Skills beyond school

Enhancing Higher Education System Performance



The Enhancing Higher Education System Performance project aims to address three key policy questions concerning policymakers:

  • How well are higher education systems performing (overall and in different areas)?
  • Why are some systems performing better than others?
  • What can we learn from the experiences of others, and how can we use this experience to improve the performance of our higher education systems?

The project has two interrelated strands of work:

  • benchmarking higher education systems performance
  • the in-depth analysis of selected higher education topics

It is supported by a stakeholder dialogue, including an annual OECD Higher Education Stakeholder forum.

Countries may choose to participate in one or both of the strands of work, according to their national priorities.


Benchmarking higher education systems performance

The OECD is analysing data and information across different performance dimensions in higher education to provide countries with:

  • comparisons across agreed dimensions of performance of higher education systems
  • an understanding of the reasons behind the performance of higher education systems
  • tailored policy advice and strategies for improvements in the performance of higher education systems
  • peer-learning opportunities

In-depth analysis of higher education topics

The OECD is analysing a higher education topic in-depth to provide countries with:

  • an analytical framework for approaching the topic
  • tailored policy advice through country reviews
  • peer-learning opportunities
  • new evidence and insights to feed back into and strengthen the benchmarking higher education system performance strand of work.

The first topic of in-depth analysis (2017-2019) is the labour market relevance and outcomes of higher education systems.


Stakeholder dialogue

By strengthening engagement with higher education institutions and other stakeholders, the OECD can better identify emerging challenges and policy concerns in the higher education and gain valuable feedback to enhance the quality and relevance of our work on higher education.

The stakeholder dialogue process ensures that the views, insights and perspectives of a wide range of stakeholders are fully taken into account. Stakeholders include higher education institutions; representative bodies; regional and international networks and groupings of institutions; students groups; employers and trade unions; representatives of academic and other higher education staff; and foundations and research centres.

The stakeholder dialogue process includes face-to-face stakeholder forums held once a year.


Why we are doing this work now

Higher education has continued to grow and change since the OECD Thematic Review of Tertiary Education in 2008. Many countries are finding it difficult to keep up with the rapidly changing global higher education landscape while dealing with the expansion of the higher education sector. They are becoming increasingly concerned about how to facilitate and maintain high quality education and research; ensure that higher education is relevant to social and economic needs; and make certain that investments – whether by taxpayers or by students and their families – provide value for money. Countries are seeking policy advice from the OECD on how to enhance the performance of their higher education systems.



Contact us at for more information.


Benchmarking higher education systems performance

In-depth analysis of higher education topics

Stakeholder dialogue

Why we are doing this work now

OECD higher education team





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