Cyprus has the second-lowest number of pupils enrolled in vocational education at the upper secondary level in the European Union and the least percentage of females, Eurostat reported on the occasion of European Vocational Skills Week from October 14 until 18.
In thirteen EU member states, more than half of all upper secondary pupils studied vocational programmes in 2017. Czechia and Finland registered the highest proportion of pupils at upper secondary level enrolled in vocational education (both 72 per cent), ahead of Slovenia (71 per cent) and Croatia (70 per cent).
At the other end of the scale, shares of less than a third were recorded in Ireland (10 per cent), Cyprus (17 per cent), Hungary (23 per cent), Lithuania and Malta (both 27 per cent), and Greece (29 per cent).
The majority of pupils following vocational upper secondary programmes were male in every country, except the UK (52 per cent were women), Belgium and Sweden (both 51 per cent), and Finland (around 50 per cent).
Fewer than 40 per cent of pupils following vocational programmes at upper secondary level were female in Cyprus (23 per cent), Ireland (33 per cent), Greece (34 per cent), Lithuania (35 per cent), Germany (37 per cent), Italy (38 per cent), Hungary and Poland (both 39 per cent).
In 2017, 21.4 million pupils were studying at upper secondary level in the EU, out of which more than 10.2 million (or 48 per cent) were enrolled in vocational education.
According to the Eurostat report, students usually enter upper secondary school programmes between the ages of 14 and 16. These programmes are typically designed to complete secondary education in preparation for tertiary education or provide skills relevant to employment, or both.
In particular, vocational education programmes are designed to provide learners with the knowledge and the set of skills specific to a particular occupation or trade. Such programmes may have work-based components (e.g. apprenticeships, dual-system education programmes). Successful completion of such programmes leads to labour market-relevant, vocational qualifications acknowledged as occupationally oriented by the relevant national authorities and/or the labour market.