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IAU Lynx April 2019


April 2019

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.



Mobile learning week
Artificial Intelligence in Education: Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Development, the working paper presented at the UNESCO Mobile Learning Week 2019, March 4 - 8 has been released. It features cases studies on how AI technology is helping education systems – higher education included - to use data to improve educational equity and quality. Online videos from the sessions and symposia organised during Mobile Learning Week 2019 to harness AI to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) are available.

UNESCO Prize on the use of ICTs in Education
The 2018 UNESCO-King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for the use of ICTs in Education award ceremony took place at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris on 12 March 2019. The Prize is awarded to two laureates every year and the winners receive 25,000 USD each. This year’s focus was ‘The use of innovative ICT to ensure education for the most vulnerable groups’.

- Agence universitaire de la francophonie (AUF)

Modernisation of governance - Guinea
On 14 March, a framework partnership agreement between the AUF and the Guinean Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research was signed in Conakry by Jean-Paul de Gaudemar, Rector of AUF and Abdoulaye Yéro Balde, Minister of Higher Education. This partnership specifically focuses on the improvement and modernization of university governance and strengthening quality assurance of Guinean higher education institutions.

French language proficiency - online learning
The AUF and the French National Centre for Distance Learning (CNED), signed a framework agreement on 21 March to strengthen cooperation for the reinforcement of French language proficiency by students and teachers of AUF member institutions and for setting up online courses, exchange services and educational resources.

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Africa - Americas - Asia & Pacific - Europe

- Africa

African Network for the Internationalisation of Education
9th ANIE Annual Conference - Registration now open
The African Network for the Internationalisation of Education will be holding its annual conference, 2 - 4 October 2019 in Nairobi. This year’s theme is Africa, Internationalization and the Global Context: Making it Work, and registration is now open.

Association of African Universities opens North Africa Regional Office
Association of African Universities has opened a North Africa Regional Office. Hosted by Al-Azhar University in Cairo, a founding member of the AAU, the North Africa Regional Office (AAU NARO), was launched at the beginning of March with the aim of increasing the impact of AAU’s activities in North Africa and maximising the benefits of AAU to member universities in North Africa, as well as improving both the visibility of the AAU and the quality of higher education in Africa.

Intra-Africa Academic Mobility Scheme 2019
Call for proposals
The call for proposals for the Intra-Africa Academic Mobility Scheme has now been published. The overall objective of the programme is to enhance human capital development in Africa, while strengthening intra-African collaboration as called for by Agenda 2063. Proposals should be submitted by 12 June 2019.

Online Training Course for Supervisors of Doctoral Candidates at African Universities
An online training course for doctoral supervisors in Africa is organised by Stellenbosch University. the next two web-based learning courses will run from May to July 2019 and from October to December 2019, with more courses available in 2020. The closing date for the October to December session is 29 August.

Universities South Africa - Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU)
A recent symposium on Developing the Capacity of Early Career Researchers took place with the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) and Universities South Africa, on 18-19 March, at the University of Johannesburg. A summary of the discussions are now available.

- Americas

Redes de educación superior, Asociaciones y Consejos de rectores de América Latina y el Caribe (RedES) - UNESCO International Institute for Education Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNESCO-IESALC)
The Lima Declaration was issued as an outcome of the Regional meeting of Higher Education Networks and Rectors Conferences (RedES) in Latin America and the Caribbean which was convened by UNESCO IESALC in Lima, Peru, on 13 - 15 March. The Declaration advocates for the implementation of the CRES 2018-2028 Action Plan, which defines strategic actions of Latin American higher education institutions for the next ten years, with the final goal of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

- Asia & Pacific

Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU)

Collaborative research programme - Call for proposals
The AAOU has released a call for proposals for the AAOU Collaborative Research Programme which has been launched to institutionalise research collaboration; and promote the generation and building of knowledge on open, distance and e-learning. Deadline: 30 June 2019.

- Europe

European Commission

European Universities Initiative
The European Commission has announced that it has received 54 consortium pilot applications for the European Universities Initiative by the 28 February deadline. The Initiative, consists of networks of universities across the European Union which will enable students to obtain a degree by combining studies in several European countries. Financing for the pilot programme will be increased to €60 million which will enable 12 of the 54 networks to be selected for funding in the first stage of the pilot.

Gender equality targets in research and HE
The European Commission has released Guidance to Facilitate the Implementation of Targets to Promote Gender Equality in Research and Innovation. It draws on national action plans and practices and provides recommendations to facilitate the implementation of gender equity targets in research institutions and higher education establishments as requested by the Council of the EU.

European University Association (EUA)
The EUA has published The Role of Universities in Regional Innovation Ecosystems. Based on research in nine different European regions and universities in Finland, Czech Republic, France, the Netherlands,Germany, the UK, Portugal, Poland and Spain, this study analyses the interactions between universities, companies, governmental agencies and other public organisations.

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Australia - Indonesia
Australia and Indonesia have signed the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) designed to provide better and more certain access to the Indonesian market for Australian exporters. Education-wise, it plans the accreditation of schools and academic programmes and the future liberalisation for Australian universities setting up in Indonesia.

France - Kenya

In March, French Minister of Higher Education, Frédérique Vidal, and the then Kenyan Minister of Education, Amina Mohamed, signed bilateral agreements aimed at deepening cooperation in higher education and research between both countries. These include agreements on exchange of students and staff; food security projects; and a Memorandum of Understanding on Joint Research, Initial and Executive education. Several agreements between French and Kenyan universities were also signed.

United Kingdom - South Africa

In March, the British Council, through a partnership with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), announced funding for 20 higher education partnerships, involving 22 South African Universities (including Universities of Technology) and 19 Universities from the United Kingdom.

United States - Egypt
During a recent visit to Egypt, USAID Administrator Mark Green announced that the US would be investing $90 million in the creation of three Centres of Excellence in Egypt with the aim of fostering lasting partnerships between Egyptian public universities and universities in the US.

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Argentina Brazil Brunei Darussalam Canada
China Colombia Costa Rica France
Germany India Kenya Korea
Malawi Mexico New Zealand Pakistan
South Africa Spain United Kingdom United States

-  Argentina

On 12 March, the second meeting to develop the ‘Entrepreneurial Universities’ government policy was held by the Argentinian Government with the participation of the Council of Rectors of Private Universities - Consejo de Rectores de las Universidades Privadas, CRUP. The meeting aimed to develop the strategic plan within the context of the ‘Entrepreneurial Universities’ government policy, that aims to create and to implement entrepreneurship in universities.

-  Brazil

Masters and PhD studies - new regulations
On 22 March, a new decree which updates the regulations for Masters and PhD studies in Brazil (in Portuguese) was published in the government’s official journal by the CAPES agency of the Ministry of Education (Coordenação de Aperfeicoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior).

Academic Doctoral Programme for Innovation
On 13 March, the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development held the first seminar of the Academic Doctoral Programme for Innovation that was launched in 2018. The Academic Doctoral Programme aims to enhance the contribution of doctoral research in technology and science to businesses.

-  Brunei Darussalam

The Ministry of Education has released its 2018 - 2022 Strategic Plan. Improving the quality and access to post-secondary education has been identified as a priority objective for delivering holistic education to achieve full potential for all.

-  Canada

Higher education and research finance - 2019 Budget
The Canadian Government have announced the 2019 Budget. Among provisions for higher educationfinance, CAN$ 147.9 million (EUR 97.5 million) will be invested over five years for an International Education Strategy; CAN$114 million (EUR 9.5 million) over five years for research, and $26.5 million (EUR 17.5 million) per year ongoing in the federal granting councils’ Canada Graduate Scholarship programme. The budget also provides for expanded paid parental leave for students and postdoctoral fellows, In response, Universities Canada released a statement saying Canadian universities appreciate support for lifelong and work-integrated learning, international study, and commitment to help students enter the workforce through 40,000 proposed new work placements per year by 2023 - 24.

Preventing sexual violence at universities - Ontario
In March, the Ontario government published the results of the Student Voices on Sexual Violence survey, which was completed in 2018 by over 160,000 students in Ontario higher education institutions. In response, the Council of Ontario Universities, representing Ontario’s universities, has reaffirmed their commitment to addressing sexual violence and supporting survivors and have outlined an integrated approach by universities to addressing the issue of sexual violence in a 10-Point Plan, to strengthen on-campus support and prevention programmes.

-  China

On 1 March, the Ministry of Education released the list of Chinese universities that have been designated to speed up the transformation of scientific and technological achievements (in Chinese), as well as technology transfer.

-  Colombia

The National Council of Rectors of the Colombian Association of Universities (Asociación Colombiana de Universidades - ASCUN), an IAU Member, met with the Minister of Education, María Victoria Angulo, on 21 March to discuss the 2018 - 2022 National Development Plan. The meeting emphasised the importance of cooperation between the government and higher education institutions and the Minister invited the leaders to come up with initiatives that could foster the education development plan.

-  Costa Rica

In February, the National Council of Rectors released the 2019 Declaration - Year of Gender Equality, Non-Violence and a Fairer Society which calls for higher education institutions to be free of gender discrimination, violence and social inequalities, as an integral part of a strengthening of democracy and development of the country.

-  France

Gender statistics
On 8 March, International Women’s Day, the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation released ‘Towards Women’s-Men’s Equality? (Vers l’égalité femmes-hommes?). The publication provides a 2019 update on gender equity access, graduate employment, research and academic positions in several European countries. (in French)

International students
The Government agency Campus France has released the latest annual statistics on student mobility, both worldwide and to and from France. Key Figures 2019 show that France is the fourth highest destination for international students, with over 245,300 international students in 2016. The figures also show an increase of 50% outward bound student mobility from France since 2011, with over 90,500 students studying abroad in 2016, the sixth highest internationally. More than half of French international students study in Canada, Belgium and Switzerland.

International students from Africa
Campus France has also released a paper on international student mobility of students from Africa (in French), both worldwide and in particular to study in France. It includes a discussion of the possible impact of the newly announced government strategy to introduce much higher student fees for non-European students at universities in France.

-  Germany

The German Rectors Conference (HRK) has issued a report on their most recent consultation to German universities about the enrolment rate of refugees. According to the report, the number of refugees enrolled at German higher education institutions has risen significantly. Since 2015-16, 10,087 refugees have enrolled in higher education.

-  India

The Minister for Human Resources Development has launched the Higher Education Youth in Apprenticeship and Skills (SHREYAS) scheme to provide industry apprenticeship opportunities to 2019 graduates. The programme aims to improve students’ employability by better aligning learning with industry skills needs.

-  Kenya

In March, the President, Uhuru Kenyatta, nominated a new Education Minister. Prof George Magoha, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nairobi, will replace Amina Mohamed. The remit of the Ministry includes all levels of education, including higher education.

-  Korea

International students - New visa rules
The Korean government has introduced new policies that will tighten rules on student visas for international students. The government has said that the policy is in response to an increase in international students overstaying in Korea after their visas have expired.

-  Malawi

Parliament recently approved a bill repealing the University of Malawi Act of 1965 to allow several constituent colleges of the University of Malawi to become autonomous institutions.

-  Mexico

On 19 March, a Memorandum to Foster Values in Universities was signed at the Senate of the Republic by ANUIES (National Association of Universities and Higher Education Institutions), an IAU Member, and the Global Council for Tolerance and Peace. The responsibility of universities towards society is at the core of the Memorandum.

-  New Zealand

Student safety and extremism - universities react
Universities New Zealand, have released a statement condemning the terror attack in March in Christchurch. Addressing the international student community, they affirm that universities in the country are doing everything possible to support their students and to ensure campuses remain the safe places they are supposed to be.

Qualifications framework changes
New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) has released its summary of the feedback to the consultation on proposed changes to the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) initiated in 2017 to ensure it remains fit for purpose, flexible and adaptive to the future needs of learners, employers and other stakeholders.

-  Pakistan

The Government Senate Standing Committee for Less Developed Areas has directed all public and private universities to open their campuses in underprivileged areas of the country. In addition, the committee directed the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to ask all public and private universities to open campuses in Tharparkar, Layyah, Badin, Lodhran, Muzaffargarh and Ziarat.

-  South Africa

Government to settle historic student debt
Higher Education Minister, Naledi Pandor, announced in March that it has made available Rand 967 million (Eur 59.5 million) for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) to settle historic student debt. This was over and above an introduction of the fee-free policy in 2018.

National Qualifications Framework Bill
In March, the South African Parliament approved approved the National Qualifications Framework Bill which notably provides for dealing with fake qualifications.

-  Spain

CRUE, the Spanish Universities association, a Member of the IAU, is collaborating with the Spanish government to develop the National Action Plan for the Implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. Roberto Fernandez, President of CRUE, is a member of the newly formed Spanish Council of Sustainable Development and participated in the Council’s launch in Madrid on 26 February. Headed by the High Commissioner of the Spanish government for Agenda 2030, Cristina Gallach, the Council, formed of 50 civil society representatives, will be responsible for implementing the government’s actions for achieving Agenda 2030. CRUE is also examining policies and programmes to identify opportunities to implement the SDGs effectively in the Spanish higher education system via its Inter-sectoral Committee for the 2030 Agenda.

-  United Kingdom

New international strategy - Government
The UK government launched the International Education Strategy in March. The strategy sets out the government’s ambition to increase the value of education exports to £35 billion per year by 2030 and to increase the total number of international students choosing to study in the UK higher education system each year to 600,000 by 2030.

Universities UK, in response to the strategy, welcomes the plans and the targets for the increase in international student numbers, but calls for an extension to two years post-qualification for employment visas.

International students - economic impact
The Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) and Kaplan International have released a report which details the economic benefits of international students who work in the UK after graduation, in particular from tax revenues. The analysis additionally shows international graduates who find employment in the UK typically do so in sectors that suffer from acute skills shortages.

Grade inflation - Government Education ministry responds
The Department for Education Chief Minister, Education Secretary Damian Hinds, is calling for universities to end grade inflation, unexplained increases in the proportion of top grades of Bachelor degrees awarded in the UK. This was highlighted in recent statistics released by the Office of Students, a government body, which showed that 27% of students in the UK obtained a first-class undergraduate honours degree in 2016-17, up from 16% in 2010-11.

-  United States

Freedom of speech - Executive order by President to HEIs
On 21 March, the United States President released an executive order entitled ‘Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities’ that would hold higher education institutions that receive federal research funding accountable for protecting free speech. The Executive Order directs 12 federal grant-making agencies to certify that institutions receiving federal research funds comply with existing law and regulations involving free academic inquiry.

Proposed 2020 budget - HE cuts announced
The proposed 2020 budget announced in March contains cuts to the Department of higher education, as well as student loans and Pell Grant funding, Educational Opportunity Grants and cuts to the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. It also eliminates the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants.
In response, the American Council on Education, an IAU Member, has released a statement detailing their concerns and calls on lawmakers to reject the cuts envisioned by the budget proposal.

-  Vietnam

The Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) has released Statistics of Vietnam Education and Training that features information and data on higher education institutions, students and faculty.

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IAU Lynx March 2019
IAU Lynx February 2019
IAU Lynx December 2018

IAU Lynx coordinator: Amanda Sudic
Collaborating team: Clarisse Gemelli, Nicholas Poulton, Samuel Pousson and Carine Sébast
Contact: [email protected]
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