Mass Tertiary Education, Higher Education Standard and University Reform: A Theoretical Analysis
After the "3+2" University reform in Italy there has been a fast increase in the number of students. A common wisdom is that this result was partly achieved by reducing the standard of Higher Education (HE). In this paper we first build a theoretical model in which individuals decide whether to enrol in HE along with their optimal course quality, and whether to dropout. Then, we use the model to analyse the effect of a reduction in the standards of HE courses available in the educational system on overall enrollment and drop-out. We show that a reduction in HE standard helps achieving a mass tertiary education by increasing both the number of students and that of university graduates but it does not necessarily increase the overall efficiency of the HE system measured in terms of drop-out or graduation rates.
ability, drop-out, enrolment, italy, reform, standard, university
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