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60% - Why, what, how? Presentation at the OECD-IMHE General Conference 2012


jesper risom

on 19 January 2017

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Transcript of 60% - Why, what, how? Presentation at the OECD-IMHE General Conference 2012

>provides academic teaching to student and consultancy to employer
>pays total appr. half of normal salary
40% of half-salary
>earn salary
+state grant
- Why? What? How?
Theme 5: What does the future hold for mass higher education?
Presentation at the OECD-IMHE General Conference 2012
Jesper Risom
Danish Agency for Universities and Internationalisation
Why 60?
A country’s increasing demand for
high-skilled labour can generally be met in two ways
1) When a larger share of the population obtains a relevant tertiary education through the implementation of national educational targets (e.g 60%).

2) Or by attracting high-skilled labour from abroad.
But why this consensus?
Is more education always for the better?
Denmark is not the only OECD country with ambitious educational targets

Ireland has a target of 60% and the U.S. has a target to increase the college degree attainment rate from 40 to 60% by 2020 (Obama’s objective)

And one country, Korea (63 %) is already there
– at least for the 25-34 age group (OECD 2011).
High private economic and $ocio-economic return$
Yield calculations generally show that there is a positive return on higher education.
But the calculations also show that there are significant differences in returns to different education/training groups. Private returns are for instance especially high for Master’s level educations.
Education prevents unemployment
– a strong argument during a crisis!
– The Danish “profile model”
How and what to measure?
What 60%
(realised completion)
(predicted completion)
>look at actually historic achieved level of education among for example, the 25-34 year olds (like EAG)
> estimate the expected ultimate level of education for a youth cohort, given that the education system will continue to operate in the same way as it did in the given year
an estimation of which course of study future youth cohorts will take over the next 25 years after completing lower secondary school (form 9) in 2010, assuming that the educational behaviour of a cohort throughout the period corresponds to the behaviour in the educational system during the year when the cohort in question completed form 9.
(age 24-34, 2009 data)
DK= 45%
(form 9 the next 25 years, 2010 data)
DK = 54%
Source: Ministry of Children and Education, Denmark 2012, profile model
Source: Education at a Glance, 2011, Table A1.3a
Population with tertiary education divided by age groups (2009)
Estimates of the expected ultimate level of education for youth cohorts in Denmark (1990-2010)
Effects of current policy?
Growth in Danish higher education
Sharply! increasing intake in Danish higher education
The effect of business cycles is to some extent also visible in the graph
2007 to 2011 intake is +36%
Applicants, intake and rejected in absolute numbers (1977-2012)
Source: Coordinated Enrolment System, Denmark
- also prospectively?
Supports (high) growth in the future estimates
In 2010 there were 215,170 students enrolled in higher education in Denmark
SHORT-cycle tertiary = 20,742 (10%)
MEDIUM-cycle tertiary = 136,745 (64%)
hereof 69,136 (32 % of total) in three to four-year non-university professional BA programmes
Three-year university BA programmes = 65,765 (31% of total)
Two-year LONG-cycle Master’s programmes 57,683 (27%)
HOW 60%
The HOW question can lead us in different directions....
In Denmark, expected tertiary completion among boys is only 47% , while females are at 60% .
This pattern of males lagging behind is also found in many other OECD countries.
2. Focus on how we can upgrade more people in the workforce to higher education, and hence look at
life-long learners’
contribution to the 60% target? (This is also included in profile model estimates)
3. Focus on the general sustainability of the
funding mechanism
and ask; (how) can a
country (like Denmark) really afford to almost entirely publicly finance completion rates at 60 %?

And is it really just a matter of “send more money”?
1. Focus on
student behaviour
and ask; what measures/initiatives can encourage more students to attend and complete higher education?
Especially among males, students from a low social background (”non-traditionals”)
Student behaviour
Life long learners
Is the Danish public funded higher education system in a financial pinch?
Denmark is, together with Norway, the only OECD country that spends more than 2% of GDP on tertiary education. Denmark has the second highest public expenditure of 2.2% of GDP (OECD average is 1.3%).
For the education system as a whole, Denmark spends 7.7% of GDP
This means that rising intake “automatically” results in increased funding for the additional cost.

However, this “automatisation” is challenged to some extent due to the steeply rising intake and public budget stress as a result of the financial crisis.
Strong political desire to improve the quality of higher education
On the surface it is primarily a request for providing more taught hours for humanities/social sciences at universities.
Danish HE-system is primarily based on taximeter-funding
A decrease in the average educational appropriations per student due to the steeply rising intake can lead to decline in the quality of education - which is not politically acceptable.

But neither are tuition fees.
Faster student completion to release public funds
The latter however implicitly assumes that students can actually find a job shortly after graduation (a disputable premise in times of crisis).
Significant economic benefits in having students complete their education faster/earlier than they do today.

Both in terms of saving public funds (grant costs) and generating benefits from making the student spend more time in “working life”.
Expected average time-delay from the end of 9th grade until completion of the first job qualifying education, divided by educational level, months (2010)
Source: Ministry of Children and Education, Denmark 2012, profile model
+ 40 months!
Estimated potential
= 10-20% of total public spending of 2.2% of GDP
But not easy (in short/medium term)
But even if we (through smaller reforms) can find the public funds to keep the system as it is, and “upscale” the Danish business model of higher education towards 60% – do we really want to?

Can our system achieve the goals we want, and is it future-proof?
"The student who thinks he has finally graduated - is more outdated than educated!"
Labour market will change rapidly and increase demand for flexibility, the concepts of lifelong learning are crucial.

It is therefore appropriate to think of education in broader terms than a one-off qualification.
In Education at a Glance 2011, Denmark ranks fourth last in the OECD in terms of private contributions to higher education (less than 5%, OECD average is 30%).

In Sweden, for example, the contribution is 10% (Norway and Finland are on a par with Denmark). And virtually the entire private contribution in Sweden comes from industry (OECD, EAG 2011).
Denmark ranks low internationally for private contributions to higher education
When government funds are generally under pressure, this places the public funded HE sector in a financial pinch:
So what are the options?
Increasing cooperation between industry and educational institutions combined with a political desire to create more public-private partnerships. And the desire from business to help shape graduates is increasing.
As is probably also the willingness to pay for it
> opens up the tripartite relationship between industry, educational institutions and students
A new Danish way forward?
Changing skills
>The tripartite partnership model
>The tripartite partnership model
1. De facto there are no tuition fees for the student.
2. Educational level is not shortened - the student still obtains a five-year MA (candidatus) in accordance with applicable requirements
3. The student still has a permanent connection to the university and take part in classes
4. It builds on existing contracts and best practices
5. It consumes no additional public funds
6. All 3 parties have economic incentives to conclude the agreement
The premise of the model is that
25 hours
60% of half-salary
(7-10 hours)
Denmark - an extreme case?
> 60% in 2020 completely publicly funded
> I deal with the first way
In determining the "optimal level" of education in a society, it is greatly important that the last-educated is of sufficiently high quality as the first, or whether there is a declining marginal utility of an ever increasing level of education due to the fact that students' academic backgrounds are becoming weaker.

This challenges the notion that more young people completing education is a goal in itself. Instead, one must question the quality of education and what we get for our investment in education - especially in times of crisis.
>Danish students in the field of humanities and social science have on average 7-10 hours/week of taught lessons at graduate level, one of the lowest amounts in the EU (Eurostudent IV).
In reality, it’s a deeper discussion of what actually constitutes “quality” and “good teaching”?
>average completion age for a Master’s degree is currently 28 years in Denmark
Life long learning 2.0

>The Danish Ministry of Finance finds evidence of a diminishing return on education, and therefore a less favourable socio-economic sustainability effect of increased educational attainment.
>Do we produce educational graduates of high quality and great innovative force, or do we pursue a lowest common denominator, in order to achieve the quantitative targets?
Education is costly – another strong argument during a crisis!
And since there are differences in societal costs and benefits of the various programs/education groups, the question about education choice, quality and WHAT? we are educating become central.
Marginal declining utility?
No tuition fees + extensive public grants
3 key points
Demand driven system
1. Important to know WHAT 60%
2. Important to rethink "student life" and "working life" (LLL)
3. Explore new ways of providing HE in Denmark
Can Denmark achieve the goal of 60% without comprimising quality?
particularly high for short-cycle (+64%) and somewhat lower for medium-cycle (+42%) and long-cycle (+24%)
Thank you
Full transcript