The OECD review on higher education role in development: The Barcelona experience

 

Xavier Testar, Barcelona, Research & Innovation Programme, Barcelona City Council

 

The Barcelona Metropolitan Area hosts 7 (4 public and 3 private) of the 12 universities of the Catalan higher education system (HES), including a distance learning university. The Catalan HES has experienced an important growth during the last 20 years, regarding both students’ number and research capacities and production. Besides that, the Catalan HES is facing renewed and crucial challenges. In this context, the OECD review has offered us a unique opportunity to enlighten the Barcelona and Catalan HES strengths but also to identify and focus on its main weaknesses. Thus, the external look provided by the OECD panel has also been helpful to identify areas and fields in which the links between society and HES have to be improved. The OECD report will be a useful tool to support the launching of new initiatives to deal with the current challenges in the relationship between university and society.