The indicator is defined as the share of persons aged 25-64 with tertiary educational attainment on the overall population aged 25-64.
Education is one of the key policy fields in Europe. Tertiary educational attainment in the age group 30- 34 years is one of the headline indicators of the EU2020 Strategy “Smart Growth” with the objective of at least 40% of people with tertiary education by 2020. This indicator measures the highly-qualified labor force as basis for current and future R&D activities in Europe, and as basis for high-qualified jobs.
In 2011 in Europe there is a strong divide in tertiary education share between more developed north and less developed southern countries. According to this indicator, the south includes the Balkan countries (except Slovenia), Turkey, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy and Portugal where the indicator is generally below 20%. In the north, it is generally at least 20%. In the background of BSR as a whole, only the Polish and Schleswig-Holstein regions have shares lower than 25%.
The share of population with tertiary education has increased all over the ESPON area from 2005 to 2011, typically 3% or more. Lithuania, Latvia and Poland are among the best performers. Decreases of the indicator or its increases smaller than 3% are rather exceptional. BSR as a whole has performed well. Low increases can be met only in a few regions of East Germany and Denmark.