Report Examines Education Globally, Finds CTE Worth the Investment

In this year’s annual Education at a Glance report, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) found that students participating in “vocational education” have much higher employment rates (8.5 percent) than their general education peers. Based on these and other findings, the OECD report concluded that “Investments in vocational education is money well spent in most countries.”

The report examines various aspects of education across the globe, including educational output and the impact of learning, investments in education, and the organization of schools.

A chapter of this year’s report delves into labor market outcomes between general education and “vocational or technical education” through a pilot study of several countries, not including the United States. Still, the findings made clear that Career Technical Education (CTE) is an often-used strategy for preparing students around the world for high-demand careers.

Findings from the report’s analysis section include:

  • Vocational education and training is chosen by an average of around 50 percent of students in upper secondary education
  • Pre-vocational and vocational graduation rates are over 70 percent in Austria, Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Switzerland
  • Across upper secondary vocational programs in the countries examined, over half of boys graduated from engineering, manufacturing and construction programs. One-third of girls studied social sciences, business, and law, followed closely by health industries and service occupations
  • About one-third of the adult population across these countries attained a vocational upper secondary education
  • Young, vocationally-educated individuals have substantially higher employment rates (8.5 percentage points) than their counterparts with a general education

Click here to view this year’s report. CTE-specific information begins on page 33.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

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