Higher education research

Publication Date



Higher education, Vocational education and training, Best practice, International comparisons, Education systems, Performance, Governance, Funding


This report is designed to review high performing tertiary systems internationally (Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom, Korea, Singapore and New Zealand) and compare these systems to Australia. This review highlights best practice in international tertiary education systems as well as system weaknesses by considering the following criteria for each country of interest: Tertiary education system performance, including participation, attainment, labour market outcomes, and public and private returns for tertiary education; The national context, including the shape of the broader education system, and relevant demographic and economic characteristics; The structure of tertiary education systems, including linkages between higher education and vocational education and training; Tertiary education qualifications, types of institutions and admissions requirements; Governance, accreditation and quality assurance; and Funding. The report also includes an investigation of tertiary governance structures and considerations as they relate to the interaction between VET and higher education sectors. Findings from the report are intended to inform the Commonwealth Department of Education’s tertiary education policy and improve understanding of critical attributes demonstrated by high performing tertiary systems to support the work of the Australian Universities Accord panel.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Place of Publication

Canberra, Australia


Australian Government Department of Education



Geographic Subject

Australia, Germany, Korea, South, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, United Kingdom