All children receive compulsory basic education between the ages of 7 and 16.
Education beyond the age of 16 is voluntary, taking the form of either a three to four-year course in upper secondary school or 2 to 5 years at a vocational school.
There are 20 universities or institutes of higher education, with a total student population of around 271 200, of whom 53% are women. Nearly 60% of the population have completed post-primary education and 13% have a university degree or equivalent qualification.
In recent years there has been national focus on research and product development, with special emphasis on information technology.
R&D expenditure in relation to GNP has risen continuously and reached 2.9 % of GNP in 1999.