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Classifying Education: ISCED Cheat-sheet

November 17, 2021

This article acts as a cheatsheet for International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED 2011) developed by UNESCO Institute for Statistics. The standard was developed initially by UNSECO in 1970s and revised in 1997. The standard helps benchmark, compare , and monitor performances of education systems across countries. The full document in available from the link - international-standard-classification-of-education-isced-2011-en.pdf ( Please refer the document for full classification and coding guidelines.

Scopes of Education

  • Formal Education
  • Non-formal Education
  • Informal Education
  • Incidental (or Random) Learning

Informal and Incidental Education are out of scope of ISCED.

Levels of Education

  • Early childhood education
  • Primary education
  • Lower secondary education
  • Upper secondary education
  • Post-secondary non-tertiary education
  • Short-cycle tertiary education
  • Bachelor's or equivalent level
  • Master's or equivalent level
  • Doctoral or equivalent level

Orientation Categories of Education

  • Early childhood education development
  • Pre-primary education
  • General/academic
  • Vocational/professional

Fields of Education (and Training)

  • General Programmes and qualification
    • Basic programmes and qualifications
      (Pre-primary, Elementary, Primary, secondary)
    • Literacy and numeracy
    • Personal skills and development
  • Education
    • Education
  • Humanities and arts
    • Arts
    • Humanities (except languages)
    • Languages
  • Social sciences, journalism and information
    • Social and behavioural science
    • Journalism and information
  • Business, administration and law
    • Business and administration
    • Law
  • Natural sciences, mathematics and statistics
    • Biological and related sciences
    • Enviroment
    • Physical sciences
    • Mathematics and statistics
  • Information and Communication Technologies
    • Information and Communication Technologies
  • Engineering, manufacturing and construction
    • Engineering and engineering trades
    • Manufacturing and processing
    • Architecture and construction
  • Agriculture, forestry, fisheries and veteriniary
    • Agriculture
    • Forestry
    • Fisheries
    • Veterinary
  • Health and welfare
    • Health
    • Welfare
  • Services
    • Personal services
      (Hotel and catering, travel and tourism, …)
    • Hygeince and occupational health services
    • Security services
    • Transport services

The fields have been updated in 2013. Groups and Fields of Education as per 2011 standard is available from


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