OECD Ministers to discuss challenges facing higher education systems


12/06/2006 - More people in OECD countries are going to university, taking a wider range of courses than ever before. But standards need to be maintained and improved, and courses must match today’s needs for individuals and for society at large. How best to ensure quality, equity and efficiency in all aspects of higher education will be the theme of a meeting of Ministers of Education from OECD countries in Athens on 27-28 June 2006.

The meeting will open at 1.30 p.m. on Tuesday 27 June with addresses by Greece’s Minister of National Education and Religious Affairs,  Marietta Giannakou, and OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, followed by a Forum on the Future of Higher Education to discuss how technology, globalisation, demography and new approaches to governance may impact higher education. The Forum, which will be open to the media, is designed to provide a forward-looking introduction to the next day’s ministerial discussions and to generate debate.

The ministerial discussions on Wednesday 28 June will take place in closed session. On the morning of 28 June, discussions will focus on "The purposes, governance, and sustainable provision of higher education", with break-out groups on three themes:

  • Who should pay for higher education?
  • Measuring the quality and impact of higher education.
  • Higher education’s contribution to research and innovation in a global knowledge economy.

Over a working lunch, Ministers will discuss the challenges and opportunities of the global market for education, while their afternoon discussions will address the theme of  “Improving the quality, relevance and impact of higher education”.

Ms. Giannakou will give an interim briefing to the media at 12.30 p.m. on 28 June, and the meeting will conclude with a summary from the Chair and a news conference at around 6.00 p.m.

Information about the ministerial meeting and Forum is available on the OECD’s website at  For further details and to register to attend the Forum and the news briefings, journalists are requested to contact the OECD’s Media Division (tel. +33 1 4524 9700).


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