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The Rationale for Higher Education Investment in Ibero-America

Listed author(s):
  • José Joaquín Brunner
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    A key higher education policy question is about the financing of this sector. Who, why and how higher education should be paid for are debated around the world by governments, the academic community, students, experts and civil society. This is true of Ibero-America. The meetings of their heads of state or governments have, on various occasions, pronounced on this issue. And within the institutions themselves and on the streets of the principal cities in the region, students and professors have voiced their demands for greater funding. This document advocates the need for shared higher education funding – between the state and the private sector, (including students and their families), in a proportion that corresponds approximately to the private and social benefits generated. The proposed public/private cost allocation (1:1) is based on econometric calculations of the respective benefits generated by tertiary education, with approximately one half of the total being private benefits and the other half social benefits and public externalities. From this it follows that HEIs should be funded in the same proportion, diversifying their sources so that the state (taxpayers) and the private sector (households or families, students and graduates) provide 50% each. But the above only makes sense if higher education can ensure that it provides the anticipated private and social benefits and public externalities. The bottlenecks that stand in the way of achieving these expectations have to be removed. So the State should allocate resources in terms of reaching these objectives, and implement policies that encourage institutions to reach the proposed outcomes and standards. Un point central du débat sur les politiques d’éducation supérieure ou tertiaire a trait au financement de ce secteur. Trois questions majeures alimentent les discussions entre gouvernements, chercheurs, étudiants, experts et membres de la société civile à travers le monde : qui doit financer, pour qui et comment. Et l’Amérique latine ne fait pas exception. Les chefs d’État et de gouvernement se sont prononcés à plusieurs reprises sur ce sujet lors des sommets ibéroaméricains. Les enceintes universitaires et les pavés des rues des principales villes de la région ont également servi de tribune aux étudiants et professeurs réclamant davantage de moyens financiers pour les universités. Le document présent plaide pour un partage du financement du système éducatif supérieur entre l’État et les particuliers, c’est-à-dire les étudiants et leurs familles, en fonction des bénéfices privés et sociaux générés. Le modèle de distribution des coûts (1:1) entre le privé et le public s’appuie sur le calcul économétrique des bénéfices respectifs générés, qui se partage de façon égale entre bénéfices privés et bénéfices sociaux ou externalités publiques. La conclusion qui découle de cette analyse consiste à suggérer une diversification des sources de financement des Institutions d’éducation supérieure (IES) de manière à garantir un partage égal des coûts entre l’État (les contributeurs) et les particuliers (ménages ou familles et étudiantes/diplômés). Ceci n’est valable bien entendu qu’à condition que le système éducatif fonctionne de façon optimale et génère effectivement les bénéfices attendus par les individus et la société. Les obstacles qui entravent un tel fonctionnement doivent être levés. Il est du ressort de l’État d’allouer les ressources nécessaires pour parvenir à ces objectifs, et de mettre en oeuvre des politiques publiques qui permettent aux institutions de répondre aux exigences et standards proposés.

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    Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Development Centre Working Papers with number 319.

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    Date of creation: 29 Aug 2013
    Handle: RePEc:oec:devaaa:319-en
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