Tertiary Education for the Knowledge Society

Volume 1 and Volume 2

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This book provides a thorough international investigation of tertiary education policy across its many facets – governance, funding, quality assurance, equity, research and innovation, academic career, links to the labour market and internationalisation. It presents an analysis of the trends and developments in tertiary education; a synthesis of research-based evidence on the impact of tertiary-education policies; innovative and successful policies and practices that countries have implemented; and tertiary-education policy options. The report draws on the results of a major OECD review of tertiary education policy – the OECD Thematic Review of Tertiary Education -- conducted over the 2004-08 period in collaboration with 24 countries around the world.

“The new ‘bible’ of Post-secondary education.”

-Paul Cappon, President of the Canadian Council on Learning

 “An exceptionally useful and interesting review.”

-Tom Boland, Chief Executive, Higher Education Authority of Ireland

 “The reference text for the future debate on tertiary education.”

-José Joaquín Brunner, Professor and Director,

Centre for Comparative Education Policies, University of Diego Portales, Chile



English Hungarian


Achieving Equity

Equity is increasingly prominent in countries’ tertiary education policies. More attention is being focused on learners with more limited opportunities to access and succeed in tertiary education due to circumstances unrelated to their ability to benefit from tertiary education. This Chapter analyses equity in tertiary education. It defines what equity at tertiary education level entails, recognising that it is affected by inequities in previous levels of education. It provides an overview of contextual developments affecting equity in tertiary education and reviews current equity trends. It also offers an overview of the range of factors which affect equity in tertiary education, reviews available empirical evidence, and illustrates policy initiatives in participating countries. The Chapter concludes with a set of policy options for countries to consider. Equity issues related to approaches to funding tertiary education are discussed in Chapter 4 and are only briefly mentioned in this Chapter. In addition, the Chapter focuses on equity in tertiary education and only briefly addresses equity through tertiary education (or the social mobility effects of tertiary education).


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