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Study: Finnish education level slipping below OECD average

The business daily Kauppalehti reports that Finland trails other OECD countries in terms of the number of highly educated persons entering the labour market during the past two decades.

Opiskelijan kädet kirjalla
Image: Antti Karhunen / Yle

The paper reported Monday that in the next 15 years, the educational level of the working age population is expected to dip below the average of other countries in the European Union and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the OECD.

That's because the number of highly-educated persons entering the Finnish labour market has not risen over the past two decades – as has been the case in other OECD countries.

The data come from the OECD’s "Education at a Glance 2014" publication, which reviewed education statistics among EU and OECD countries.

Furthermore younger persons entering the job market are not better educated than their ageing colleagues transitioning into retirement. The latest projections suggest that today’s young adults won’t be better educated than today’s 40 – 44 year-olds.

In practice this means that Finnish high education level will soon come to a standstill.

Head of the OECD’s education directorate Andreas Schleicher said that education levels in Finland haven’t collapsed. Rather, there has been a gentle and continuous decline, he noted.

The paper quotes specialist Aleksi Kalenius of Finland’s OECD missio, as saying that the forecast can even be considered to be optimistic.

“The background is an assumption that the younger age groups will reach the same education level as the current group of highly-trained 40 – 44 year olds,” he noted.

“However it’s known that among under-40 year-olds the number of under-educated persons is growing and the number of highly educated individuals is falling,” Kalenius observed.

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