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Mapping (International) Education

Aurora Brief Reviews No. 16 June 31 2020

September 2020

The European Commission has published a report on “Mapping the state of Graduate Tracking Policies and Practices in the EU Member States and EEA Countries”. The report is based on an analysis of existing graduate mapping systems and a survey among higher education institutions. Twenty-three of the 31 countries reviewed (all Aurora countries but Iceland) have system-level graduate tracking, although five of these cover either higher education or vocational education graduates only. All in all, the report identifies no less than 123 separate tracking systems in 29 countries, so more than four on average per country.

As the report states: ‘tracking graduates can provide crucial intelligence about the quality of learning …’. This is an understatement: Current attempts to define education outcome are abysmal and most of ‘quality assurance’ in higher education focuses on the process without worrying about outcome and impact. Longitudinal and comparative tracking of graduates is probably key to any assessment of the quality of higher (and vocational) education.

The report did not check if tracking systems also look at international educational experience. This seems a missed opportunity. As asking about education allows for analysis of the correlation (or even causation) between education and lifetime gainful employment, health and well-being, so would asking about international educational experience allow studying its impact on graduate’s further life.

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