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03In the past 20 years, Italy’s education levels have grown slower than the OECD average

Presenting Italy’s data from the OECD’s Education at a Glance 2022

Education at a Glance

Rome, Save the Children, 3 October 2022

Between 2000 and 2021, education levels in Italy have grown slower than the average of OECD countries. Indeed, the share of people between 25 and 34 years of age who have a university degree increased by 18 percentage points (from 10% in 2000 to 28% in 2021), compared to an average of 21 points. Italy thus remains one of the 12 OECD member countries where university degrees are not the most common education qualification for this age bracket.

This delay has long been known, but this makes it no less worrying. Especially in light of the fact that, in all OECD countries, having a tertiary education qualification guarantees better employment and remuneration. However, the fact is the economic benefit in Italy is lower than elsewhere: in OECD countries, on average, a graduate in their working life (from 25 to 64 years of age) earns twice as much as peers who do not have an upper secondary education qualification; in Italy this advantage is less conspicuous: 76% more.

Within the abundance of data regarding the education systems in Italy and in many other countries that can be found in the OECD’s Education at a Glance 2022 Report, these are the first observations the international organisation wished to highlight.

The new Report and the main data on Italy were presented to the press today, during an event organised jointly by the OECD, Fondazione Agnelli and Save the Children, at the same time as the international presentation of Education at a Glance 2022, with the participation of Italy’s Minister of Education Patrizio Bianchi, who gave the closing speech.

The presentation was held in Rome at the Save the Children headquarters. After a welcome by Daniela Fatarella (director general of Save the Children Italia), the report and the fact sheet on Italy were introduced by Giovanni Semeraro (OECD researcher), followed by comments by Raffaela Milano (director of Save the Children’s Italy-Europe Programmes), Andrea Gavosto (director of Fondazione Agnelli) and Daniela Vuri (pro-rector of research at the University of Rome “Tor Vergata”).

The new Report confirms once more that everywhere, even in Italy, studying is worthwhile. First of all, to get a better job and wage. But also because higher education levels are – as we know – correlated to better health, greater participation in civic life and the ability to understand others. For all these reasons, we must increase the number of our graduates, which is still among the lowest in OECD countries today. But acting on education levels is not enough: beyond the qualification, it is actual learning that counts. Therefore, it is essential to increase the learning and skill levels of our students, which are unsatisfactory especially in secondary schools and have worsened during the pandemic, despite the fact that our public spending – for nursery, primary and secondary schools – is in line with, if not higher than, the European and OECD averages,” stated Andrea Gavosto, director of Fondazione Agnelli.

Download the materials related to Italy below. At this link the general report of the OECD