Or at least, so we are told and asked over at LC.
maybe so, but Finland, with a GDP below ours, manages to send 80% of its young people to university on 100% grants.
So why can\’t we do this?
Largely because the 80% number in Finland is entirely bollocks.
Here\’s the OECD numbers for tertiary education in Finland.
Looking at the 25-34 age cohort ( we don\’t want to look at older ages because there\’s been an expansion of tertiary education everywhere over the past generation or two) Finland graduates some 23% through the university system. That\’s a little above the 20% of the OECD average.
However, Finland also graduates another 17% through the polytechnic system (as against 9% for the OECD average). These poly degrees are considered to be rather lower in value than a uni degree (to some extent like the distinction in the US between an Associate or two year degree and a Bachelor\’s or four year one. Not quite, but the holder of a poly degree would usually be asked to do another year of classes before being accepted into a uni Master\’s degree course).
And lumped in with the poly degrees are also all of the vocational and trade schools: graduating from the police college for example. Plus chippies, plumbers and brickies, I have no doubt. (We have a couple of Finnish readers here and I\’d welcome clarification on that point).
So, including all tertiary education, vocational, poly and academic uni, Finland graduates some 40% of the age cohort. Less than the UK does for university alone.
So where does the 80% number come from?
That\’s actually the graduation rate of those who have actually started at one of the tertiary institutions: it ain\’t the proportion of the population that gets degrees, it\’s the proportion of those who start degrees who go on to get degrees.
So, your Friday nugget of information: those who try to tell you that 80% of Finns go to uni are talking bollocks: if not actually innumerate.