Brussels, 22 May 2014
Information gaps holding back higher education in many EU countries
Not enough countries are using the information they collect on higher education to improve their universities and the opportunities they offer for students. This is shown in a Eurydice report published today. The report 'Modernisation of Higher Education in Europe: Access, Retention and Employability' investigates what governments and higher education institutions are doing to widen access to higher education, increase the number of students that complete higher education (retention), and give guidance to students on entering the labour market (employability). More than 30 countries took part in the survey - all EU Member States, with the exception of Luxembourg and the Netherlands, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, Norway and Turkey.
"Higher education needs to do more to respond to areas of weakness: for example, we want to encourage more diversity in the student population. Universities need to attract more disadvantaged students, especially people from low-income backgrounds, with disabilities, of migrant status or different ethnicities. As well as inspiring greater diversity, relevant data can help us to better assess the impact of our policy priorities and to alter course where necessary. We must move to a more proactive use of data and feedback to inform decision making," said Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.
The report shows that:
Figure 1: Changes in the diversity of students in higher education, 2002/03-2012/13
The Modernisation of Higher Education in Europe: Access, Retention and Employability examines policy and practice related to the student experience of higher education through three stages: access, which requires awareness of the offer of higher education, the requirements to be admitted, and the process of admission; progression through the study programme, including support that may be provided when problems are encountered; and transition from higher education into the labour market.
The Commission's Agenda for Modernisation of Higher Education underlines the issues of flexible pathways into higher education; how to assure effectiveness and efficiency in higher education; and provision of employable skills to students for easy transfer to the labour market after graduation.
The Eurydice Network's task is to understand and explain how Europe's different education systems are organised and how they work. The network provides descriptions of national education systems, comparative studies devoted to specific topics, indicators and statistics. All Eurydice publications are available free of charge on the Eurydice website or in print upon request. Through its work, Eurydice aims to promote understanding, cooperation, trust and mobility at European and international levels. The network consists of national units located in European countries and is co-ordinated by the EU Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency. For more information about Eurydice, see http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice.
For more information
European Commission: Education and training
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