Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

The Value of a University Degree in the European Context: The Case of Part-Time Students in the Czech Republic

Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

The Value of a University Degree in the European Context: The Case of Part-Time Students in the Czech Republic

Article excerpt


Higher education plays a key role in maintaining economic growth via common governmental policies in countries that encourage participation in tertiary education. Many countries allocate a considerable budgeted for education from public resources. Therefore, this topic is important not only for growth accounting, but also for the public and policy makers (Kubík, 2015). A national concept for EU countries can be found in the "Europe 2020" strategy, which indicates the future priorities in the European higher education system. This strategy sets a target of 40% of people aged 30-34 in the EU having a higher education qualification by 2020. At the same time, it provides a revised target to improve the performance of education and training systems at all levels and increase participation in tertiary education schemes in Europe (Europe 2020, 2010). Success depends not only on the number of university graduates, but mostly on graduates'competencies, including professional qualifications and skills (Matëjû, Vecerník, 2015).

Labour market data in almost all developed countries indicate that university graduates can find a job more easily compared with less educated people. Their occupations require higher qualifications and are more interesting and better paid (Koucky, 2009; Vomácková, Tislerová, 2012). This situation concerning tertiary education and mismatches is evidenced in a paper addressing European data provided by Eurostat, OECD, the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and also primary data about part-time students at the Faculty of Economics of the Technical University of Liberec.

In the theoretical framework presented in the first part of this paper a research goal of the paper aims to point out the importance of educated population in relation to an actual data about tertiary education in Europe. It emphasis positive as well as negative aspect of increasing number of university graduates in the population. In this first part of the paper presented secondary data from different international institution show a significant increase of those with tertiary education as well as increasing number of those who face some form of mismatch at the labour market.

The second, empirical part of the paper uses primary data collected at the Faculty of Economics, Technical University of Liberec to analyse real and expected earnings of part time university student. On this data a value of university degree is explored. The author compares expected and real earnings of these students to show effects of a university degree on their returns on education as well as educational mismatch.

1. Tertiary education in Europe

All of Europe envisages an increasing number of students enrolled in higher education. The same situation exists in the Czech Republic, where today 60% of all young people enter the higher education system; this matches the average of the EU. The number of students enrolled in tertiary education (both public and private universities) in the Czech Republic increased by more than 20% between 2003 and 2010 (Finardi, Mazouch, Fiser, 2013; OECD 2013). Nevertheless, on average, only 17% of the people in the Czech Republic earned a tertiary education degree, compared to the OECD countries in which the average is 31%. At the age of 25-34 years, the difference between universities graduates in the Czech Republic and the OECD average is 10% (28% in the Czech Republic compared to 38% in the OECD countries (Euractive, 2013; MSMT, 2015).

Table 1 introduces the total number of students entering tertiary education and those who graduate both in the entire EU 28 and in the Czech Republic, as well as the proportion of them according to their different fields of study. It can be clearly seen that social sciences, business and law are the most common areas in which university students decide to study both in the EU and the Czech Republic. Therefore students of business studies were also selected for the empirical part of this paper. …

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