Thematic review of tertiary education: The Netherlands, country note


The Country Note on the Netherlands forms part of the OECD Thematic Review of Tertiary Education. This is a collaborative project to assist countries in the design and implementation of tertiary education policies that contribute to the realisation of their social and economic objectives.
The tertiary education systems of many OECD countries have experienced rapid growth over the last decade, and are experiencing new pressures as the result of a globalising economy and labour market. In this context, the OECD Education Committee agreed, in late 2003, to carry out a major thematic review of tertiary education. The principal objective of the review is to assist countries in understanding how the organisation, management and delivery of tertiary education can help them to achieve their economic and social objectives. The principal focus of the review is upon tertiary education policies and systems, rather than upon the detailed management and operation of institutions.
The purposes of the review are:

  • To synthesise research-based evidence on the impact of tertiary education policies and disseminate this knowledge among participating countries;
  • To identify innovative and successful policy initiatives and practices;
  • To facilitate exchanges of lessons and experiences among countries; and
  • To identify policy options.

The review encompasses the full range of tertiary programmes and institutions. The project involves two complementary approaches: an Analytical Review strand; and a Country Review strand. The Analytical Review strand uses several means – country background reports, literature reviews, data analyses and commissioned papers – to analyse the factors that shape the outcomes in tertiary education systems, and possible policy responses. All of the 24 countries involved in the Review are taking part in this strand. In addition, 13 of the tertiary education systems have chosen to participate in a Country Review, which involves external review teams analysing tertiary education policies in those countries.

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Simon Marginson, Thomas Weko (OECD), Nicola Channon (UK), Terttu Luukkonen (Finland) and Jon Oberg (USA)
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD