Romania has the lowest percentage of people with higher education in the EU

Romania has the lowest rate of people with a higher education in the European Union, data from the EU’s statistics office Eurostat indicate. On the other hand, one out of four Romanians is specialized in Law, Administration or Business – reported the news portal.

According to Eurostat data, in 2017, around 40 percent of the 30–34 year-old population of the EU had a tertiary level of education, meaning that they had graduated from universities, technology institutes or other types of institutions that issue academic diplomas, or high-level certificates of professional competence.

The highest percentage of the population with superior studies under their belt was recorded in Lithuania (58%), Cyprus (56%) and Ireland (55%), while the lowest numbers were registered in Croatia (29%), Italy (27%) and in last place, Romania with 26%.

On the other hand, the situation is not so bad in Romania itself on a per capita basis, when the numbers are not part of he EU total. In 2017, 121,250 people had finished tertiary-level studies in the country. As per diplomas obtained per capita, Romania was 8th place among EU countries, just behind the Netherlands, which had a total of 155,504 people with a tertiary education. Belgium, in 9th place per this regard, had 115,870 people with higher-level studies. The lead was taken by the United Kingdom (783,952), followed closely by France (780,630), while last place was taken by Luxembourg, with 1,748 people having university diplomas–although the size of a country’s population clearly affects these numbers.

According to Eurostat estimates, 4.8 million Europeans graduated from universities or similar institutions in 2017. More than one third of them (34%) studied Social Sciences, Journalism, IT, Business, Administration or Law. Other fields of interests for European citizens were Engineering, Processing and Construction (15%), Medicine and Pharmacy (14%), Arts and Humanities (11%), Natural History, Mathematics, Statistics, Information Technology and Communications (11%) and Education (9%).

For Social Sciences, Journalism, Business, Law and Administration, the percentage of graduates was smaller in Finland and Spain (26%), but much higher in Bulgaria (46%) and Luxembourg (46%). In the fields of Engineering, Processing and Construction, the lowest percentage of graduates (under 10%) was recorded in Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Malta, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Cyprus. The most people interested in these areas were in Germany (22%), Portugal (21%) and Austria (20%).

Medicine and Pharmacy were favored specializations mostly in Belgium (27%), Sweden (23%) and Finland and Denmark (21%). A lower percentage (under 8%) of medical and pharmaceutical university graduates was noted in Cyprus, Germany, Luxembourg and Austria.

Arts and Humanities proved to be of interest mostly to Italian (14%) and British (15%) students, while Natural Sciences, Math, IT and Communications were chosen specializations firstly in the UK (17%), followed by Ireland (15%), and then Germany and Estonia. The largest proportion of students who had obtained a degree in Education was recorded in Cyprus (23%), followed by Spain and Hungary (17%).

In Romania, the number of university graduates decreased from one year to another. Eurostat data shows that in 2015, their number was 133,478, which fell to 121,788 in 2016, and fell again to 121,250 in 2017. Most graduates in 2017, (almost 27.7% or 33,550 students) obtained a diploma in Business, Administration or Law. Engineering, Processing and Construction were chosen by 22,106 Romanians (18.2%). Furthermore, 14,067 people graduated from university in Medicine or Pharmacy (11.6%), while Arts and Humanities was chosen by 10,973, and Social Sciences and Journalism by 10,474 students (around 9%).

Only 6,750 people graduated in IT and Communications, 6,464 in Natural Sciences, and 6,016 in Education. At the bottom of the list of fields of interest were Agriculture, Forest Management and Veterinary Medicine, with only 5,340 graduates.

Title image: The percentage of university graduates has decreased in Romania year by year

Author: Éva Zay