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Home > Education > Higher Education Accueil

Higher Education 

The demand for higher education has never been greater as universities compete globally to attract students. But are students opting for private or public institutions? To what extent will they pursue their education abroad? Which fields of study are most popular among men and women? These are just some of the questions facing policymakers looking to expand and diversify their national tertiary education systems.


What is the role of the UIS?


Based on its annual data collection, the UIS produces a range of indicators to track trends in tertiary education at the global, regional and national levels. These data include: enrolment and graduation ratios disaggregated by sex and type of programme; enrolment rates in private and public institutions; and graduates by field of study.


In addition, the UIS has developed a series of unique indicators to track the flows of foreign or mobile students. Mobile students are defined as those who study in foreign countries where they are not permanent residents.


It is important to note that many countries are unable to provide precise data on their tertiary education systems. In response, the UIS works closely with national statisticians – through training workshops and diagnostic studies – to improve the collection and quality of these data.

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 Enrolment patterns


The veritable boom in tertiary education is reflected by the gross enrolment ratio (GER). However, a closer look at the data (through the gender parity index) shows that nearly every country in the world is facing gender disparities. Women have the advantage globally but remain effectively excluded from this level of education in many countries with very low rates of tertiary participation. Another key factor shaping enrolment patterns is the rise in the private tertiary sector, which is also captured by UIS data.

Tertiary graduates by field of study


How many tertiary students actually complete a first degree? What fields of study do they pursue? Are women moving into fields traditionally dominated by men, such as science and computing? The following indicators provide detailed information on graduation patterns.

Additional resources:


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