Tertiary Education for the Knowledge Society

Volume 1 and Volume 2

image of Tertiary Education for the Knowledge Society
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


Setting the Stage: Impact, Trends and Challenges of Tertiary Education

This Chapter provides the context for analysing tertiary education policy. First, it summarises evidence on the impact and relevance of tertiary education, in particular its effect on economic growth and the benefits it brings to both individuals and societies. Second, it describes the main trends within tertiary education, with particular emphasis on growth and diversification, and reviews the contextual factors affecting the development of tertiary systems. Finally, it identifies the challenges currently facing tertiary education systems and which are addressed in subsequent Chapters. Countries are in the process of making a transition from a focus on quantity to a greater emphasis on the quality, coherence, and equity of tertiary education giving considerable room for tertiary education policy to play a role.


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