Trends in Pathways to Postsecondary Education
The first, in a three part series, this paper examines a number of OECD jurisdictions, mainly the UK, Switzerland and Germany, and their strategies to enhance participation in and movement within education systems. It looks specifically at how nations encourage participation by individuals, businesses, industries, and local governments in skills development, education, and training.
The report finds that there are many similarities in how the main three comparator jurisdictions approach optimizing the labour market through education and training initiatives. National strategies that balance student choice and provider responsiveness are seen as key to ensuring the skills and competencies supplied through postsecondary education are valuable in the labour market. Each jurisdiction strives to engage employers in business and industry in discussions with providers and governments to ensure that they skills developed suit the local market needs.
Providing information and support to students is seen as particularly important for developing pathways into university. All three nations are also employing or exploring the use of financial incentives to encourage adults to return to education. In addition, they are supporting diverse pathways through the levels of education rather than focusing on university education alone.
The goal of these strategies is to develop a workforce that is equipped with the skills, competencies and knowledge needed for success in the labour market of the knowledge based economy.
Mary Catharine Lennon is a Policy Analyst at HEQCO and a PhD Candidate in Theory and Policy Studies in Higher Education at OISE/UT. She holds degrees from Simon Fraser University and Queens’ University. Her background in the field of higher education includes positions with the Association of Commonwealth Universities; the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada; and with numerous university council and student group associations.