Past trends and gender differences of higher education in the former Soviet & Eastern European countries

Emma Terama, University of Amsterdam and Finnish Environment Institute
Anu Kõu, University of Groningen
Samir KC, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

In this study the past trends in tertiary education of selected Eastern European and former Communist countries, including many from the former Soviet Union, are investigated through population projections. The approach is based on comprehensive back-projection population studies ranging from year 2000 to 1970. National proportions of population with tertiary education are obtained and differentiated by gender and age. Results show a historical trend of fluctuating higher education levels. However, investigation by gender and age groups gives a more detailed view. The level of education, and its change in the past has interesting gender developments. In most of the countries, the level of tertiary education attainment of women has surpassed that of men. The trends are made explicit as countries are grouped according to similar trends along gender lines in past education attainment. One country above all, namely Estonia, shows a distinctively different pattern compared with the rest. We discuss the results in light of the former communist era and consequent policies, and derive possible implications for the future of higher education in these countries.

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Presented in Session 103: Gender in the European policy context