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Meeting of OECD education ministers: Conclusions

Ministers of education from OECD countries and invited observers met in Athens on 27th and 28th June 2006 to discuss issues related to quality, equity and efficiency in higher education as well as funding. The meeting concluded with a summary from the chair, the Greek Minister of National Education and Religious Affairs Mrs Marietta Giannakou. Although different points of view were put forward, the ministers agreed that a major programme of reform is needed in higher education, particularly in six areas:

  • Funding: Although there were different points of view regarding the issue of higher education financing, with some countries being against charging tuition fees, the OECD Secretariat believes that graduates should contribute to the cost of their tuition, balanced by measures to support students from poor backgrounds.
  • More equitable education: Access to higher education needs to be widened to benefit all social groups
  • Better evidence of learning outcomes needs to be developed. The OECD Secretary-General appealed for a mandate for a PISA for higher education led by the OECD.
  • Promote responsiveness and diversity: Institutions should be made more accountable for quality and outcomes.
  • Research and innovation: The ministers recognised the important role of higher education institutions in generating new knowledge and contributing to innovations. They concluded that financing for research, both from public and private sources, should be strengthened, and closer links between science and industry should be established.
  • Migration and internationalisation: Given the growing student and academic staff mobility, OECD countries agreed that they should develop coherent responses to this phenomenon by looking at immigration policies as well as at higher education policies. Efforts should be made to minimise the risk of unilateral brain drain and make sure that both sending and receiving countries can benefit from brain circulation.
Meeting of OECD Education ministers 2006 - Chair's summary