Higher Education Policy

The Higher Education Policy team carries out analysis on a wide range of higher education systems and policies. Its work takes place with the advice of the Group of National Experts on Higher Education (GNE-HE), which meets regularly to review and comment on its activities, and whose delegates typically include representatives responsible for higher education policy within ministries of education or other governmental bodies, and as well as specially invited experts and stakeholders.

Contact the Higher Education Policy team

Labour Market Relevance and Outcomes of Higher Education

The Labour Market Relevance and Outcomes of Higher Education (LMRO) Project helps policy makers take stock of how to promote good labour market outcomes for higher education graduates. Reviews have been completed in Norway, Mexico, and four US states (Washington, Texas, Ohio, and Virginia). An EU-supported LMRO Partnership Inititiative is underway, with the participation of Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, and Portugal. National studies will be accompanied by peer learning events open to all OECD Member countries. A series of Working Papers examine key topics within the project, including how labour market information is communicated to – and used by – learners; the emergence and impact of “alternative credentials; and how “big data” can be used to understand the graduate skills sought by employers.

The Higher Education Resources Project

Higher education policy makers face difficult questions of resource allocation, such as how to fund higher education institutions, efficiently organise student lending, and balance the benefits and risks of relying upon part-time and temporary instructional staff. The Higher Education Resources Project helps them respond to these challenges through country reviews that provide a comprehensive examination of resource allocation and use, and offer detailed policy recommendations from an international panel. Countries may also opt for targeted thematic policy briefs, which develop diagnostic analyses that help countries understand their own resourcing challenges in a comparative perspective, and identify policy reform priorities. The project offers international peer learning workshops in which countries and experts come together to compare their experiences, reports that summarise key policy challenges and research findings, and synthesis reports providing in-depth comparative policy analyses.

National Reviews of Higher Education Policy

These are customised reviews undertaken at the request of countries, and tailored to the particularhigher education policy challenges they face. In some cases, authorities and higher education stakeholders seek an external perspective on their entire higher education governance and policy framework, often as an input to a major higher education reform or new strategy. This was the case with The Future of Mexican Higher Education: Promoting Quality and Equity. Countries may also wish to draw on OECD expertise in different fields in multi-disciplinary reviews, as in the review of Higher Education, Research, and Innovation in Portugal, which involved joint efforts from OECD teams working on higher education, innovation, and research. Alternatively, countries may request a review focusing on a particular facet of higher education policy, such as the review Rethinking Quality Assurance for Higher Education in Brazil.

Enhancing the Higher Education Evidence Base

The Higher Education Policy team supports the expansion of the higher education evidence base available to OECD member countries, advising on the development of new indicators, and developing new data resources. Enhancing Higher Education Evidence strengthens the internationally comparable evidence base through two new activities. An international data collection on Higher Education Institutions, based upon extant national and international collections of institutional data, will enhance capacity for policy-relevant analysis at a level of granularity appropriate for the heterogeneous higher education systems across the OECD. A recurring fixed-response Higher Education Policy Survey will update the comparative knowledge base on areas of policy priority identified by member countries. The first of these surveys is taking place in 2020 on the topic of resourcing higher education.

The Group of National Experts on Higher Education

The Group of National Experts on Higher Education (GNE-HE) assists the Education Policy Committee (EDPC) in guiding the OECD’s higher education policy analysis by providing focused and expert advice to the Secretariat and the EDPC. GNE-HE Delegates, nominated by countries, are experts in higher education policy within ministries of education or other official bodies with responsibility for higher education, and can include specially invited representatives of other expert advisory bodies recognised by governments. Meetings of the GNE-HE provide countries with an opportunity to review and comment on the work of the Secretariat, and to share national higher education policies and practices with one another.