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Poland - Top-Performing Country in an Education

April 29, 2015

A well-educated and well-trained population is essential for a country’s social and economic well-being. Education plays a key role in providing individuals with the knowledge, skills and competences needed to participate effectively in society and in the economy. Having a good education greatly improves the likelihood of finding a job and earning enough money. Across OECD countries, 83% of people with university-level degrees have a job, compared with 55% for those with only a secondary school diploma. Lifetime earnings also increase with each level of education.

Following a decline in manual labour over previous decades, employers now favour a more educated labour force. High-school graduation rates therefore provide a good indication of whether a country is preparing its students to meet the minimum requirements of the job market. In Poland, 89% of adults aged 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, higher than the OECD average of 75%. Across the OECD, slightly more men aged 25-64 have the equivalent of a high-school degree compared with women from the same age group. In Poland, however, this is equally true of men and women. Among younger people – a better indicator of Poland’s future – 94% of 25-34 year-olds have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, higher than the OECD average of 82%.

Poles can expect to go through 18.3 years of education between the ages of 5 and 39, more than the OECD average of 17.7 years. This high level of education expectancy echoes Poland’s good performance in the educational attainment of its 25-34 year-old population.

But graduation rates, while important, speak little to the quality of education received. The OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) reviews the extent to which students have acquired some of the knowledge and skills that are essential for full participation in modern societies. In 2012, PISA focused on examining students’ reading ability, skills in maths and level in sciences, as research shows that these skills are more reliable predictors of economic and social well-being than the number of years spent in school.

Poland is a top-performing OECD country in reading literacy, maths and sciences with the average student scoring 521. This score is higher than the OECD average of 497, making Poland one of the strongest OECD countries in students’ skills. On average, girls outperformed boys by 14 points, more than the average OECD gap of 8 points.

The best-performing school systems manage to provide high-quality education to all students. In Poland, the average difference in results, between the students with the highest socio-economic background and the students with the lowest socio-economic background, is 99 points, slightly higher than the OECD average of 96 points. This suggests the school system in Poland does not provide equal access to high-quality education.

Source: www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org