Edition 183 - July 2016

OECD upgrades work on enhancing higher education & launches Skill Centre


The OECD has reorganized its activities in higher education, responding to new and emerging priorities faced by countries working to enhance the capacities and relevance of their higher education systems, in light of globalisation forces and transformations in the sector.

Following the November 2015 decision of the Governing Board to discontinue the IMHE (Institutional Management in Higher Education) programme, its mandate expiring end of December this year, the OECD revitalizes its engagement in higher education through rolling out the new programme: Enhancing Higher Education System Performance.  Within this frame two, but interrelated, strands of work will serve to enhance countries performance in higher education and look into the effectiveness of diverse policy levers.

The two new working areas cover:

1) Benchmarking higher education systems performance

Here the OECD will collect data and information across various performance dimensions of higher education, generate analysis and support policy dialogue.  To enable mutual learning between countries on ‘what works’ and enhance their own systems, activities will:
» identify strength and weaknesses of higher education systems
» compare performances across systems, including a synthesis report
» offer peer-learning opportunities

2) In-depth analysis of higher education topics

To better understand policy challenges and their root causes, work in this strand will concentrate on the thorough analysis of specific higher education topics, by:
» Identifying linkages between policies, policy levers, and system outcomes
» Provide tailor made policy advice to countries
» Offer a self-assessment tool for countries

The first analysis will tackle higher education systems labour market relevance and outcomes.

The new work areas will also create novel insights to be integrated into the OECD’s Skills Strategy work. In complement to these developments, during the Bergen Skills Summit 2016, the OECD Centre for Skills has recently launched, to support countries in developing better skills policies through three key action lines:

  • The centre will conduct national skill strategy projects  in cooperation with both member and non-member states
  • To mobilise expertise across the OECD, it will develop analytical tools and promote peer learning, gathering policy makers and practitioners
  • Contribute to the periodic renewal of the OECD Skills Strategy

Underpinning its upgraded work activities by strong stakeholder engagement and dialogue will enable the OECD to effectively respond to evolving needs of diverse countries, working to enhance their education systems, and stay on the pulse of transformations in the higher education landscape.

OECD - Enhancing Higher Education System Performance
OECD – Centre for Skills launched

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