Increasing equity through diverse entry pathways into higher education

Furiv, Uliana; Martin, Michaela
English, French
IIEP policy brief. Flexible learning pathways in higher education, 1
Tertiary education

Online version

About the publication

The rapid worldwide expansion of enrolment in higher education (HE) has led to greater diversity among students, with more first-generation learners, HE returnees, and disadvantaged groups. Yet, inequalities in participation persist and have worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. The implementation of flexible learning pathways (FLPs) can help HE systems adapt to diverse learners’ needs, offering them a greater choice and removing barriers to their access and progression in HE. FLPs are also important for achieving the United Nations Education 2030 Agenda, which calls for articulated education systems with multiple entry and exit pathways that recognize formal, non-formal, and informal learning. To investigate the effectiveness of FLPs in HE and highlight good practices to promote them, IIEP conducted a research project on ‘SDG 4: Planning flexible learning pathways in higher education’ between 2018 and 2021. The study included:  a stocktaking exercise on international policies and good practice, an international survey of regulatory frameworks and tools, and eight country studies examining the effectiveness of FLP policies. Drawing on the research findings, this policy brief aims to support national and institutional policy-makers in choosing FLP policies to ensure equitable and effective HE systems.