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New data comparing literacy rates in general and vocational education

Literacy skills of adults aged 25-64 with general education tend to be higher than for those with vocational qualifications across all European countries covered by the OECD’s Survey of Adult Skills.

Similar results can be observed for numeracy skills.This is not surprising. Literacy and numeracy are given more emphasis in general education and the survey does not measure vocation-specific skills.

However, the gap within different European counties varies considerably; for literacy skills it is relatively narrow in countries such as Estonia, Ireland and Sweden, but much wider in some European countries that separate vocational and general learning tracks at upper secondary level (such as Finland, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands).

The latest findings from the OECD survey signal the importance of fostering information-processing skills, like literacy and numeracy, to increase the adaptability of VET graduates in the labour market.

The latest data can be found in to the OECD’s Education at a Glance 2014 to which Cedefop has contributed for the first time, at 

Indicator A1.8 - Skill proficiency by programme orientation

Indicator A5.8 - Skill proficiency by labour market status and programme orientation