Educational Research and Innovation

Centre for Educational Research and Innovation

2076-9679 (online)
2076-9660 (print)
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This series of books from the OECD's Centre for Educational Research and Innovations provides the results of OECD work on innovation in education.

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Higher Education to 2030, Volume 1, Demography

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Centre for Educational Research and Innovation

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18 Nov 2008
9789264040663 (PDF) ;9789264040656(print)

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Demographic changes increasingly shape social policies as most OECD populations are ageing and include more migrants and "minorities". Japan and Korea have already started to see their enrolments in tertiary education decline, but other countries like Turkey and Mexico can still expect a boom. Drawing on trend data and projections, this book takes an in-depth look at these important questions from both a qualitative and quantitative standpoint. Issues covered include the impact of demographic changes on student enrolment, educational attainment, academic staff and policy choices. Particular attention is given to how access policies determine the demographics of tertiary education, notably by examining access to higher education for disabled and migrant students. The book covers most OECD countries, illustrating the analysis with specific examples from France, Japan, Korea and the United States. This book is the first volume in the Higher Education to 2030 series, which takes a forward-looking approach to analysing the impact of various contemporary trends on tertiary education systems. Two further volumes will examine the effects of technology and globalisation, and a fourth will present scenarios for the future of higher education systems.
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  • Are Long-term Demographic Forecasts Possible? Turning Points and Trends
    This chapter serves as a methodological warning for the entire book: we demonstrate that it is the turning points that in fact play the most important role in demographic trends. We first discuss external migration, where the contrast between past and future is most glaring, and then show that the same holds true for the fertility trend, but with latencies and lags that are often lengthy. We close with a remarkable example of a turning point in the trend in age-specific mortality, to conclude that demographic trends cannot be extrapolated directly, but only explored through forward-looking scenarios incorporating political and economic factors.
  • What is the Impact of Demography on Higher Education Systems? A Forward-looking Approach for OECD Countries
    This chapter aims to evaluate the impact of demographic changes on the student population, on student-teacher ratios and expenditure in higher education and on the level to which the populations are educated. It shows that demographic changes are only one of the factors determining student enrolment trends, teaching staff numbers or costs in higher education. It also demonstrates that policy responses to falling student enrolments and rising enrolments in periods of expansion are often similar, albeit for sometimes different reasons. The investigation is based on forward-looking quantitative scenarios that provide a heuristic insight into these changes and their consequences, though without claiming that they can actually be forecast.
  • Demography and Higher Education
    This chapter first highlights major demographic trends in the OECD area and compares them to trends in other major areas of the world. It then presents a simulation to show how the ageing of staff in higher education is an outcome of two processes – ageing in place and evolution of the student population – demonstrating the importance of a cohort perspective in investigating the relation between demography and the future of higher education. The paper then looks at human capital produced by higher education in terms of the contribution to the labour market of tertiary education graduates in person-years. It concludes by speculating on the role of demographics as a driver of change in higher education.
  • Back to the Future? The Academic Professions in the 21st Century
    This chapter addresses the impact of changes in higher education on the academic profession in the past, present and possible future. We start by arguing that the growth of the academic profession implied increased differentiation. We then examine the ongoing transformation of working and employment conditions in the academic workplace, which challenges its traditional power structure. Finally we look at the restructuring of the international academic community. One of our conclusions is that demographic changes are likely to play a minor role in the reshaping of the academic profession.
  • Student Enrolments and Graduation Trends in the OECD Area
    This chapter aims to disaggregate the recent expansion of tertiary education. It looks to what extent the increasing number of students in recent years reflects changes in the definition of the sector, its composition, entry rates, demographic developments and successful completion of study programmes. It also examines how this expansion affects graduation rates and the educational attainment of the population. As a conclusion, it discusses the richness and the limitations of the available statistical information for interpreting the future.
  • Access to Post-secondary Education in the United States
    This chapter discusses the past, present and future of enrolments in US postsecondary education by examining the institutional, economic, and public policy factors over the last 25 years that had a major impact on college enrolment in the United States. It uses the state of US higher education today and the current economic and political environment as the starting point for understanding the challenges and opportunities facing the future growth of higher education, especially among minorities and people from low income background.
  • The Future of Higher Education in the Context of a Shrinking Student Population
    This chapter looks at the future of higher education policy in Japan and Korea in light of the rapid demographic changes, characterised by ageing populations, low birth rates, and the saturation of the higher education markets following the completion of universal higher education in the two countries. This comparative analysis of Japan and Korea provides useful information for other OECD countries that will have to face similar long-term demographic challenges when developing their higher education policy agendas.
  • Adapting Higher Education to the Needs of Disabled Students
    This chapter seeks to identify the transformations and types of adaptation which have favoured the enrolment of disabled students and helped higher education open up to diversity. To this end, it will make use of research conducted in 2001 and 2002 by the OECD into the situation of disabled students in higher education in Ontario (Canada), the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Switzerland.
  • Immigration and Access to Tertiary Education
    This chapter includes a review of trends and issues on immigration and higher education, using the United States and France as cases in point. It highlights the importance of widening access to higher education to immigrants and their children in the coming decades. It does not cover international (or foreign) students, i.e. migrants coming to their host country for the purpose of studying.
  • The Reversal of Gender Inequalities in Higher Education
    This chapter analyses gender inequalities in participation in higher education and degree awards in OECD member countries. After documenting these inequalities, in both quantitative and qualitative terms, and presenting the main possible explanations for their reversal, we show that this new trend is more than likely to persist in coming decades. While it should probably continue to help reduce the wage inequalities which disadvantage women, its other possible social consequences have yet to be studied. However, in terms of educational inequalities, it would seem that in promoting equal opportunities for men and women the focus can no longer be solely on women.
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