By Erik Solheim, Chair of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC). The donor countries representing well above 90% of all global development aid agreed in the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD on December 16 on a set of measures to modernize official development assistance, ODA. We will build on the historic success of aid and make it fit for the future. The goal is to provide more and better aid and support the global process of financing the post-2015 sustainable development goals. More...
- Few countries have developed policy initiatives, strategies, targets and measures for improving access for people from groups currently under-represented in higher education.
- Systems to monitor the social characteristics of students could be improved, and data linked to concrete policy purposes - such as improving access and reducing dropout for disadvantaged students.
- The widening participation agenda is not yet followed through by governments and higher education institutions as a coherent policy approach involving access, retention and employability.
The Brief draws on key findings from the report, Modernisation of Higher Education in Europe: Access, retention and employability, and covers higher education systems in 34 European countries.
The modernisation agenda (European Commission 2011) supports higher education systems in Europe in responding to the needs of our increasingly knowledge-based economy and societies. To expand the knowledge base and foster progress, an increasing number of European citizens require high level knowledge and competences. Supporting the development of quality mass higher education systems is therefore high on policy agendas at both national and European levels. Download "Modernisation of Higher Education in Europe: Access, Retention and Employability".
Par Annie Poullalié. Suite à une première expérimentation réussie, la région Ile-de-France envisage dans le cadre de ses dispositifs qualité de l'alternance la généralisation des tablettes numériques connectées pour tous les apprentis franciliens.
En 2013, la région Ile-de-France a cofinancé la remise de tablettes numériques connectées à 4 133 apprentis, dans 28 CFA impliqués dans le projet. Par ce dispositif, elle souhaite accompagner les CFA à améliorer la qualité de l’alternance auprès des jeunes et de leurs entreprises. Voir l'article...
The EU's High-Level Group on the Modernisation of Higher Education has published a report on 'new modes of learning and teaching in universities'. The report gives an analysis of current practices in the EU and abroad, and offers 15 recommendations for the improvement of teaching technologies and practices. More...
Modernisation of Higher Education in Europe: Access, Retention and Employability
Date de publication: 22 mai 2014. Version complète: . L'essentiel: . European Press Release.
Supporting the development of mass higher education systems is high on the policy agendas at both national and European levels. This is because higher education systems in Europe should be designed to quickly respond and adapt to the needs of our increasingly knowledge-based economy and societies. Likewise, to expand the knowledge-base and foster progress, an increasing amount of European citizens are required to hold higher education degrees. In Europe, the EU 2020 strategy, with a goal of 40 % completion by 2020, and the modernisation agenda, for example, both focus on increasing participation in higher education.
In view of these objectives and to support optimal policy making, the Eurydice report on Modernisation of Higher Education in Europe : Access, Retention and Employability examines policy and practice in Europe related to three stages of higher education :
• Access, which includes awareness of the availability of higher education, the requirements to be admitted, and the process of admission ;
• Retention, including progression through the study programme with support that may be provided when problems are encountered ;
• Employability, including measures supporting students' transition from higher education into the labour market.
This brochure summarises key findings of the report.
Only eight countries have set targets to increase participation of specified student groups
The concept of access to higher education no longer only entails the right of eligible students to apply to, and to be considered for, a study programme. It now also encompasses a 'social dimension', which aspires for student bodies to reflect all sections of society. In practice, this means that policies should aim at removing obstacles related to disadvantages such as the social and economic background of applicants. General targets regarding access have been set by nearly all countries. However, there are only eight countries that have defined participation targets for specified student groups. Moreover, the student groups that these countries have identified as targets vary considerably. For example, in the Flemish Community of Belgium, the target refers to children whose parents do not hold a higher education qualification. Finland focuses on increasing male participation while Lithuania would like to increase female participation in maths and sciences.
Monitoring of student characteristics varies significantly between countries and data is not exploited optimally
Although nearly all countries capture basic characteristics of the student population such as age and gender, the range of student characteristics that countries monitor over time varies significantly: 'type and level of qualification achieved prior to entry to higher education' is by far the most frequently monitored aspect, whereas the 'ethnic, cultural or linguistic minority status' of the student population is rarely taken into account.
Higher education institutions rarely receive financial incentives to widen access
Another striking fact that contradicts policy ambitions lies in the lack of financial incentives to higher education institutions to widen access. Only two national governments, Ireland and the United Kingdom, reward higher education institutions that are successful in recruiting, and retaining students from under-represented groups throughout their whole study programme.
26 education systems use financial incentives for students to finish their studies on time
Facilitating access to higher education alone does not guarantee high graduation rates. That's why adequate attention needs to be paid to students actually completing their studies. While precise targets related to improving student retention are not commonly found, individual countries usually set overarching goals to reduce student drop-out and provide specific reward measures to students. 26 education systems, for example, have in place financial incentives that encourage students to complete their studies on time. In these systems, students may for example be asked to pay tuition or administrative fees only if they exceed the regular length of study. Another measure would be to limit financial student support to the regular duration of the studies.
Half of European countries offer financial incentives to institutions that work on increasing completion rates
In addition to financially rewarding individual students, countries can also give financial incentives to higher education institutions that implement measures to retain their students. Interestingly enough, only half of European countries offer such incentives. In the other half, improving completion or reducing drop-out rates has no impact on an institution’s funding.
Part-time studies are often more expensive for individuals than their full-time equivalents
Offering students more flexibility to complete their studies, such as through part-time education or distance learning, can also positively impact on both access and completion rates. Most European countries now offer an opportunity for students to formally organise their studies in a more flexible way compared to traditional full-time, on-site arrangements. Although part-time education should facilitate the lives of those who cannot study full time, such flexibility may come at a cost. In 12 education systems, for example, part-time studies are related, or are likely to be related, to higher private financial investment compared to traditional studies. In addition to higher private fees, the financial support to which they are entitled is also often limited.
17 education systems consult employers to help them match study programmes with labour market needs
National systems and higher education institutions put lots of effort into increasing the employability of their graduates. They can do so by either designing their study programmes in such a way that these respond to labour market needs, or by making sure students will be provided throughout their studies with the right skills to successfully pursue employment. Consulting or involving employers and businesses directly in the design of higher education study programmes is one mechanism for matching study programmes to the labour market. In fact, 17 education systems use this method and involve employers in curriculum development, teaching, and participation in decision-making or consultative bodies.
Quality assurance agencies rarely look at access, retention and employability data in relation to specific student profiles
While higher education quality assurance agencies take some account of access, retention and employability data, they rarely consider different student profiles. For example, agencies may be required to consider admission systems, but do not typically focus on how admissions systems may play a role in access for disadvantaged students. Likewise, quality assurance processes that look at retention may consider trends in completion rates but rarely attempt to understand the underlying causes of dropout. There is also no evidence of any country or quality assurance agency systematically analysing employment opportunities in relation to the social profiles of graduates. It is therefore impossible to know whether factors such as socio-economic disadvantage or ethnicity, which are known to have an impact on access and completion rates, also impact employment after graduation. Télécharger L'essentiel - Modernisation of Higher Education in Europe Access: Retention and Employability.
Modernisation of Higher Education in Europe: Access, Retention and Employability
Date de publication: 22 mai 2014
European Press Release.
Le développement de systèmes d'enseignement supérieur de masse de qualité fait partie des priorités de l'agenda politique tant au niveau national qu'européen. Un nombre croissant de citoyens européens doivent disposer de connaissances, d'aptitudes et de compétences de haut niveau pour développer la connaissance et encourager l'innovation et le progrès. Par conséquent, les systèmes d'enseignement supérieur en Europe devraient être conçus pour répondre et s'adapter aux besoins de notre économie et de nos sociétés de plus en plus basées sur la connaissance. Afin de soutenir la prise de décision basée sur la recherche, ce rapport d'Eurydice met en évidence les politiques et les pratiques nationales et institutionnelles actuelles qui visent à accroître et à élargir l'accès, à réduire les abandons et à améliorer l'employabilité des diplômés de l'enseignement supérieur en Europe. Le rapport couvre 36 pays européens ou systèmes éducatifs et consolide les informations qui émanent de trois sources différentes: les unités nationales d'Eurydice, les agences nationales pour l'assurance qualité et quelques visites à des établissements d'enseignement supérieur.
The deadline for to submit an abstract for the VII International GUIDE Conference, Culture in the Midst of Global Modernization: The Role of Distance Education, has been extended to February 24, 2014. Authors can apply by filling out this Call for Papers form. GUIDE Conference website. More...
Statement in response to the Higher Level Group on the Modernisation of Higher Education report to the European Commission
The Higher Education Academy (HEA) welcomes the report on ‘Improving the quality of teaching and learning in Europe’s higher education institutions’ which sets out a clear vision for the enhancement of teaching and learning across Europe. Of particular note is the recommendation to establish a new ‘European Academy for Teaching and Learning’, which has been ‘inspired by the activities of the HEA…’
The HEA welcomes the report’s recognition of the importance of teacher training and continuing professional development programmes (recommendation four), which research commissioned by the HEA has demonstrated make a real difference to student learning. The report also calls for teaching to be included by higher education providers as part of promotions criteria (recommendation five), a concern that is frequently raised with the HEA in discussion around the status of teaching by UK-based teaching staff. The value of schemes such as the HEA’s National Teaching Fellowship Scheme and Student-led Teaching Awards in recognising and rewarding teaching in universities is also highlighted by the report (recommendation six). Professor Stephanie Marshall, Deputy Chief Executive (Research & Policy), said “This report provides a welcome policy-driver for reform of higher education across Europe. Putting in place mechanisms to adequately reward and recognise teaching in our universities, is essential to ensuring that each and every student receives the very best academic experience.
“HEA research has regularly emphasised the need to focus on measures, many of which are recommended in this report, that we know improve teaching and learning in higher education. We would welcome the opportunity to support the development of the proposed European Academy for Teaching and Learning and to discuss how the UK Professional Standards Framework for learning and teaching might form the basis for demonstrating how professional standards are being met.”
The report is available here.
The group, headed by the former president of Ireland Mary McAleese and composed of a number of distinguished European academics plus the chair of Microsoft Corporation in Europe Jan Muehlfeit, makes 16 recommendations in support of its basic pitch that “teaching matters as much as research matters – we must put the quality of teaching and learning centre-stage”. Read more...