The Basque government has invested heavily in education. If the Basque region were ranked as a country, only Denmark and Austria would have higher levels of per-pupil spending in Europe.
The Basque government's education minister Cristina Uriarte says the commitment to education is strongly linked to national identity. The government has used its devolved powers to build an education system to protect its language and build economic self-sufficiency. Almost 48% of the working-age population has a degree-level qualification, similar to the levels in Finland and Norway.
Guillermo Dorronsoro, Dean of the Business School at Deusto University, says the Basque country has some of the key factors that help to drive a successful education system as a strong sense of identity, which helps to create a common sense of purpose and collective commitment, from schools, families and policymakers.
In terms of the percentage of the population engaged in research and development, it is up at the top with Finland and Denmark. The Basque government has outspent most of Europe on school budgets and poured money into research and development to develop hi-tech industries avoiding the levels of youth unemployment afflicting much of Spain.