employed nor in education or training, pose a serious issue in the context of youth unemployment and well-being as well as posing a risk for future poverty. The percentage of NEETs in the Nordic countries are significantly lower in comparison with the EU. However, not all Nordic countries are below the 10% benchmark in EU2020.

Participation in education as well as educational attainment is important because it is tied to both socio-economic inequality as well as the risk of poverty. People with tertiary education has a significantly lower risk of poverty than those with less than primary and lower secondary education. However, people with tertiary education in some Nordic countries have the same or higher risk of poverty when compared with the EU-level.


Tertiary Education by Field

The distribution of graduates by field of study is calculated as the share of graduates from each field over the total of graduates.

The distribution varies between the Nordic countries. Finland has the highest share of graduates from the STEM-area (Science, technology, engineering & mathematics).  Denmark and Iceland take the Nordic lead when it comes to the area of social sciences and business.


Adult Education

Lifelong learning is a priority within the Nordic Region and enhances children’s, young people’s and adults’  opportunities to learn throughout their lives. Lifelong learning activities can be either formal, non-formal or informal. The aim of improving knowledge, skills and competences also contributes to a Nordic agenda for future competencies.

The adult learning indicator below shows participation of adults aged 25-64 in formal and non-formal education and training over a four week period in 2019.

It shows that all of the Nordic countries have considerably higher proportions of their respective adult populations participating in lifelong learning activities compared to the EU average. Sweden has the highest rate: 25.3 per cent followed by Finland and Denmark.

For information on validation and the value of competences in the Nordic Region, please visit the Nordic Network for Adult Learning (NVL).