ISCED 2011 Operational Manual
Guidelines for Classifying National Education Programmes and Related Qualifications
The structure of education systems varies widely between countries. In order to produce
internationally comparable education statistics and indicators, it is necessary to
have a framework to collect and report data on education programmes with a similar
level of educational content. UNESCO’s International Standard Classification of Education
(ISCED) is the reference classification for organising education programmes and related
qualifications by education levels and fields. The basic concepts and definitions
of ISCED are intended to be internationally valid and comprehensive of the full range
of education systems.
ISCED 2011 is the second major revision of this classification (initially developed
in the 1970s and first revised in 1997). It was adopted by the UNESCO General Conference
in November 2011. Prepared jointly by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), the
OECD and Eurostat, this operational manual provides guidelines and explanatory notes
for the interpretation of the revised classification, by each education level. It
also includes country examples of programmes and qualifications that have been classified
to ISCED 2011.
This manual will be useful for national statisticians collecting and reporting data
on education to international organisations, as well as for policymakers and researchers
interested in better understanding of these data.
Published on March 20, 2015Also available in: French