Educational profile

The Czech Republic invests much less public funding in education than most developed countries. Among OECD countries for which data are available, the Czech Republic ranks among the lowest in terms of the amount of public resources devoted to primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary institutions, with about 2.5% of GDP and 6.1 % of total public spending (Santiago, 2012). It performed slightly below average in the 2009 OECD PISA study in all three test areas - reading, mathematics and science, and trend analyses of results have shown a serious decline in student learning outcomes.

Figure 1.4. Youth unemployment rate in selected European countries, %, 2012

Source: Eurostat 2013a, Labour Force Survey, data/database.

However, the Czech Republic has one of the lowest dropout rates across the OECD. Only 6% of 25-34 years-old have not completed upper secondary education, compared to 19% across OECD countries (OECD, 2012b).

Furthermore, the participation rate in upper secondary education is one of the highest among OECD countries - in 2011, 90% of 15-19 year olds were in education. 92% of adults have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, notably higher than the OECD average of 74%. Among younger people, 94% of 25-34 year-olds have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, also higher than the OECD average of 82%. Men have a higher rate of educational attainment than woman - 94% of men have completed secondary level education compared to 88% of women. However, low numbers of students continue into tertiary education after completing secondary school by international comparisons, although increasing enrolment rates imply that the situation is gradually improving (Santiago, 2012). The proportion of adults aged 25-64 who had attained tertiary education was 17%, against an OECD average of 31%. This proportion was 23% for adults aged 25-34, against an OECD average of 38% (OECD, 2012d).

Some regions perform better than others in terms of educational attainment. Prague has the highest proportion of people with tertiary education (ISCED 5 and ISCED 6) and between 2002 and 2011, this increased significantly (from 28% to 38%). At the opposite end of the spectrum are Karlovy Vary and Ostl nad Labem regions, which have the highest proportion of people with primary education (ISCED 0-2). People with less than upper secondary level of education have a significantly higher unemployment rate than the OECD average (22.7% compared to 12.5% for 25-64 year olds) suggesting that being low skilled in the Czech Republic leaves people particularly vulnerable to joblessness. In contrast, those with tertiary education are much less likely to be out of work than the OECD average (2.5% compared to 4.7%), which would indicate that third level graduates are highly sought after (OECD,2012d).

Overview of policy context in education, employment and regional/economic development

Figure 1.5. Czech institutional arrangements in employment, VET and regional/economic development policy

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