How different we are
In tertiary education, there are two basic distinctions in terms of gender inequality: horizontal and vertical separation. Most countries (Slovenia included) are worried about the horizontal separation – women and men actually choose different fields of study. In the academic year 2014/15, 32% of all male students and 8% of all female students studied "Engineering, Manufacturing and Construction". In the field of "Science, Mathematics and Computing” the situation was similar: 15% of all male and 8% of all female students. Policies related to gender equality in higher education strive to prevent horizontal separation. Most of the projects to encourage enrolment in a given field are therefore aimed at women. On the other hand, in the academic year 2014/15 in the field of “Educational Sciences and Teacher Education” the enrolment of women was 14% and of men 2% and in the field of “Health and Welfare” 13% of women and 6% of men. The most equal fields were “Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Veterinary” with 4% and “Services” with 10% for both genders.
Vertical separation is also becoming a common concern as there are fewer men in tertiary education. Based on 2014/15 data, 90% of all tertiary students were 19–29 years old. The probability of enrolment of women of this age in tertiary education was higher, as there were 34% of them compared to 24% of men. In other words: for 100 men in tertiary education there were 143 women, which is 58% out of 83,699 students.
The share of young people in tertiary education is decreasing
In the academic year 2014/15, 48% of young people in Slovenia aged 19–24 years were enrolled in tertiary education, but their number decreased by 12,496 in the last five years. Although the generations are smaller, the share of young people in tertiary education is decreasing faster; in the last five years by 1.33 percentage points. Women have a stronger influence on the decrease; in the same period the share of young men stayed on the same level (40%), while the share of women decreased by 6.6 percentage points (from 63% to 56%).
Chart 1: Young people (19-24 years old) enrolled in tertiary education, Slovenia
Young people enrolled in tertiary education in the EU-28
Despite the fall in the share of such young people, according to Eurostat in 2012/13 there were 60,844 students in Slovenia (because of the differences between education systems, young people from 20 to 24 years are taken into account). According to the number of students in the population of the same age Slovenia has the highest share of such population (48%), which is 15.12 percentage points above the EU-28 average.
Raising the level of education will have to continue
Education is important both for the present and for the future. The level to which adults study is often used as a measure of human capital or skills available in the labour force. The number of tertiary educated population is rising, but in many countries their share is still far below the OECD average. Based on 2011 data, Slovenia has achieved an above-average growth of tertiary educated population. The difference between the generations of 25-34-year-olds and 55-64-year-olds with tertiary degree in Slovenia was 18.22 percentage points; in OECD countries it was 15.01 p.p. However the overall level of both younger and older populations remained under the OECD average level.
In order to keep pace with the growing demand for highly skilled labour, with constant technological advances and intense global competition, the level of education should continue to grow. In the 2010 European Development Strategy the EU has set a goal to raise the level of tertiary educated population of 30-34-year-olds to 40% by 2020. From 2010 on the share of tertiary educated people has been constantly growing: from 34% to 38% in 2014. Slovenia exceeded the goal in 2014 (by 1 percentage point).
Leaving home for the first time
For many people, tertiary education means moving from home for the first time. 60% of all tertiary education students in 2014/15 studied in another region, which was not the region of residence; among short cycle tertiary students the share was 35%. Tertiary students were concentrated in two regions: in the Osrednjeslovenska region 60% of all and in the Podravska region 21%. In the Osrednjeslovenska region 86% of students lived in this region; in the Podravska region the share was 76%. The exchange between those two regions is not equal: in the Osrednjeslovenska region in the academic year 2014/15 21% of students were from the Podravska region, whereas only 3% of students from the Osrednjeslovenska region studied in the Podravska region. Podravska is the more probable region of study for students from Pomurska (52%) and Koroška (44%); for all other regions, the Osrednjeslovenska region is more important. From the Obalno-kraška region, the third largest by the number of Slovenian students, 47% of students went to study in the Osrednjeslovenska region (compared to 43% who stayed home).
Today tertiary education students cross the national borders. The growth in the number of internationally mobile students reflects the rising level of education throughout the world. According to UNESCO, in 2012 there were more than 4.5 million students enrolled in tertiary education outside their country, of which five countries hosted nearly half of all mobile students: the US (18%), the UK (11%), France (7%), Australia (6%) and Germany (5%). Slovenia is popular particularly for students from the former Yugoslavia and other neighbouring countries, hosting 2,563 foreign students. On the other hand, 2,695 Slovenian students studied abroad, mostly in Austria, the UK, Germany, Italy and the US.
It’s about the students
Expenditure on education has an impact on the access to education, which may influence economic growth, increase productivity and reduce social inequality. According to OECD data, expenditure per student by tertiary education institutions in Slovenia increased from 2008 to 2011 by 9% up to USD 8,248 for educational core service taking into account purchasing power parity, which ranked Slovenia alongside countries such as Spain and Korea, although lagging behind the average of OECD countries with USD 9,262. For educational core services in 2011 Slovenia spent 1.05% of GDP, which is 0.14 of a percent point more than Spain, but half of what Korea dedicated from its GDP. Among OECD countries only Chile, Korea and the United States spend more than 2% of GDP for educational core services in tertiary education institutions.