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Children of parents with ‘low’ education unlikely to progress into university

Maltese parents who completed secondary education were unlikely to have children progressing academically and take up university education.

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella
11 December 2013, 12:00am


Malta has a new, unfortunate 'record' to overcome. It is the EU member state where a persistence of a low level of education is passed on from one generation to the other.

New statistics from the EU's statistical arm Eurostat has collected data on the trend of improved educational attainment across generations.

In the EU28 in 2011, adults aged 25-59 were asked about the level of education of their parents, and this was then compared with the respondent's level of education. Among respondents whose parents had a low level of education, 34% had a low level of education themselves, 48% had a medium level and 18% a high. Among respondents whose parents had a medium level of education, 8% had a low level of education, 59% a medium and 33% a high. For respondents with parents with a high level of education, only 3% had a low level of education themselves, 33% had a medium level and 63% a high.

A low level of education was at most, the completion of secondary education; medium was defined as having completed upper secondary or A-level education; while a high level of education was considered to be tertiary or university education. Respondents were asked what the highest level of education attained by either the father or the mother was when they were aged 14.

Despite university education being free of charge for Maltese nationals, who actually receive a stipend for studying for a degree, a persistence of a low level of education was observed among half or more of the respondents only in Malta (73%), Portugal (68%), Luxembourg (52%), Spain and Italy (both 50%). The smallest proportions of low level of education were registered in Lithuania (10%), the Czech Republic and Sweden (both 11%).

In 2011, for those with parents with a low level of education, there was a significant movement to a medium level of education in a majority of Member States, with the highest shares in the Czech Republic (83%), Slovakia (78%) and Poland (75%). In Finland and the United Kingdom around a third of respondents had even moved to a high level of education.

It should however be noted that the share of respondents with a low level of education was much higher among those whose parents had a low level of education (34%) than among those whose parents had a high level of education (3%). Also in line with the trend, there is strong persistence of a high level of education between generations.

For adults with parents with a high level of education, there was a strong persistence of educational attainment between generations in almost all Member States. More than three quarters of respondents had a high level of education themselves in Romania (82%), Ireland and Luxembourg (both 79%), Cyprus (78%), Belgium (76%) and Spain (75%). Fewer than 10% had a low level in nearly all Member States.

In 2011, for adults with parents with a medium level of education, there was a significant persistence of this level of education in a large majority of Member States, with the highest proportions in the Czech Republic and Slovakia (both 72%), Croatia (71%) and Austria (70%). However, there was a clear movement to a high level of education in France (56%), Cyprus (53%), Ireland and Spain (both 52%) and Greece (51%).


matthew_vella
Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.
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justin spiteri
A sad statistic for Malta. Obviously, you cannot blame the parents (no reason to think lower educated parents in other countries are better at encouraging their offspring to educate themselves) so it must be that the schools and teachers in other countries are better at convincing and supporting children to continue in the educational system despite their background. Food for thought. Hopefully the recent reduction in streaming will help.
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emanuel spiteri
Which part of unlikely don't you get?
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ray zammit
Wrong. We did not have much of an education but my eldest is a lawyer!!!!