Cyprus has the fourth lowest employment rate of recent graduates in the EU, a report by the European Commission revealed on Thursday.
Its Education & Training Monitor 2018 found the highest employment rates of graduates are in Malta with 94.5 per cent, followed by Germany (90.9 per cent) and the Netherlands (90.4 per cent).
At the bottom of the scale is Greece, where the rate is just 52 per cent. Italy is not far behind with 55.2 per cent, followed by Croatia (65.9 per cent) and Cyprus with 71.5 per cent.
The overall employment rate of recent graduates in the EU rose from 76 per cent in 2014 to 82 per cent in 2017.
At 6 per cent of GDP in 2016, public spending on education in Cyprus remains well above the EU average of 4.7 per cent, but 15-year-olds have low scores in reading, maths and science. For all three subjects, underachievement is between 30 and 40 per cent, while the EU average is at around 20 per cent.
“Public spending on education remains high, but the low effectiveness and efficiency of the education system continue to be a major challenge,” the report said.
Tertiary attainment is very high overall, but overqualification remains an issue and graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are underrepresented.
“Tertiary educational attainment has risen by 2.4 pps since 2016 to reach 55.8 per cent – a record high. Cyprus is far above the EU average (39.9 per cent) and second only to Lithuania. At 40.5 per cent, foreign-born students are notably less likely to obtain tertiary degrees than native-born students (64.3 per cent).”
The report states the high number of social science graduates and comparatively few Stem graduates creates an imbalance. One third (33 per cent) of bachelor’s students graduate with a degree in business, administration and law. This is higher than any other field of study in Cyprus and the highest in the EU.
The majority of bachelor’s graduates continue to master’s level, thus contributing to a participation rate at that level of almost 35 per cent of all enrolled students.
However, at 2.4 per cent, the share of students obtaining a master’s in natural sciences, mathematics and statistics is the lowest in the European Union. At 1.5 per cent, ICT is also among the lowest in the EU.
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