UK has more graduates but without skills and social mobility to match

Sep 9, 2014 by

Report by OECD notes UK’s ‘quantum leap’ in higher education access but highlights poor literacy and numeracy figures

The UK’s massive expansion in university education has not seen a parallel increase in skills, a major international study has discovered, with only a quarter of the country’s graduates reaching the highest levels in literacy and numeracy, well below other top-performing nations.

The annual education report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) notes the “quantum leap” the UK has made in higher education access – more people now possess a university or college qualification than leave school aged 18. However, it says, this has not been wholly matched by better skills, or by increased social mobility.

Andreas Schleicher, director of education and skills for the Paris-based club of industrialised nations, said it was notable that while the UK has a high proportion of people with university or college qualifications – for 2012 it ranked eighth among 36 countries listed – the skill level for graduates was only average.

The 566-page report, somewhat hopefully titled Education at a Glance, also highlighted the relatively low impact on social mobility brought by the UK’s revolution in higher education.

The study ranks countries by comparing the number of people with better educational attainment than their parents against those with lower qualifications.

This league table places England and Northern Ireland combined at a relatively lowly 15th out of 23 countries listed, though still above wealthy nations like Germany and Austria.

via UK has more graduates but without skills and social mobility to match | Education | theguardian.com.

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