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OECD: How HE Systems Perform

Aurora Brief Reviews No. 10 July 08 2019

July 2019

The OECD has published “Benchmarking Higher Education System Performance”, 644 pages with results of a review carried out in 2017-18 across all OECD countries, with four countries electing to be subject to a deeper exercise: Estonia, Belgium (Flemish), the Netherlands and Norway. Because the report mixes more general information across the OECD with more refined data and analyses in those four countries, the meaning and use of the data sometimes gets obscured.

Key messages:

  • higher education still pays off, on average bachelor’s graduates in the OECD earn one-third more, and master’s graduates close to two-thirds more, than those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education.
  • higher education graduates also tend to report more favourable social and health outcomes than those without a higher education qualification.
  • nearly one-third of higher education graduates have poorer information processing skills that might be expected of graduates at this level.
  • Higher education spending per student is increasing rapidly, with households paying about one-fifth of the costs.
  • access and success for students from less-represented backgrounds is a persistent challenge, as is the issue of drop out and time-to-degree.

One  interesting table shows the proportion of researchers working in Industry. Of the Aurora, countries, Sweden and the Netherlands have the highest proportion of researchers in the private sector, with also France, Germany and Flemish Belgium above OECD average. In the other countries, the private sector is a less – sometimes much less – important place for researchers.

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