Expenditure on education and training allows to evaluate policies implemented for the growth and optimization of human capital. In Italy, public final consumption expenditure on education in 2016 amounted to 3.4% of Gdp; slightly lower than the previous year.
The education level of the population aged 25-64 makes a good proxy for the knowledge and skills of the population. Over the last years, the education level of the adult population continued to improve; in the 2004-2017 period the share of people aged 25-64 who had achieved lower secondary education as their highest qualification decresed by over 12 percentage points, and continued to decrease in 2018. In 2016 the share of young people aged 15-24 involved in higher education courses, showed a slight increase over 2015, although their share decreased. Updating of knowledge and lifelong learning are considered important to be integrated into the labour market; in 2018, it involved 8.1% of people aged 25-64, a slightly higher share than in 2017.
Europe Strategy 2020 set some objectives for the population education levels, which our country has already partially reached.
The percentage of early school leavers in Italy in 2018, albeit slightly upwards due to the contribution of the female component, grew to 14.5%, thus surpassing the national target of 16% set for 2020. In the same year, the percentage of people aged 30-34 who achieved a tertiary qualification rose to 27.8, thanks to the contribution only of the male component.
Finally, young people aged 15-29 who are not in education, employment or training were 2,064 million (23.4% of the relative population), down for the fourth consecutive year, with a higher incidence among women than men.