The University Futures project aims to inform and facilitate strategic change to be made by government decision-makers and other key stakeholders in higher education. Future choices often depend upon decisions taken today as the passage of time narrows the room for manœuvre of different players in higher education, hence the importance of factoring the long term into decision-making.
In the framework of this project, CERI/OECD and France have jointly organised an international conference "Higher Education to 2030: What Futures for Quality Access in the Era of Globalisation?" on 8-9 December 2008 in Paris, France. The conference was the occasion of launching the first volume of a new OECD book series entitled Higher Education to 2030.
The project aims:
- to highlight recent changes in higher education and underline the opportunities offered to countries by new trends in higher education and related social fields.
- to analyse key trends from an international standpoint and look at developments in a disinterested way.
- to offer avenues for strategic reflection on the major questions to be confronted in higher education in coming years.
- to create future scenarios with a 15-20 year time-line to link complex trends in separate areas and engage stakeholders in strategic thinking
The project is based on two types of activity: an analytical and thematic study of the major relevant trends and dialogue with the stakeholders and experts in higher education. Both activities are contributing to the development of the future scenarios. The scenarios are developed as results of discussions held within in various expert meetings and stakeholder seminars, building on the trend analysis conducted by the Secretariat. They are tested and incrementally improved.
The project undertakes an in-depth thematic review on six major and inter-related themes:
What plays out in the future often depends upon decisions taken today, particularly as the passage of time narrows the room for manoeuvre of different players. Hence the importance of factoring the long term into decision-making in higher education. Four scenarios for higher education systems have been developed by the OECD Secretariat as part of its ongoing project on the future of higher education. They were presented and discussed at the Forum of the Meeting of OECD Education Ministers in Athens in 2006. In addition, the background document Conferences Speakers: Biographies and Forward-looking Perspectives on Higher Education prepared for the Higher Education to 2030 conference aims to glance the challenges and the opportunities for the future higher education via presentation of a wide range of personalised and forward-looking perspectives on higher education.