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Canada leads the world in highly-educated adults

Categories: Canada, World

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UBC students wait to receive their hard-earned diplomas. The latest OECD report on education points out a Canadian paradox: we may have the highest proportion of highly-educated grads, but many of the are earning below the nation's median income. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

A new report shows Canada has the highest proportion of highly-educated adults among all OECD countries, as 51 per cent of the population has earned a post-secondary degree.

The study was conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development with data largely compiled between 2008 and 2010.

Canada also broke its own record in the category of tertiary education. When the study was last conducted in 2000, 40 per cent of the country had a post-secondary degree from a college, university or other institution of higher learning, like polytechnics.

The country's 51 per cent score was 20 per cent above the OECD average, and 5 per cent higher than the next-highest country, Israel. Japan, the U.S. and New Zealand rounded out the top five.

Interestingly, Canada's education spending was below average (6.1 per cent of GDP compared to the average 6.3 per cent among other OECD countries). The country also attracted fewer international students than average.

In many other areas, however, Canada did relatively well. In 2010, 88 per cent of Canadians between 25 and 64 had passed high school at least. Also, the proportion of the population that did not obtain a high school education dropped by 5 per cent or more over the examined years.

But Canada isn't the only country that stands out. Brazilian grads earn more than their less-educated fellow citizens compared to grads in other countries. The advantage of having a college diploma in that South American nation is about three times higher than is average across OECD countries.

The researchers stressed the importance of higher education in the introduction to the report.

"At the most basic level, it's clear that having more education helped people to keep or change their jobs during the recession," they wrote, adding that unemployment rates jumped much higher for those without higher education between 2008 and 2010.

"For all OECD countries together, the unemployment rate in 2010 was roughly one-third less for men with higher education than for men with upper secondary education; for women with higher education, it was two-fifths less."

What is the highest level of education that you have achieved? If you graduated from a post-secondary institution, do you feel it was a worthy investment? Why or why not?

Would you consider upgrading your education?




(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' replies.)

Tags: Canada, Education, World

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