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Information gaps holding back higher education in many EU countries

May 22, 2014 | News

(22 May 2014) – 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. The report shows that:

  • Although many countries collect information about their student populations, data analysis is often not linked to concrete objectives.
  • Very few countries (BE(fl), IE, FR, LT, MT, FI and the UK (Scotland)) have set targets for improving access to higher education for people from underrepresented groups such as low-income backgrounds.
  • About half of European higher education systems have bridging programmes for entrants not coming directly from secondary education (BE, CZ, DK, DE, IE, FR, AT, PL, PT, SI, SE, SK, UK, IS, HR) and award higher education credits that recognise the value of students’ prior learning (also ES, IT, LI, FI, NO).
  • A significant number of countries do not systematically calculate completion and/or drop-out rates..
  • Graduate tracking information is as yet rarely used to develop higher education policies.

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