Edition 171 - July 2015

A year later: European Tertiary Education Register (ETER) continues to grow

A year ago, the European Commission released ETER, the European Tertiary Education Register, a first attempt at building a comprehensive database of higher education institutions in Europe (see ACA – Education Europe, edition July 2014). Earlier this month, the register was substantially updated, and now integrates data from 2012 as well as 2011. 

As of now, ETER covers 2 301 higher education institutions in Europe, or 87% of students at the tertiary level. Coverage is virtually complete for students at the bachelor’s and PhD level, with some gaps at the Master’s level. Thirty-one countries (including all 28 EU Member States) have provided data, mostly through their national statistical authorities. Data collected includes number of students, graduates and staff; their gender and nationality; and a given institution’s expenditure and revenue, just to mention a few. As such, the register –which is openly accessible through the Commission’s website –can and has been used to answer a wide range of questions regarding higher education institutions in Europe. For instance, how are European higher education institutions funded? And, what is the status of gender equality at European higher education institutions? Hard facts and figures can thus be translated into questions and answers that make the higher education system more transparent to the public, and easier to access for policy-makers and other stakeholders. While ETER cannot aim at covering all aspects of the higher education institution spectrum, it provides an excellent database which can be further combined with other sources for tailored analysis (e.g. scientific publications, patents, student mobility data). 

The Commission released a tender to manage the ETER for the period 2015-2017, which will hopefully lead towards a regular data collection and publication on European higher education institutions. 

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