Cover of higher education & research in France, facts and figures

📄 Sources:Insee
OECD, Education at a Glance 2015
OECD, Education at a Glance 2016
Eurostat.

 Coverage:Metropolitan France.

table 20.03 and, for France, chart 20.01 and chart 20.02 are based on the Insee employment surveys.

The relative position of France per level of higher education qualifications of people aged 25-34 is compared with that of thirty other OECD countries; there is very little data for Japan, Korea and Mexico.

chart 20.02 gives the proportions of higher education graduates aged 25 to 34 based on levels in the new international education classification, which reflect the new higher education organisation in Bachelor degree, Master and PhD cycles and a shorter cycle (Cite-2011).

table 20.03 relates to 'initial education leavers', the end of initial education corresponding to the first interruption of studies of over a year. The data on 'leavers in year n' is collected the following year (survey 'n + 1'), which means that the qualifications have been acquired in initial education and not by resuming studies. They are grouped into three years of initial education leavers (and therefore three years of surveys) in order to obtain samples of sufficient size. It is calculated on the basis of the Insee population estimates and the age structure of leavers from the Workforce survey.

Each year, the percentage of an age group that obtains a higher education qualification is calculated using statistics on qualifications for the year's session and the population data for that year. This LOLF indicator is obtained by calculating, for each age, the ratio of the number of people of that age who hold higher education qualifications to the population of that age, and then calculating the sum of these percentages for each age.

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20 level of education among the general population and among young people

In France, young people are more likely to have higher education qualifications than older people, and also more likely than young people living in other OECD countries. In the early 2010s, 44% of young people leaving initial education were awarded higher education qualifications.

Several indicators can be used to measure the proportion of young people who have been awarded a higher education qualification, compare it with the total population and with other countries and analyse recent developments. The proportion of graduates measured in age groups can be used for historical analyses and international comparison. The proportion of graduates measured in a cohort of leavers and the proportion of new graduates per age group are used to report on recent changes.

The proportion of higher education graduates among the fully-active French population (aged 25 to 64) equalled the average proportion in OECD countries in 2014 (chart 20.01). Secondary and higher education were less developed in France than in Europe or North America, at the time when the generation that is now 60 was at school. Thanks to the extension of education and significant expansion in student numbers in the 1990s, young people aged 25 to 34 have more higher education qualifications in France than the OECD average: 45% compared with 41%. However, France is one of the OECD countries with, for these generations, proportionally fewer graduates with a Bachelor degree, an old Master’s or an equivalent qualification (24th out of 31 countries in 2014). It is much more likely to have graduates of short vocational and paramedical courses (third) and, also, holders of Master’s, engineering or business degrees and healthcare and research PhD (eleventh) (chart 20.02).

The proportion of 39% of young adults between the ages of 30-34 with a higher education qualification in 2015 means that the European Union is on track to achieve the Lisbon objective, combined with the emergence of a society of knowledge, set at 40% for 2020. France has already gone beyond this level (45%).

A second indicator helps to understand at national level the qualifications obtained by young people recently leaving initial education. It measures the proportion, among leavers, of young people with higher education qualifications. This proportion reached 44% for young people who left between 2012 and 2014: 30% of young people had taken long-cycle qualifications while 14% of young people had taken short-cycle vocational qualifications (table 20.03). With the development of the new ‘Bachelor Degree, Master and PhD’ cycle, the most recent leavers have tended more to pursue their studies at Master’s level (M). The proportion of higher education graduates leaving showed a slight increase over the 2012-2014 period compared with 2009-2011 (44% after 42%).

12% of initial education leavers are baccalauréat holders who have pursued higher studies without obtaining a qualification (table 20.03). In addition, 42% of young people leaving the education system have at the most one second-cycle secondary education qualification and 14% a school leaving certificate or no qualifications.

Finally, a third indicator aims to take account of national changes in accessing a higher education qualification. It aggregates the proportions of young people of each age who obtain, in the same year, an initial higher education qualification. This is the indicator used for the LOLF (French Organic Law on Finance Laws), with a target of 50%. It was 48.5% in 2014. Showing slight growth and a moderately higher score than previous indicators, this last indicator would seem to demonstrate a recent rise in the access rate to higher education qualifications.

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How to cite this paper :

POULET-COULIBANDO Pascale, TESTAS Anna. Level of education among the general population and among young people. In: Higher education & research in France, facts and figures - 49 indicators [online]. KABLA-LANGLOIS Isabelle (dir.). Paris: Ministère de l'Éducation nationale, de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche, 2017. 10th ed. Chapter 20 [Accessed 11/20/2019]. ISBN 978-2-11-152033-2. https://publication.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/eesr/10EN/EESR10EN_ES_20-level_of_education_among_the_general_population_and_among_young_people.php

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table 20.03 and, for France, chart 20.01 and chart 20.02 are based on the Insee employment surveys.

The relative position of France per level of higher education qualifications of people aged 25-34 is compared with that of thirty other OECD countries; there is very little data for Japan, Korea and Mexico.

chart 20.02 gives the proportions of higher education graduates aged 25 to 34 based on levels in the new international education classification, which reflect the new higher education organisation in Bachelor degree, Master and PhD cycles and a shorter cycle (Cite-2011).

table 20.03 relates to 'initial education leavers', the end of initial education corresponding to the first interruption of studies of over a year. The data on 'leavers in year n' is collected the following year (survey 'n + 1'), which means that the qualifications have been acquired in initial education and not by resuming studies. They are grouped into three years of initial education leavers (and therefore three years of surveys) in order to obtain samples of sufficient size. It is calculated on the basis of the Insee population estimates and the age structure of leavers from the Workforce survey.

Each year, the percentage of an age group that obtains a higher education qualification is calculated using statistics on qualifications for the year's session and the population data for that year. This LOLF indicator is obtained by calculating, for each age, the ratio of the number of people of that age who hold higher education qualifications to the population of that age, and then calculating the sum of these percentages for each age.

 

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Share of young people aged 25 to 34 with a higher education diploma
44.7%
 
2015
Metropolitan France
 
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20.01 Proportion of the population with higher education qualifications in 2015 (%)

IT
 
DE
OECD
ES
FI
GB
 
Korea
 
HU
FR
NL
SE
AU
US
 
  
25-64
25-34
 
 

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20.02 Proportion of 25-34 years old who have attained tertiary education by type of programme (ISCED 2011) in 2015 (%)

IT
 
DE
HU
US
AU
GB
 
 
FR
ES
OECD
SE
FI
 
NL
  
Short cycle tertiary (50)
Bachelor's or equivalent (60)
Master's or equivalent (70)
PhD (80)
 
 
📄 Source:Insee

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20.03 Breakdown of initial education leavers according to their highest level qualification (in thousands, in %)

 
2009-2010-2011 2012-2013-2014
(%) (%)
Total PhDs 1 2 2
Doctor of medicine 1 1
Diploma of advanced studies (DEA), Master's degree by research, Postgraduate vocational qualification (Magistère) 2 2
Engineering diploma 3 2
Other qualifications awarded by Grandes Écoles 3 5
Specialised graduate diploma (DESS), Vocational Master's degree 8 9
All Master's degrees 16 18
1-year intermediate postgraduate qualification (Maîtrise) 2 2
Bachelor's degree 8 8
Total Bachelor's degree (Licence) 10 10
Diploma of general university studies (DEUG) 0 0
All long courses 28 30
Paramedical and social care qualifications (e.g. nursing) 3 1
University technology diploma (DUT), University and technical studies diploma (DEUST) 1 2
Higher technical certificate (BTS) and equivalent qualifications 10 11
All vocational short courses 14 14
All higher education 42 44
Baccalaureat or equivalent qualifications 28 29
of which students who went on to higher education 11 12
Professional aptitude certificate (CAP), Certificate of vocational education (BEP) or equivalent qualification 14 13
All students with upper secondary qualifications (second cycle) 42 42
National lower secondary education diploma (DNB) (DNB) 7 7
No qualifications 9 7
All DNB and below 16 14
All students leaving education 100 100
 

1 PhDs are research-based and culminate in a thesis.
On average, 44% of those leaving initial education in 2010, 2011 and 2012 graduated with higher education qualifications, compared to an average of 41% in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Scope: household population in metropilitan France, young people leaving initial education the year preceding the survey.

📄 Source:Insee
 Coverage: Metropolitan France.

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Other editions

Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheHigher education & research in France, facts and figures 9th edition - November 2016
21 - level of education among the general population and among young people - Béatrice Le Rhun & Pascale Poulet-Coulibando
In France, young people are more likely to have higher education qualifications than older people, and also more likely than young people living in other OECD countries. In the early 2010s, 44% of young people leaving initial education were awarded higher education qualifications [Consult the following page]
Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheHigher education & research in France, facts and figures 8th edition - November 2015
19 - level of education among the general population and among young people - Béatrice Le Rhun
In France, young people are more likely to hold a higher education qualification than older people and than young people living in other OECD countries. In the early 2010s, 43% of young people leaving initial education held a higher education qualification [Consult the following page]

Translation

 Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheL'état de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche en France n°10 - Avril 2017
20 - le niveau d'études de la population et des jeunes - Pascale Poulet-Coulibando & Anna Testas
En France, les jeunes sont plus souvent diplômés de l'enseignement supérieur que les personnes plus âgées et plus souvent aussi que les jeunes vivant dans les autres pays de l'OCDE. En moyenne entre 2012 et 2014, 44 % des jeunes sortants de formation initiale sont diplômés de l'enseignement supérieur [Consult the following page in french]


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