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ERIC Number: ED587026
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Pages: 83
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: 978-9-2798-0311-6
Promoting the Relevance of Higher Education. Main Report
Vossensteyn, Hans; Kolster, Renze; Kaiser, Frans; File, Jon; Huisman, Jeroen; Seeber, Marco; Vukasovic, Martina; Muehleck, Kai; Gwosc, Christoph
European Commission
Europe's knowledge economies need high-level skills, the capacity to innovate and to support democratic societies. In this perspective, the main objective of this study is to provide a comprehensive analysis of the relevance of higher education and how this is promoted in various countries in Europe and beyond. The evidence, conclusions and recommendations are intended to support European Union (EU) Member States in developing and improving policies that promote the relevance of higher education: for students; for graduates; for employers; and for society. On the basis of a review of relevant literature, policy documents and databases, consultation with national experts and eight in-depth country case studies (Canada [Ontario], the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain) that included interviews with many national stakeholders, this study seeks to answer the following questions: (1) How is the relevance of higher education defined in different member states; (2) Which policy levers do member states use to promote higher education relevance; (3) Which national policies concerning higher education relevance appear to be effective and good practice examples; (4) Which indicators are informative in assessing higher education relevance at system level; and (5) How can an analytic and diagnostic tool be designed and developed that can provide a systematic assessment of the relevance of higher education systems? Key findings include the following: (1) Higher education is relevant when it contributes to personal development, sustainable employment and active citizenship; (2) Countries utilise a variety of policies to address higher education relevance; (3) Insight into the impact and effectiveness of HE relevance policies is limited; (4) Higher education relevance is assessed by many different indicators across Europe, however, the information gathered is scattered and its value not realised by most stakeholders; and (5) An analytic and diagnostic tool can be used to monitor national performance in higher education relevance and to stimulate transparency and policy debate. Based on the outcomes of this study, a number of recommendations are presented for national and EU policy-makers to promote the relevance of higher education. Recommendations include: (1) Governments should develop more explicit policy designs to boost relevance; (2) Stimulate the collection of evidence on the effectiveness of higher education relevance policies, and monitor, share and adopt successful policy practices; and (3) Governments as well as the European Commission should stimulate the collection of more robust data on the relevance of higher education. A bibliography is provided. [Related reports include: (1) "Promoting the Relevance of Higher Education. Executive Summary," ED586993; (2) "Promoting the Relevance of Higher Education. Annex 1: Country Case Studies," ED587043; (3) "Promoting the Relevance of Higher Education. Annex 2: Literature Study and Indicator Review," ED587045; and (4) "Promoting the Relevance of Higher Education. Annex 3: Country Fiches," ED587046.]
European Commission. Available from: EU Bookshop. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Numerical/Quantitative Data
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: European Commission; University of Twente (The Netherlands), Center for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS); Centre for Higher Education Governance Ghent (CHEGG) (Belgium); German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW)
Identifiers - Location: Canada; Czech Republic; Denmark; France; Germany; Ireland; Netherlands; Spain; Europe