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IAU Lynx April 2020


April 2020

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.



UNESCO has launched a portal on COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response to provide immediate support to countries as they work to minimize the educational disruption and facilitate the continuity of learning, especially for the most vulnerable.

UNESCO has shared 10 recommendations to plan distance learning solutions and ensure that learning remains uninterrupted during the COVID-19 outbreak.

UNESCO has posted :
- a selection ofnational distance education platforms - classified by country - designed to support the continuity of curriculum-based study.

- a list of educational applications, platforms and resources to help parents, teachers, schools and school administrators facilitate student learning and provide social care and interaction during periods of school closure. Most of them are free and many cater to multiple languages.

The Thailand UNESCO Country Strategy 2020-2021 presents UNESCO’s strategic framework for engagement with the Thai Government, other UN entities, development partners, universities, schools, and civil society organizations to respond most effectively to Thailand’s expressed development needs, priorities and aspirations. Its two pillars are : Promoting the Internationalization of Higher Education in Thailand; and Strengthening Social Sciences in Thailand.

UNESCO has launched a call for nominations for the 2020 UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education, which awards US$ 50,000 annually to two laureates making outstanding efforts in favour of girls’ and women’s education. Deadline for submissions is 26 May 2020.

UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE)

IITE has released a Handbook on Facilitating Flexible Learning During Educational Disruption: The Chinese Experience in Maintaining Undisrupted Learning in COVID-19 Outbreak. It describes several flexible online learning strategies implemented during the COVID-19 outbreak. Six dimensions are covered : infrastructure; learning tools ; learning resources; teaching and learning methods; services for teachers and students; and cooperation between government, enterprises, and schools.

UNESCO IITE, in cooperation with its global partners, has launched a new online Platform/Initiative on “Combating COVID-19: Together we are on the move!”where international expertise, practice and resources related to education will be presented. The goal is to provide online communication platform for education policy makers, teachers, students and experts in education and ICT to share knowledge and experience in responding to the emergency by providing best practices, recommendations and technical support.

UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL)/UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC) :
In order to exchange solutions, discuss contingency plans and share distance-learning approaches, members of the UNESCO GNLC convenes webinars organized by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL). Non-member cities are also invited to join the online events, share their experiences and learn from other cities.

UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP)
In the wake of the release of the paper on SDG 4 - Policies for Flexible Learning Pathways in Higher Education: Taking Stock of Good Practices Internationally, UNESCO IIEP has posted a brief interview of its author and expert, Michaela Martin, who discusses the future of higher education, changes in course taking and credential obtention, global benefits to greater flexibility, Institutions’ adaptation, and policy-makers and planners’ role.

UNESCO Almaty Office

UNESCO Almaty Office has released the report Ensuring lifelong learning for all in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan Country Evidence and Policy Recommendations. It discusses the context of lifelong learning in Central Asia, current policies and practices, the quality of education from a lifelong learning perspective and policy recommendations to ensure lifelong learning for all in Central Asia.

- Agence universitaire de la francophonie (AUF)

The AUF has made available to it’s member universities a platform for distance teaching and learning.


EDUCAUSE has released the 2020 Horizon Report: Teaching and Learning Edition. This report profiles key trends and emerging technologies and practices shaping the future of teaching and learning and envisions a number of scenarios and implications for that future. It is based on the perspectives and expertise of a global panel of leaders from across the higher education landscape.

- Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development

OECD has released the report Strengthening the Governance of Skills Systems: Lessons from Six OECD Countries. It provides advice on how to make the governance of skills systems effective in Estonia, Germany, Korea, Norway, Portugal, and the United States.


Guni has published an article on The Higher Education Institutions’ Environmental Engagement in Colombia.
The aim of this article is to present an updated overview of the progress achieved by Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Colombia in the institutionalization of environmental engagement.

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Africa - Americas - Asia - Europe

- Africa

Association of African Universities
The AAU has made available a resource page to help higher education institutions plan for possible campus disruption by COVID-19

In the wake of closures that took effect on 20 March, a number of universities and higher education institutions in East Africa are revitalising existing e-learning platforms, while others are tentatively migrating into uncharted territory.

- Americas

UNESCO International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (IESALC)

UNESCO IESALC has posted the results of research on the presence of women in higher education in the Latin American region, specifically in teaching and administrative positions and as leaders in public universities. They indicate that in the 9 sampled countries - Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Venezuela - only 18% of the public universities have female rectors.

In a presentation given at the Ist International Higher Education Forum: Higher Education for the XXI Century ("Foro Internacional de Educación Superior: Educación Superior Siglo XXI") held 11-12 March at the Franz Tamayo University campus (UNIFRANZ), Bolivia, UNESCO-IESALC identified the eight most pressing challenges in reshaping Latin American and Caribbean education by 2030 as: Access; Quality assurance; Demographics; Financing; Internationalization; Research and innovation; ratification of the new convention for the recognition of studies; Achieving the 17 SDGs.

The call for contributions to the thematic dossier Vol. 33, N°2 (July-December 2020) of the Journal of Higher Education and Society (ESS) is open until 31 July. The theme is the “Contribution of Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean to the ODS: experiences and practices from their academic functions”.

UNESCO IESALC has published an article on the internationalization of higher education and the need for measurement criteria.

Organization of American States (OAS): The call is open to institutions to incorporate their online courses into the Educational Portal of the Americas.

Asociación Universitaria Iberoamericana de Posgrado (AUIP)

The call for applicants from the Universidad del Azuay (Ecuador) and the Universidad Católica de Cuenca (Ecuador) and persons from other Latin American institutions associated with the AUIP to carry out a doctoral thesis at the Universidad Pablo de Olavide (Seville, Spain), within the Doctorate Program in Business Administration and Management, is now open. The application deadline is 4 May

- Arab States

- Asia

ASEAN University Network (AUN)

ASEAN University Network (AUN) is launching an ASEAN Master Program in Sustainability Management together with Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia, and University of Agder, Norway. Set to be taught as of January 2021. Grants covering the full study, living and travel costs are offered for 40 students from ASEAN countries. Deadline for application is 15 May.

- Europe

The European University Association (EUA)

The EUA has stated their support for European universities in the context of the COVID-19 crisis and has invited universities to share their experiences of online learning and other solutions at #UniversitiesAtHome

European Association for International Education (EAIE)

EAIE has released a research and trends report on higher education institutions’ response to the COVID-19 crisis.

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Argentina Bahamas Belgium Bhutan
Brazil Canada Cuba Chile
Colombia Costa Rica Denmark Ecuador
Estonia France Ghana India
Ireland Macao Malaysia Mexico
Myanmar Netherlands Norway New Zealand
Pakistan Philippines Poland Portugal
Singapore Spain South Africa Taiwan
Turkey United Kingdom United States Zimbabwe

- Argentina

The Council of Rectors of Private Universities (Consejo de Rectores de Universidades Privadas, in Spanish) of Argentina issued a statement expressing its support to the Ministries of Education and Health, and the National Government in general. It states that the capacities of the universities are at the disposal of the national executive power to contribute to the search for effective solutions against COVID-19.

- Bahamas

The Ministry of Education has made available to students a virtual learning portal due to the closure of schools in the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

- Belgium

Flemish university colleges are planning the possibility to begin "limited contact teaching" as of 18 May, but only for "educational activities of primary importance." During these "limited contact" courses, strict conditions such as social distancing will have to be respected.

-  Bhutan

The Ministry of Education has ordered the closure of all colleges and universites for a two-week period to fight the propagation of the COVID-19 epidemic. Students are invited to go back home, except international students due to transnational travel restrictions.

-  Brazil

The National Council of Education Secretaries (CONSED) issued a note to the press, in which it reinforces the need to maintain the suspension of classroom attendance in order to preserve the lives of students, teachers and those around them, especially the elderly and those with chronic diseases.

On March 18, the Ministry of Education published Ordinance No. 343, which authorizes "on an exceptional basis" the replacement of in-person classes with Distance and online classes that use technology and remote communication in courses that were already underway.

- Canada

On 24 March, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Science, Innovation and Industry Navdeep Bains called on higher education institutions to mobilize their resources and expertise in the fight against COVID-19.

New measures in support of student loan borrowers have been announced by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. According to the prime minister’s statement, borrowers will receive a six month interest free moratorium for all student loan repayments. The proposal is in response to the on-going Covid-19 outbreak.

- Cuba

The Government is providing full scholarships to Barbadian students in the academic year 2020-2021 to pursue either undergraduate or postgraduate degrees in Cuba in the following disciplines: Medicine, Dentistry, Nursery, Postgraduate courses. Application forms and relevant documents should be submitted to the Barbados Tertiary Section of The Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training by 17 April.

- Chile

The Ministry of Education published an action protocol for higher education institutions to act on the COVID-19 crisis.

With the aim of promoting the professional development of educators and teachers remotely, the Ministry of Education, through the Center for Educational Improvement, Experimentation and Research (CPEIP), has opened new calls for courses completely free and distance (online). The training courses offered will include courses for teachers of different levels and disciplines.

- Colombia

The Ministry of National Education issued Directive 04 of March 22, 2020 to Higher Education Institutions and those authorized to offer and develop academic programs in higher education, which provides a series of guidelines for the development of academic programs in distance mode until May 30, 2020.

The Fund for the Development of Higher Education (FODESEP) and the Colombian Association of Universities (ASCUN), presented, on 12 March, the MOOC “Management of Higher Education Institutions”. The course, which will last 30 hours, aims to identify the changes that generate global impact and create tension in education and institutions, as well as to interpret the missions of Higher Education in the face of the needs and requirements of students in the 21st century.

- Costa Rica

The Ministry of Public Education (MEP) offers a series of free virtual courses and webinars to teachers, as part of the national “Aprendo en casa” (I learn at home) strategy. These support resources are aimed at teachers in the public education system.

- Denmark

On 11 March, Denmark’s Prime Minister announced that the country will close all kindergartens, schools and universities for two weeks to slow the spread of coronavirus.

- Ecuador

The Council of Higher Education of Ecuador issued a statement on March 16, 2020 to suspend the all deadlines and terms established in the regulations and resolutions while the state of health emergency lasts.

The Secretariat of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (Senescyt) promoted the creation of a COVID-19 University Emergency Commission. The universities are expected to form an integral part of the National Committee for Emergency Operations, providing technical and scientific advice. The Commission will maintain constant communication with the actors of the Higher Education System, channeling the efforts and coordinating together the requirements of the country.

- Estonia

On 25 March, it was reported that if the emergency situation caused by the coronavirus outbreak is extended, Estonian universities are ready to postpone graduations and thesis presentations to August. If secondary school final exams are cancelled, students will still get a chance to apply to universities.

- France

On 12 March, President Macron announced the Closure of schools and universities in the context of the COVID-19 crisis.

- Ghana

The Government is seeking the approval of Parliament to create a new regime for the regulatory bodies in the country. Known as the Education Regulatory Bodies bill, the legislation combines the existing National Council for Tertiary Education and the National Accreditation Board into a body known as the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission. The Bill merges other Bodies in the Education regulation in technical, vocational and supervision aspects of the sector.

The Ministry of Education has started the implementation of virtual learning programmes to enable students have access to learning resources while at home in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On 24 March, the Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, said the learning programmes would be rolled out on all mediums — radio, television and online

- India

In line with governmental guidelines on COVID-19, the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) has issued a notification to all higher education institutions requesting them to shut down until 4 April.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Development (MHRD) :
- has decided to reschedule all ongoing examinations and ll evaluation work 2020 and specified precautions to be taken by all educational institutions and examination boards in light of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) insisting on communication with students and teachers through electronic means.

- During the lockdown, the MHRD is promoting digital learning in the context of COVID-19 and listed key Digital / e-Learning Platforms it provides for online education, including higher education.

The Association of Indian Universities, an IAU Member, has created a platform for Indian Universities to share the e-content, approaches and strategies adopted by them for delivery of online content.

- Ireland

On 12 March, Ireland acting Prime Minister Leo Varadkar announced the closure of schools, universities and childcare facilities in response to the spread of the coronavirus.

Face-to-face end of year exams have been cancelled at the country’s higher education institutions in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Students will be asked to self-certify that they are complying with the rules in online assessments and tests that will in many instances replace the exams.

- Macao

The Higher Education Bureau has issued Guidelines on Class Resumption for Higher Education Institutions in Macao
To help them coordinate the schedules for class resumption, and deal with arrangements prior and after class resumption as well as internal and external activities.

- Malaysia

The Ministry of Higher Education (KPT) has recommended all Public Universities (UA) to extend the period to resume the second semester for the 2019/2020 academic calendar beginning April 27, and latest by June 1.

- Mexico

The National Association of Universities and Higher Education Institutions (ANUIES) announces the ANUIES 2020 Award, which recognizes the work of those who contribute to the development of higher education in the country. The call and registration of candidates will be open until June 7, 2020.

- Myanmar

University examinations have been suspended at all universities due to Covid-19 cases now officially present in Myanmar.

- Netherlands

The Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) has published information on the impact of COVID-19 on universities. Measures taken includes the government decision on 12 March to close universities and transfer to online education; and the extension to students’ degree programme evaluation.

- Norway

On 12 March, Prime Minister Erna Solberg announced that all schools and universities would close in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.

- New Zealand

With the move to COVID-19 alert level 4,the Ministry of Education and the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) have accordingly released guidelines for all higher education institutions on dealing with students, staff and institutional services.

Higher education insitutions are encouraged to shift to online delivery via email, or online platforms if they have that capability. Alternative arrangements are suggested.

- Pakistan

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has advised all universities and degree awarding institutions (public and private) to suspend academic operations and close down until April 5, 2020. They are advised to follow the HEC Policy for COVID-19.

The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has developed a databank of online courses available at the national and international level and shared it with universities, while the university faculty has also been asked to prepare virtual courses for dissemination to students.

- Philippines

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has issued Guidelines for the Prevention, Control and Mitigation of the Spread of the 2019-Novel Coronavirus Acute Respiratory Disease in Higher Education Institutions that provides information and guidance of all HEIs and CHED offices. Awareness is raised on news and information trustworthiness and it recommends prevention and control measures, the setting up of screening protocols, the postponement of group activities, and approaches to traveling.

- Poland

All Polish schools have closed to curtail the spread of the coronavirus, Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said. Morawiecki added that also universities, museums and cinemas will be closed.

- Portugal

Many universities,including the University of the Lisbon, have suspended classes for an indeterminate period.

- Singapore

The Ministry of Education has encouraged Singaporean students studying overseas to consider returning home as soon as they can and to observe a number of safety measures. Flights are facilitated by the government.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) has decided to suspend all official overseas placements and has posted information on arrangements to prevent the possible loss of credits earned during student exchanges or placements.

- Spain

On 9 March, Madrid and Basque Country closed schools, colleges and universities due to the COVID-19 crisis.

- South Africa

The Minister for Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, announce the establishment of a Covid-19 team comprising Universities South Africa (Usaf), South African College Principals Organisation (Sacpo), and higher health and health experts, to co-ordinate the sector’s response and collate institutional case management reports of COVID-19 cases at higher education institutions.

- Taiwan

The Foundation for International Cooperation in Higher Education of Taiwan (FICHET) is calling forparticipation in the 2020 Study in Taiwan Online Survey aimed at collecting opinions and experiences from international students studying in Taiwan to improve the experience of future international students..
Deadline 15 April 2020

- Turkey

The Council of Higher Education (Yok) has posted measures to be taken in Higher Education Institutions about COVID-19 covering the following aspects : Travel and International Meetings; Meetings with international participation ; and measures to be taken against discrimination.

- United Kingdom

Universities UK has released Coronavirus (COVID-19) - information for universities to assist universities in their response to COVID-19.

Universities UK has also responded to the Government’s announcement on nursing students and allied health profession students being asked to start work in the health service ahead of their graduation. They support the initiative and said that universities will do everything they can to support these health students.

The Russell Group of universities has called for emergency research funds to cover the cost of disruption to science and research caused by COVID-19.

- United States

On 19 March, more than 10 associations that represent a wide swath of U.S. higher education, including the American Council on Education (ACE), released a list of actions by the federal government they said were necessary to help students and colleges.

The Institute of International Education (IIE) has released a survey which shows the effects that travel restrictions related to the outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus) are having on international student mobility, U.S. study abroad programs, and international student recruitment for the fall 2020 semester. More than 230 U.S. higher education institutions responded to this survey, which was conducted from February 13-26, 2020

The American Council on Education has recorded a series of webinars related to the impact of COVID-19. They include a variety of topics surrounding finance in the higher education system. These webinars are available in the Engage library on the ACE website.

US President Donald Trump signed the $2 trillion CARES Act this month, allocating $14 billion in coronavirus stimulus funding to higher education. The money will be dispersed to support the shift to remote-learning platforms, grants to students and minorities, and to institutions directly impacted by the pandemic.

Higher education leaders have responded to a survey conducted by Hanover Research and Inside Higher Ed. The survey included questions about the actions being taken at institutions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 9 in 10 leaders say they are most concerned about the mental health of their students and employees following the crisis. Other concerns include; shifting to distance learning, accessibility to education, federal stimulus funding.

- Zimbabwe

The government has disbursed at least $42 million under the National Venture Fund (NVF) to innovation hubs in tertiary institutions.

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IAU Lynx March 2020
IAU Lynx February 2020
IAU Lynx December 2019

IAU Lynx coordinator: Amanda Sudic
Collaborating team: Nicholas Poulton, Samuel Pousson, Carine Sébast, Samantha Grillo and Lianne Guerra Rondón
Contact: Amanda Sudic
© IAU 2020

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