There are about 5.5 million students in the region, about 50 per cent more than in 2000. According to UNESCO, that means there are 46 students per 1,000 inhabitants, six more on average than in the European Union. The people are much younger than in Western Europe. Compared to the EU where 82 per cent of the population is below the age of 65, that share is higher by 2 per cent and in countries like Slovakia, Belarus, Poland and Romania is between 85 and 87 per cent.
An OECD report shows that almost 13 per cent of 15 year olds from Central and Eastern Europe plan a career in computing and engineering. Polish teenagers ranked at the top of the list of 55 countries with 20 per cent, compared to the OECD average of 11 per cent, 9 per cent of German and 7 per cent of UK students picking engineering and computing as their future careers.