The share of persons aged 30 to 34 in the European Union who have completed tertiary education has been constantly growing and the number of those aged 18-24 who leave school or training early has been decreasing, with Croatia reporting the fewest early school leavers, shows a report the EU's statistical office Eurostat released this past week.

The share of persons aged 30 to 34 in the EU who have completed tertiary education increased constantly, from 23.6% in 2002 to 38.7% in 2015. This pattern was even more significant for women (from 24.5% in 2002 to 43.4% in 2015, meaning above the overall Europe 2020 target) than for men (from 22.6% to 34.0%, meaning still below the overall Europe 2020 target), Eurostat says.

The Europe 2020 strategy’s target is that at least 40% of 30-34-year-olds in the EU should have completed tertiary education by 2020, says the EU's statistical office.

The number of persons with tertiary education grew in all EU member states between 2002 and 2015.

In 2015, at least half the population aged 30 to 34 had completed tertiary education in Lithuania (57.6%),
followed by Cyprus (54.6%), Ireland and Luxembourg (both 52.3%) as well as Sweden (50.2%).

At the opposite end of the scale, the lowest proportions were observed in Italy (25.3%), Romania (25.6%), Malta (27.8%) and Slovakia (28.4%).

The share of women with tertiary education aged 30-34 was much higher than the share of men in all member-states except Germany.

In 2015, the lowest proportion of early school leavers was observed in Croatia (2.8%), however, the data is not entirely reliable due to sample size, followed by Slovenia (5.0%), Cyprus and Poland (both 5.3%) and Lithuania (5.5%).

The highest shares of early school leavers were recorded in Spain (20.0%), Malta (19.8%) and Romania (19.1%).

The number of early school leavers (aged 18-24) has been falling constantly, from 17% in 2002 to 11% in 2015. The Europe 2020 target is to reduce that share to below 10% by 2020 and it has already been achieved by 13 member-states.

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