Higher education popular in western countries

06/12/2004 10:00

In many western countries the demand for higher education increased substantially between 1995 and 2002. This is also true for the Netherlands. The number of students increased by 9 percent between 1997 and 2002. Adjusted for the population growth rate in the Netherlands, the number of students increased by 22 percent.

Many more students in higher education

In most western countries the number of student in higher education increased substantially. The increase in the Netherlands was 9 percent (starting in 1997), whereas it was 24 percent in the UK and even 37 percent in Ireland.

The number of students is largely determined by the number of people aged 18-24. In almost all countries this group of young adults was smaller in 2002 than in 1995. The decreasing numbers in this age group have a negative effect on the number of students. Corrected for the population growth rate the number of students in the Netherlands would have increased by 22 percent.

Developments in higher education, 1995-2002

Developments in higher education, 1995-2002

Denmark, Spain and the UK would also have had major increases in their number of students in higher education if the population had stayed the same. In Ireland the number of young adults increased strongly between 1995 and 2002. Therefore the number of students was lower after the figures were adjusted for population growth.

More highly educated people

In the USA, Belgium and Spain almost one in four people aged 25-34 had a diploma from higher education in 2002. France and Ireland also had high scores. The Netherlands ranged in the middle, with 28 percent of the 25 to 34 year- olds having completed some form of higher education.

People aged 25-34 who completed higher education, 2002

People aged 25-34 who completed higher education, 2002

In many countries a substantial number of young people completed two or three years of higher education. These are short vocational type colleges. In Belgium this was the case for 20 percent. In the Netherlands only 2 percent of the 25 to 34 year-olds had completed such types of vocational college. In terms of higher education of four years or more, the Netherlands belongs among the countries with the highest ratio of highly educated people.

Dick Takkenberg