Higher education: Quality, equity and efficiency

OECD Education Ministers’ Meeting, 27-28 June 2006, Athens

Marietta Giannakou with Angel Gurría - Photo © OECD

Higher education cannot escape major and sometimes difficult change, and OECD governments were determined to lead those changes, rather than be driven by them. This was how Marietta Giannakou, minister of national education and religious affairs of Greece, wrapped up her conclusions as chair of the 2006 Education Ministers’ Meeting.

Reforms are needed in six areas, the minister pointed out. First, funding: some European countries in particular need to invest more in higher education, and new sources of funding may be needed. While some countries opposed fees for students, others now accept the OECD view that they can be effective if balanced by measures to support students from poorer backgrounds. This backs the second reform on the list towards more equitable education, and wider access to higher education to benefit all social groups.

A clearer focus on what students learn is the aim of the third reform. “We need to develop better evidence of learning outcomes”, the chair’s conclusions state, and note the OECD secretary-general’s offer to assist in developing new measures. Also, institutions should promote responsiveness and diversity, while incentives to make institutions more accountable for quality and outcomes should be improved.

Research and innovation is the fifth area, with ministers recognising both its capacity to drive growth and the twin challenges facing higher education systems of supporting world-class research and delivering benefits both locally and nationally.

Finally, migration and internationalisation affect education, as students, teachers and researchers increasingly study and work abroad. Countries need to look at immigration policies, as well as higher education policy itself, to develop coherent responses.

For the full Chair’s conclusions, see www.oecd.org/edumin2006.

New mindsets

Improving quality, governance, equity and funding in higher education were the main issues discussed at the 2006 education ministerial meeting in Athens. A challenge, as Angel Gurría suggests in his opening remarks to this, his first ministerial meeting as secretary-general of the OECD, is to “shift our focus from making systems of higher education bigger to making them better”. The presence at the two-day meeting of non-OECD countries Chile, Estonia, Israel, Russia, Slovenia and South Africa underlined the global dimension of education. Mr Gurría’s full remarks can be read at www.oecd.org/edumin2006.

Also available on the website are position papers on higher education by business and labour representatives. One OECD CERI paper sets out “Four Futures Scenarios for Higher Education”: Open Networking; Serving Local Communities; New Public Management; and Higher Education Inc. There are links to two articles from recent OECD Observers: first, “Higher education for a changing world”, a curtain raiser to the 2006 meeting by Barbara Ischinger, head of the OECD’s Education Directorate (No 255, May 2006); and second, “Europe’s university challenge”, by OECD expert Andreas Schleicher (No 254, March 2006).

©OECD Observer No. 256, July 2006



Bookmark this


Economic data

GDP : +0.50%, Q4 2014
Employment rate: 65.7%, Q3 2014
Annual inflation : 0.51% Jan 2015
Trade : -3.0% exp, -3.7 imp, Q4 2014
Unemployment : 7.045% Q4 2014
Recovery ahead? Composite leading indicators
Updated: 30 Mar 2015

E-Newsletter

Stay up-to-date with the latest news from the OECD by signing up for our e-newsletter :

Twitter feed

Don't miss

  • #OECD360: Your country in figures.
  • How to ensure transparency in public procurement? Read Cobus de Swardt's article on OECD Insights.
  • Asia to maintain a strong 6.3% growth rate in 2015 and 2016, according to the Asian Development Bank
  • Greece should tackle not only domestic corruption but also foreign bribery warns the OECD Working Group on Bribery.
  • After three decades of extraordinary economic development, China is shifting to a slower and more sustainable growth path, according to the OECD's latest Economic Survey of China.
  • In pursuit of the American Dream
  • The OECD turned green to mark Saint Patrick's Day, the first international organisation to do so. Click photo for more global iconic landmarks.
  • Iceland's strong recovery stems from the good use of its natural resources, the energy sector and tourism according to Peter Dohlman, IMF Mission Chief for Iceland.
  • cyclone
  • Government representatives and experts from around the world are gathering in Japan this week to develop a post-2015 framework for global disaster risk reduction. The World Bank and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) will share expertise at the conference.
  • Switzerland’s recent moves towards greater tax transparency were welcomed by the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, based at the OECD, as a boost to international efforts to end tax evasion. Work will continue with Switzerland, notably on implementation, in 2015.
  • Help bridge the gap between business integrity policies & practices:participate in this new OECD survey by clicking on the image.
  • The Power of Social and Emotional Skills (The Huffington Post)
  • pisa
  • Secretary General Angel Gurría describes the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) as a useful tool to enhance educational systems but states that improving a country's ranking should not be a goal per se. Article in Spanish by El País.
  • [VIDEO] In spite of economic improvements, the OECD recommends that austerity measures remain unchanged in the UK.
  • [VIDEO] Although many countries have made great progress in narrowing gender gaps in education, new challenges are looming.
  • 5 things you might not know about the state of Amazonas. The World Bank identifies the main colossal challenges Brazil's biggest state is facing.
  • Gender mainstreaming: young French lady working in an engine assembly plant. Women and men in the same boat when it comes to job insecurity. © Raphaël Helle / Signatures / La France VUE D'ICI
  • The Asian Development Bank together with the International Labour Organization challenge the concept of women's work in Asia and the Pacific.
  • Gender wage gap
  • Visit the OECD Gender Data Portal. Selected indicators shedding light on gender inequalities in education, employment and entrepreneurship.
  • World Water Day: 22 March 2015 For World Water Day, UN-Water identifies upcoming challenges and sets the theme for the years to come. In 2015, the theme for World Water Day is Water and Sustainable Development.
  • 2015, a year full of dangers? Laurent Bossard, director of the Sahel and West Africa Club, acknowledges that the situation in the region is complex and unstable but refuses to give in to fatalism.
  • The 5th Anti-corruption conference for G20 governments and business in Istanbul on 6 March will address how all businesses can play their part in contributing to growth and investment, and can operate with clean hands in a safe environment.
  • Success story. Discover the story of this young Ethiopian woman who launched a successful business in the footwear industry and became a UN Goodwill Ambassador for Entrepreneurship.
  • Transports in Asia. The Asian Development Bank advocates sustainable transport in a continent where vehicle ownership is perceived as a sign of social success.
  • Vote for your favourite photograph! This World Bank #EachDayISee photo contest aims to display visual stories from all over the world through which people express what they would like to see changed and improved.
  • Why is investment so low in the euro area? This short IMF blog post gives you an insight into the causes of the euro-zone's drastic decline in investment.
  • Have your say! The UN wants to know what matters most to you: pick six global issues in the list and send it to the United Nations.
  • Tim Harcourt Video
  • G20 and Australia: Bestselling economist Tim Harcourt speaks to the BBC about how Australia has gone from "Down Under to Down Wonder".
  • Clear air and healthy lungs: how to better tackle air pollution. From New Delhi to Accra, millions of people breathe polluted air. A new report examines the World Bank’s experience working to improve air quality.
  • The boring secret of great cities. Plenty of things make a city great but what really makes a difference originates in the structure of municipal government according to the OECD's report "The Metropolitan Century".
  • Guinea gets $37.7 million in extra IMF financing to help combat Ebola

Most Popular Articles

Subscribe Now

<b>Subscribe now!</b>

To receive your exclusive print editions delivered to you directly


Online edition
Previous editions

Poll

What issue are you most concerned about in 2015?

Euro crisis
Unemployment
Global warming
International conflict
Other

OECD Insights Blog

NOTE: All signed articles in the OECD Observer express the opinions of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the official views of OECD member countries.

All rights reserved. OECD 2015