Skills beyond school

Education at a Glance 2008: OECD Indicators


Education at a Glance 2009: OECD Indicators is now available


Highlights | New material | Table of contents
Data | How to obtain this publication
News releases and press material | Videos
Multilingual summaries
Previous editions of Education at a Glance


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ISBN: 9789264046283
Publication: 9/9/2008


Education at a Glance 2008: OECD Indicators

Across OECD countries, governments are seeking policies to make education more effective while searching for additional resources to meet the increasing demand for education.

The 2008 edition of Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators enables countries to see themselves in the light of other countries’ performance. It provides a rich, comparable and up-to-date array of indicators on the performance of education systems and represents the consensus of professional thinking on how to measure the current state of education internationally.

The indicators look at who participates in education, what is spent on it and how education systems operate and at the results achieved. The latter includes indicators on a wide range of outcomes, from comparisons of students’ performance in key subject areas to the impact of education on earnings and on adults’ chances of employment.

The ExcelTM spreadsheets used to create the tables and charts are available via the StatLinks printed in Education at a Glance.


Meeting a rapidly rising demand for more and better education is creating intense pressures to raise spending on education and improve its efficiency. Recent years have already seen considerable increases in spending levels, both in absolute terms and as a share of public budgets: The total amount of public spending on educational institutions rose in all OECD countries over the last decade, on average by 19% between 2000 and 2005 alone, and in Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland and Korea by more than twice that amount. Another visible indication of the efforts governments are making can be seen in the fact that, over the last decade, the share of public budgets devoted to education grew by more than one percentage point – from 11.9% in 1995 to 13.2% in 2005 (Indicator B4, Table B4.1).

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New material

New material in this edition includes:

  • A picture of entry rates in tertiary education by field of study
  • Information on the skills of 15-year-olds in science
  • An analysis of the socio-economic background of 15-year-olds and the role of their parents
  • Data on the extent to which the socio-economic status of parents affects students' participation in higher education
  • Data on the returns to education
  • Information on the governance of higher education institutions
  • An analysis of efficiency in the use of resources
  • Data on the impact of evaluations and assessments within education systems
  • A comparison of the levels of decision-making in education across countries

Table of contents [click on each link to obtain the corresponding data]


Chapter A

Chapter B

Chapter C

Chapter D


How to obtain this publication


Readers can access the full version of Education at a Glance 2008 choosing from the following options:

News releases and press material

Briefing Notes

PowerPoint Presentation



Secretary Angel Gurría presents Education at a Glance In his remarks at the presentation of Education at a Glance 2008, Mr. Gurría stressed that to meet the growing demand for education in OECD countries, policymakers should not only focus on finding more resources, but on improving the overall management of tertiary education.



Rising student numbers pose university funding challenges
Andreas Schleicher, head of the OECD’s Education Indicators and Analysis Division, talks about this and other findings from the latest Education at a Glance 2008.


Multilingual summaries

 Previous editions of Education at a Glance