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IAU Lynx - April 2018


April 2018

IAU Lynx offers a monthly overview of higher education developments around the world. It covers new policies, initiatives and projects on various higher education topics. The information is classified by international, regional, bilateral and national initiatives.

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UNESCO / APQN-INQAAHE / GWI / Commonwealth / Commonwealth Academies


Gender Review
UNESCO has released the Global Education Monitoring Report Gender Review 2018: Meeting our Commitments to Gender Equality in Education. The report examines disparities in participation and skills, infrastructure and curricula. It also analyses institutions, laws and policies to advance gender equality in education.


UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education - Call for nominations
The Call for nominations is now open for the annual UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education that honours outstanding and innovative contributions made by individuals, institutions and organizations to advance girls’ and women’s education. Deadline: 11 May 2018.

ICTs in Education - 2017 UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize
The 2017 UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for outstanding projects that make innovative use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in education was awarded to two projects in India and Morocco. The awards ceremony took place on 7 March 2018 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.

UNESCO Bangkok
A new report Positioning ICT in Education to Achieve the Education 2030 Agenda in Asia and the Pacific features comprehensive data on the current situation of ICT in education in countries in the Asia-Pacific and provides recommendations for a regional strategy on integrating ICTs into education systems to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4).

On 7 - 9 March, UNESCO Beirut, in collaboration with the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), held a second meeting in Rabat, Morocco, to follow-up on the revision process of the Regional Convention on the Recognition of Higher Education Diplomas and Certificates in the Arab Region.

The UNESCO project Strengthening Quality Assurance in Higher Education in Africa was officially launched at country level in Gambia on 16 February. The project aims to strengthen higher education systems at the institutional, national and regional levels in African countries by developing quality assurance mechanisms.

UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa
On February 25 - 26, UNESCO and the Ministry of Education in Rwanda held a consultative workshop on the development of a National Framework for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and Open Educational Resources (OER). The workshop identified a strategy for the use of MOOCs and OER locally, technical requirements, and staff required.

UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP)
The Strategic Debate: Higher Education as a Common Good held in Paris on 12 March presented international trends and discussed whether higher education is a common good in the era of the Sustainable Development Goals. The Video and Presentations of the event have been released.

-  Asia-Pacific Quality Network (APQN) - International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE)
APQN and INQAAHE have launched two surveys as part of a partnership project on Quality Assurance: Internal and External Quality Assurance Landscape. The project aims to improve the establishment of quality culture in the Asia-Pacific Region and other regions. One survey is for higher education institutions (HEIs) and the second should be completed by quality assurance agencies (QAAs).

- The Commonwealth
Delegations from 34 Member States gathered at the 20th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers themed Sustainability and Resilience: Can Education Deliver in Nadi, Fiji, on 19 - 23 February. Member States adopted the Nadi Declaration which recognises the importance of investing in higher education and strengthening educational partnerships.

- The Commonwealth Academies of Science
A Statement on Climate Change was launched in March by 22 national academies and societies of science from around the Commonwealth, ahead of next month’s Commonwealth summit in the United Kingdom. It calls on the Commonwealth Heads of Government to use the best available science to guide action on climate change.

- Graduate Women International (GWI)
On International Women’s Day, 8 March, GWI released a Statement about the persistence of gender stereotypes and gender disparities in the media.

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Africa - Americas - Arab States - Asia & Pacific - Europe

- Africa

African Academy of Sciences
Africa Beyond 2030
Africa Beyond 2030 : Leveraging Knowledge and Innovation to Secure Sustainable Development Goals has been released by the African Academy of Sciences. The report finds that progress regarding investment in research and development in the past decade has been mixed across the continent. It recommends that African countries improve the quality and relevance of their national STI policy frameworks to sharpen focus on social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.

Mobility funding
The African Academy of Sciences has announced two mobility funds, the Science and Language Mobility Scheme Africa and the Africa India Mobility Fund (AIMF), aimed at increasing scientific collaboration among African and Indian researchers. The funding, of almost US$500,000, will provide travel grants for short term visits to about 100 researchers from African and Indian universities and research institutes.

Conseil Africain et Malgache pour l’Enseignement Supérieur (CAMES)
CAMES has opened the recruitment process for the post of Director for Administrative and Financial Affairs which is to be filled from 19 February 2019. Closing date for applications: 15 May 2018

- Americas

Unión de Universidades de América Latina (UDUAL)
Academic integration and cooperation
UDUAL organised its first meeting on Integration and Cooperation (Primer Encuentro de Integración y Cooperación) on 15 - 16 March at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). This event gathered 75 representatives from higher education institutions across Latin America to establish new strategies to strengthen academic partnerships between universities.

Revistas Universidades
The latest issue of UDUAL’s quarterly journal, Revistas Universidades, has been released. It deals with multifaceted inequalities in higher education.

Regional Conference on Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean 2018 (CRES 2018)
Specialists of the CRES 2018 axe on the Strategic Role of Higher Education in Sustainable Development met in Bogota, Colombia on 21 - 22 February. Participants presented outcomes of their research and discussed public policies, autonomy and governance; virtual higher education; and opportunities for employment.

- Arab States

Partnership Framework Agreement ISESCO and UNDP
A Partnership Framework Agreement was signed between the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), an IAU Member, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) at the 7th General Conference of the Federation of the Universities of the Islamic World (FUIW) held in Rabat, Morocco in February. The Agreement provides for cooperation in promoting cultural heritage, achievement of sustainable development, extended regionalism, democratic governance and South-South cooperation.

- Asia & Pacific

Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization, Regional Training Center in Vietnam (SEAMEO RETRAC)
SEAMEO RETRAC has released a call for submissions for the 2018 International Conference entitled Leadership and Management in Higher Education in a Globalized World: Innovations and Best Practices, to be held July 5 - 6 2018 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Deadline for abstract submissions is April 20 2018.

Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization - Regional Centre for Higher Education and Development (SEAMEO RIHED)
The 1st SEAMEO Centre’s Policy Research Network Task Force (SEA-CPRN) Meeting was held on 20 - 21 February in Bangkok, Thailand. The Policy Research Network was established to enhance the relevance and the responsiveness of SEAMEO to the needs of education leaders for policy research to address human resource development issues in Southeast Asia.

- Europe

Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO)
The five ministers in charge of higher education in the Benelux have signed an agreement on the automatic mutual recognition of associate degree and PhD qualifications.. Since 2015 this agreement has existed for Bachelor and Master degrees. The Benelux is the only region in Europe where automatic recognition has entered into force.

European University Association (EUA)
Women in academia
In the context of International Women’s Day, EUA has released infographics on the situation of women in academia. It shows that just 12% of rectors among the 47 EUA member countries are female.

Open access survey report
The Open Access Survey Report 2016-2017 is now available online. The results show the increasing commitment from European universities in implementing Open Access policies for research publications. EUA has also launched its 2017-2018 Open Access Survey.

Funding forum - Call for Papers
A call for papers has been launched for the 4th EUA Funding Forum. The conference will be hosted by Ramon Llull University in Barcelona, Spain, on 18 - 19 October 2018. Contributions should be related to university funding and management. Deadline to submit online proposals: 30 April 2018.

Enhancing Quality Through Innovative Policy and Practice (EQUIP)
An outcome report and a webinar are now available for the Enhancing Quality Through Innovative Policy and Practice (EQUIP) project. The final event for the project, attended by 100 education stakeholders across Europe, took place on 27 February in Brussels. It focused on the presentation of effective and innovative ways to use the revised Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area.

Nordic Council of Ministers
The Swedish Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers has released its main priorities in the area of education and research.

European Research Council
The Spring edition of Idea, the newsletter of the European Research Council, themed Climate Change, is now available online.

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- Hungary-Kazakhstan
The first Kazakh-Hungarian Rectors’ Forum took place on the 28 February at Corvinus University of Budapest, an IAU Member. More than 20 treaties and agreements on cooperation and exchange programmes for students and faculty between universities were signed.

- Morocco-Spain
The Conference of Moroccan University Presidents and Crue Universidades Españolas met in Spain on 9 January to discuss ways to strengthen cooperation between both countries. Moroccan representatives also requested the assistance of Crue in establishing relationships with Latin America.

- Japan-Switzerland
Representatives from higher education institutions and funding agencies in Switzerland met with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and research institutions in Japan on 28 February in Tokyo to further strengthen scientific and technological cooperation and gauge additional possibilities for cooperation.

- France-Argentina
The French Embassy in Argentina and the Argentine Ministry of Education through Secretaría de Políticas Universitarias (SPU) held a training seminar on France’s official Massive Open Online Courses platform ‘FUN MOOC’. This platform offers innovative teaching and learning methods using digital and online tools that could be applied in Argentina.

- Germany-Mexico
The Asociación Nacional de Universidades e Instituciones de Educación Superior (ANUIES) and the Rectors Conference of Baden-Württemberg region (HAW BW) concluded a cooperation agreement on education and research in the field of applied sciences.

- India-France
The first high-level India-France Knowledge Summit 2018 concluded with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Mutual Recognition of Educational Qualifications between the two countries. In addition, 15 MoUs were signed between various Indian and French institutions in research, innovation, faculty exchange and scientific cooperation.

- Indonesia-Australia
During the 3rd Australia-Indonesia Joint Working Group on Research and Education, held in Jakarta on 7 March, both countries agreed to further collaborate in higher education to support institutional mobility, quality assurance, research linkages, mobility and institutional partnerships.

- Sweden-Rwanda
Sida, the Swedish development agency, has announced a call for proposals for five-year partnerships between the University of Rwanda and Swedish universities to strengthen institutional research capacity at the University of Rwanda.

- Tajikistan- Uzbekistan
In a joint statement, the Presidents of the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan both committed to enhance cooperation in the area of education and science, including through strengthening cooperation between higher education institutions and academies of sciences of both countries.

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Algeria Australia Brunei Darussalam Canada
China Denmark Egypt Estonia
France Iran Israel Jordan
Lebanon Mexico The Netherlands New Zealand
Nigeria Phlilippines Poland Russian Federation
South Africa South Korea United Arab Emirates United Kingdon
United States Zimbabwe

- Algeria

National conference on universities
At the national conference on universities on 17 March in Algiers, the Minister for Higher Education and Research, Tahar Hadjar, affirmed the support of the government to public universities to increase their visibility and place in international rankings.

- Australia

Recruitment guidelines
Universities Australia has released the Best Practice Recruitment Guidelines that have been developed by the Universities Australia Executive Women’s Group to fast forward the advancement of women in Australian university executive appointments.

Business collaboration
Universities Australia has also released Clever Collaborations: The Strong Business Case for Partnering with Universities, a publication aimed at enticing more firms to collaborate with universities.

Professional accreditation
The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) has welcomed proposed changes to professional accreditation practices made by the Higher Education Standards Panel, which aim to reduce duplication and burden for higher education providers.

Admissions transparency
TEQSA has also released a new resource entitled Advice on Admissions Transparency. The practical guide aims to help higher education providers increase the transparency of admissions practices by making information accessible, consistent and comparable and increasing the accuracy of data.

-  Brunei Darussalam

Strategic Plan 2018 - 2022
The Ministry of Education released the MOE Strategic Plan 2018 - 2022 presenting the Ministry’s strategic objectives, the plan’s structure and its three focus areas - leadership and governance, system-wide support, teaching and learning.

- Canada

Budget 2018
Universities Canada have welcomed the 2018 Budget recently announced by the Government which increases research funding. The budget provides CAN$925 million (EUR 575 million) over five years to the three Canadian Research Councils. An additional CAN$231 million (EUR 143.5 million) is targeted for the Research Support Fund that assists universities with the institutional costs of research and CAN$210 million (EUR 130.5 million) is allocated to the Canada Research Chairs Program.

- China

Supporting and improving higher education in central and western provinces
In early March, the Ministry of Education (MOE) organised an informal round-table session on supporting and improving higher education in central and western provinces. A joint support mechanism was announced between the MOE and the 13 provinces that have no universities under the direct supervision of the MOE. The Minister of Education promised to contribute substantially to addressing imbalances in China’s higher education system by further empowering universities in central and western provinces.

- Denmark

Recovering student debt
The government has presented a new proposal called Stronger Measures to Recover SU Debt Abroad, which contains concrete initiatives on a national and international level that will improve efforts to collect student loan debt from foreign citizens who have left Demark.

Labour market and study places
In a report drawn up by rectors, government officials, academics and business representatives, one of the key recommendations is that the number of study places available in each discipline should be linked to labour market need.

- Egypt

Draft law to reduce the costs of research and promote innovation
The Egyptian parliament has approved a draft law to reduce the costs of research and promote innovation. The bill, passed on 5 March, exempts higher education and scientific research bodies from taxes and customs fees.

- Estonia

Survey on Students
According to a survey commissioned by the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research, the student population is becoming increasingly diverse in terms of age as well as other background characteristics. A fifth of students are aged over 30, one in five students is a parent, and two out of three work and study at the same time.

- France

Gender equity in higher education and research
On 8 March, International Women’s Day, the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation published an infographic brochure which provides an update on gender equity in higher education, research and innovation in France and the European Union.

Orientation and Student Success bill
The French Minister of Higher Education and Research, Frédérique Vidal, delivered a speech on 15 February on the occasion of the joint committee conclusion reading of the Orientation and Student Success bill.

- Iran

Comprehensive teaching at Iranian universities
The Ministry for Science, Research and Technology announced in March that that Iranians residing abroad who are interested in teaching in Iran, can carry out comprehensive teaching at Iranian universities and return to their country of stay.

- Israel

Ethics code
In March, the Council for Higher Education adopted an ethics code promulgated by Education Minister Naftali Bennett. The code prohibits universities from discriminating against students based on their ethnicity, gender, race, or political opinions. It also bans lecturers from supporting boycotts against Israel, a provision which the Association of University Heads has stated infringes on academic freedom. The code is to take effect in 2019.

- Jordan

Recognition of degrees earned at universities overseas
The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research has announced that Jordan will now recognise degrees earned at universities overseas if they are recognised by accreditation agencies in the country concerned.

- Lebanon

Quality Standards and Guidelines
The Ministry of Education and Higher Education and the Universities Association of Lebanon launched the Quality Standards and Guidelines at a ceremony in Beirut on 1 March.

-  Mexico

New evaluation and accreditation standards for higher education programmes
The Mexican Secretariat of Public Education (Secretaría de Educación Pública) and accreditation bodies agreed on setting up new evaluation and accreditation standards for higher education programmes.

- The Netherlands

Automatic recognition of qualifications
In 2015, the ministers of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) committed themselves in the Yerevan Communiqué to make automatic recognition a reality by 2020. To achieve this goal Nuffic, the Dutch organisation for internationalisation in education, has released its recommendations to support ENIC-NARIC centres and national governments to develop policies on the implementation of automatic recognition.

International students
Nuffic has released its findings on the international student population in the Netherlands which show that there are 122,000 international students in the Netherlands this academic year. Approximately one in four international students come from outside the European Economic Area (EEA)

- New Zealand

Recognition of micro-credentials
The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) has developed proposals to recognise micro-credentials, alongside qualifications, within New Zealand’s education and training system from July 2018. A consultation paper has been released to collect feedback on the proposals. Contributions can be sent until 13 April 2018.

- Nigeria

Technology hubs
The federal government has revealed plans to create technology hubs in Nigerian universities across the country as a means of promoting science and technology development.

- Philippines

Free higher education under the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act
In February, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) authorised - after conducting institutional and programme evaluation - 78 Local Universities and Colleges to offer free higher education under the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act of 2017 as of academic year 2018 - 2019.

- Poland

The Polish government has adopted plans to reform the country’s higher education system. Jarosław Gowin, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Science and Higher Education, said that the reforms would increase university autonomy. Under the planned changes accepted in March, funding for higher education next year will be increased by PLN 700 million (EUR 165m).

- Russian Federation

Simplified visa application and immigration policy for international students
Russia has introduced a simplified visa application and immigration policy for international students. Since January 2018, students of Russian language and university preparation courses do not have to leave the country to apply for a visa. This policy change is a part of the federal priority project entitled Development of the Export Potential of Russian Higher Education. Launched in 2017, the project aims to develop international study programmes and improve the existing legislative regulations for international students.

- South Africa

Higher Education and Young South Africans
Going to University: The Influence of Higher Education on the Lives of Young South Africans has been published by African Minds. The online book reports on a study based on in-depth interviews with 73 young people who started university studies in South Africa six years before.

- South Korea

4th University Policy Forum
The 4th University Policy Forum took place at the Seoul Office of Education on 23 February in order to structure a fair and simple university admission policy. All presentations and discussions will be uploaded on the Ministry of Education’s website and ‘On Education’, the new e-platform for communicating about education-related matters.

- United Arab Emirates

List of accredited higher education institutions and programmes
The Ministry of Education has published a list of higher education institutions and programmes in the country which are accredited by the Ministry.

- United Kingdom

New universities regulator and framework
The new Regulatory Framework for Higher Education in England was launched by Sam Gyimah, Minister for Higher Education on 28 February at the inaugural conference of the universities regulator, the Office for Students (OfS).

Freedom of speech in Universities
On 27 March, the House of Commons and House of Lords Joint Select Committee on Human Rights released a report on Freedom of speech in Universities. It is based on an official enquiry into students’ experience of freedom of speech in universities in the UK, particularly in England. It focuses on the ability of students, student societies and student unions to invite external speakers and organise events at universities.

Higher education demand and fees
The Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) has published two reports:
- Demand for Higher Education to 2030 which estimates that an additional 300,000 higher education places in England will be needed over the next decade, representing a 25% increase in demand.
- Differential Tuition Fees: Horses for Courses? addresses the debate about differential tuition fees in UK higher education. It includes the results of a survey among students.

Widening access Scotland - Ministerial Statement
In a Ministerial Statement on Widening Access to Higher Education in the Scottish Parliament on 6 March, Higher Education Minister, Shirley-Anne Somerville, said that although progress had been made, universities need to act to ensure that, by 2021, 10 per cent of university entrants are from deprived areas. In response, Universities Scotland reiterated that universities in Scotland are committed to widening access targets for 2030 without reducing opportunities for other well-qualified learners.

Student mental health
Student Mental Health: The Role and Experiences of Academics, a research report by Student Minds, a UK charity, discusses academics’ frontline role in student wellbeing and finds an increase in the prevalence of students with mental health difficulties.

- United States

Government rule on Student loans
On 12 March, Betsy Devos, Secretary of Education, released a new rule on Student Loan Programs and Federal Student Loan Servicers which asserts that federal laws regarding student loan repayments pre-empt state laws. Currently, legislation in many US states require student loan servicers to be licensed and regulated.

Student activism - university response
Subsequent to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, a number of universities across the United States have released statements assuring prospective students that peaceful protesting for gun control will not affect their admission status to the universities.

English as a second language in higher education
The American Institutes for Research have released a White Paper on Serving English Language Learners in Higher Education. The paper offers considerations at both the institutional level and classroom level, with an emphasis on how technology can be used to leverage research based practices.

- Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s policy on ICT in higher education
The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development hosted the second consultative meeting on the formulation of Zimbabwe’s policy on ICT in higher education in Harare from 7-9 March. Stakeholders, including representatives from higher education institutions and the UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa in Harare, agreed the key elements to be included and a roadmap for the policy making process.

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Former Editions
IAU Lynx March Edition
IAU Lynx February Edition

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