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Education:
More than a third of the UK's population aged between 16 and 74 has no qualifications.

On the other end of the scale, the highest level of qualifications achieved by more than 18% of people is at least a first degree or equivalent.

SOME KEY FACTS
Rise in the number of degrees
Third of UK has no qualifications
Wide regional variations
State schools can be selective

Of the four nations, Northern Ireland has the greatest proportion of those without qualifications - 42%.

A third of the demographic group in Scotland are unqualified, while the figure for England and Wales is 29%.

Of those who do possess qualifications, the highest qualification obtained by the greatest proportion - 19.5% - is one O'level, GCSE or equivalent.

Just over 17% have five or more O'levels, GCSEs or equivalent, but the figure falls sharply for the number of people whose highest attainment is two A'levels or equivalent - just over 8%.

All local authorities show an increase in the percentage of adults achieving a degree level education.

Comparisons of achievement
% with the following qualifications
5+ GCSEs etc Degree or higher
England 19.36% 19.76%
Scotland 15.65% 19.47%
Wales 19.78% 17.39%
Northern Ireland 16.36% 15.8%

Source: Census 2001

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