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IAU Lynx February 2020


February 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.



A recent UNESCO workshop Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: taking action on the 2030 Development Agenda aimed at taking stock of the 2016 Guidelines on the Inclusion of Learners with Disabilities in Open and Distance Learning and looked at proposals for enhancing the guidelines.

The Revised Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Certificates, Diplomas, Degrees and Other Academic Qualifications on Higher Education in African States (“Addis Convention”) entered into force on 15 December 2019. It establishes a legal framework for the evaluation of higher education qualifications in Africa to facilitate inter-university cooperation and exchange.

Palestinian universities have agreed to work collaboratively to achieve the SDGs, particularly SDG4, and have also requested UNESCO support in establishing a higher education strategy and a national qualification framework to guarantee the quality of higher education and to validate the certification of degrees.

UNESCO Beirut and Khartoum offices are to assist the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Sudan in developing a Higher Education Management Information System (HEMIS), and revising their higher education policies.

UNESCO Beirut and UK NARIC are undertaking a joint research project on the current state of Syrian higher education in light of the ongoing conflict. The goal is to produce an up-to-date report on the state of play in higher education provision in Syria, and the recognition of Syrian higher education qualifications as related to the Lisbon Recognition Convention.

UNESCO Beirut helped organize the conference titled “Higher Education in the Arab World: Government and Governance” in Beirut, 1-2 November 2019. Issues explored included: governance and decision-making processes in Arab universities, higher education and leadership in the Arab world during the 4th industrial revolution, innovation as a principle in university governance, and the political model of governance in public universities in the Arab world.

UNESCO IESALC posted a webinar on the “The Right to Higher Education” that assesses the place of higher education as a human right, as well as its pending agenda. The presentation discusses the binding and non-binding legal instruments from a historical perspective, and the interconnection of higher education as a right and Agenda 2030.

- Agence universitaire de la francophonie (AUF)

Representatives of higher education institutions from Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia met on 16 December 2019 in Beirut (Lebanon) to participate in a co-construction workshop on a large interregional project on the internationalization of higher education institutions. The event was organized by AUF, its Institut de la Francophonie pour la Gouvernance universitaire (IFGU) and its two regional directorates Maghreb (DRM) and Middle East (DRMO). The program should be launched in 2020 as part of the Initiative for Governance in the New Francophone University Space (IGNEUF).

The Conference of Rectors of the Middle East Region (CONFREMO) held its 12th General Assembly on 1 December 2019 at the University of Alexandria in Egypt, with the support of the AUF. This meeting, which brought together around sixty participants, stimulated exchange between leaders of member institutions and led to reflection on the projects undertaken by CONFREMO


GUNi published its 7th Higher Education in the World Report, entitled Humanities and Higher Education: Generating Synergies between Science, Technology and Humanities. It provides a comprehensive analysis of the interrelations between humanities, science and technology in higher education, and offers some recommendations, guidelines and examples of good practices from different higher education communities, countries, regions and cultures.

- International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE)

A coalition of organizations has been formed to support the implementation of the UNESCO recommendations in Future International Collaboration in the field of Open Educational Resources (OER). Its areas of action are: Building capacity of stakeholders to create access, use, adapt and redistribute OER; Developing supportive policy; Encouraging inclusive and equitable quality OER; Nurturing the creation of sustainability models for OER; and Facilitating international cooperation.

- Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development

OECD has just released “Supporting Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Higher Education in Italy” which is a a part of a series of national reports implementing the HEinnovate framework. HEinnovate is a guiding framework that the OECD and the European Commission have developed to promote the “entrepreneurial and innovation agenda” in higher education. This reviews illustrates policy actions promoting the entrepreneurial and innovative activities in the Italian Higher Education System, and focuses on 11 case study universities. The first chapter offers an overview of the higher education system in Italy.

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Africa - Americas - Asia - Europe

- Africa

Displaced Youth, Higher Education and Employment in Africa
In a study recently commissioned by the Mastercard Foundation, A Bridge to the Future: From Higher Education to Employment for Displaced Youth in Africa, field researchers from World University Service of Canada carried out research in four countries with displaced persons into bridging initiatives and programmes that support displaced youth, including refugees and internally displaced persons, and access higher education and employment upon graduation.

- Asia

Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO)/UNESCO Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau for Education, Bangkok
The outcome of the “Experts Meeting on the Harmonization of Higher Education and Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications in Southeast Asia” - 2-3 December 2019 Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam – is a 3 year regional higher education action plan dealing with: harmonization of higher education curricula; the roadmap to increase recognition of higher education qualifications and; strategies for ratification of the Tokyo Convention by Member countries.

The seminar on “The Roles of Higher Education Internationalization in Achieving Sustainable Development Goals: Gender Equality in the Thai Context” - Bangkok, Thailand , 16-17 December 2019 - explored gender issues in different social environments and ways to raise awareness and ‘normalize’ gender diversity to provide equal opportunities and protection.

Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization - Regional Centre for Higher Education and Development (SEAMEO RIHED)
The 3rd Forum for ASEAN-China Private Higher Education Development and Cooperationthemed “New Practice and New Blueprint, Innovation Focus and Effectiveness of ASEAN-China Private Higher Education Cooperation in the Context of the Belt and Road Initiative” was held 11-13 December 2019 at University of Sanya, P.R. China. It explored new paths to promote innovative collaboration and development bewteen ASEAN-Chinese private universities.

Asia Association of Open Universities (AAOU)
A call for nominations has been launched for the AAOU 2020 Meritorious Service Award, the prize that each year distinguishes an individual for his/her outstanding services and contributions to open and distance education. Individual academics or administrators may be nominated by AAOU member institutions. Deadline for nomination: 30 June 2020.

Association of the Universities of Asia and the Pacific (AUAP)
Proceedings of the 34th AUAP Annual Conference 2019, 10-14 November 2019, Phitsanulok, Thailand, are available online. Themed “Climate Change Adaptation – The Challenging Role of Higher Education Institutions”, it invited academia, researchers, and industry to brainstorm and come up with practical solutions to deal with climate change through three main theme clusters: Health Sciences, Science and Technology, and Social Sciences.

Asia Pacific Rim Universities (APRU)
APRU Global Health Program released the final report of the Workplace Wellness (WW) Survey. Completed online by 29 universities in 13 Asia-Pacific economies in 2018, the survey aimed to assess the range and scope of employee health and wellness programs at universities in Asia-Pacific; evaluate gaps and challenges; and facilitate the crafting of recommendations.

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
APEC has two publications available for download:
- a Quality Assurance of Online Learning Toolkit, that establishes a range of criteria that can help quality assurance agencies assess online and blended programmes.

- Asia-Pacific Cross-Border Higher Education Provider Mobility: Report on a Survey of Policy and Practice, on the findings of a survey taken by 12 APEC economies that aimed at understanding how educational policy settings can enable or restrict movement of Higher Education Institutions between economies.

National Institution for Academic Degrees and Quality Enhancement of Higher Education (NIAD-QE)
The CAMPUS Asia Monitoring+ Joint Monitoring Report (2019) summarizes the good practices identified in the “Collective Action for Mobility Program of University Students in Asia (CAMPUS) Asia)” joint initiative aimed at promoting exchange and cooperation with quality assurance among universities in China, Japan and Korea - as well as future initiatives posed for consideration.

- Europe

Brexit – what now for universities?’ is a new briefing paper released in January by the European University Association (EUA). The briefing provides an overview of what has already been agreed and the further processes towards the future relationship between the EU and the UK, with a focus on areas relevant to universities.

An advice paper, ‘Towards a Research Integrity Culture at Universities’, has just been published by the League of European Research Universities (LERU). The paper outlines five actions universities can undertake to facilitate research integrity: empowering sound research, educating researchers in research integrity at all academic career levels, ensuring that institutional guidelines and support structures are put in place, transparency and accountability, and fostering a research integrity culture.

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Vietnam - Bulgaria

The governments of Vietnam and Bulgaria have signed an educational cooperation agreement relating to mutual experiences and information exchange about the two countries’ education systems related to education development, management and planning; academic exchange and cooperation; institutional cooperation; languages learning.

India - Germany

The Second stage of the “lndo-German Partnerships in Higher Education (lGP) 2020-2024” - a joint University Grants Commission (UGC) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) programme – has been launched to intensify cooperation between lndian and German institutions of higher education. Indian and German public institutions are invited to apply for funding to develop joint research projects and upgrade study programmes in order to enhance their strategies of internationalization. Proposals must be submitted before 10 March 2020.

South Africa - China

In December, Universities South Africa hosted a delegation from the China Association of Higher Education (CAHE) at USAf’s offices in Pretoria. The team was headed by CAHE’s Secretary-General and head of the delegation, Mr Enlai Jiang. The visit marked the second round of interest extended to South Africa’s universities by China for collaboration in research and academic and student mobility.

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Afghanistan Australia Bangladesh Canada
China Egypt India Ireland
Japan Netherlands New Zealand Pakistan
Papua New Guinea Singapore Spain Tanzania
United Kingdom United States of America

-  Afghanistan

A notification from the Ministry of Higher Education’s Commission for Student Credit Transfer lays out the conditions for credit transfer.

-  Australia

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency’s (TEQSA) has posted online presentations from its 4th annual Conference themed “Partnerships Driving Quality”, held 27-29 November 2019, Melbourne. It focused on the ways in which providers can collaborate with industry, professional accreditation bodies and regulatory authorities to benefit students, the higher education sector and Australian education.

The Minister for Education is inviting stakeholder comments on proposed amendments to the Higher Education Support Act 2003 that were recommended by the French report on the Independent review of Freedom of Speech in Australian Higher Education Providers. Deadline: 24 February 2020.

The ComparED website provides relevant and transparent information about Australian higher education institutionsfor potential students to assist them with decisions about their future study options. It allows to simultaneously compare institutions or study areas though student experience, skills development, the teaching practices, employment outcomes, facilities and support offered.

The Government has accepted the 10 recommendations made in the Review of Australia’s Higher Education Provider Category Standards to simplify Australia’s higher education system. They include the reduction of the number of category, the creation of a new one (for teaching intensive, high performing higher education providers), and the improvement of regulatory transparency.

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Amendment (Prohibiting Academic Cheating Services) Bill 2019 was introduced to the House of Representatives in December 2019. Providing or advertising an academic cheating service on a commercial basis is to be made a criminal offence.

International Education Association of Australia (IEAA) has released the first report in a series based on the Career Outcomes of Learning Abroad research project. It focuses on short-term learning abroad programmes and examined: perceived impact of learning abroad on skills development, job attainment and career prospects of participants; and employment outcomes of graduates.

-  Bangladesh
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has agreed to introduce a uniform entrance test for admission to all public universities in the country from the next academic session. The decision was taken in a meeting between UGC Chairman Prof Kazi Shahidullah and vice-chancellors of public universities.

-  Canada

Universities Canada released a statement of condolences for the many students and academics who perished when the Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was shot down in Iran.

The Quebec Ministry of Education and Higher Education has announceda five-year plan for university investment in 2019-2024 which includes CAN$ 7 million for the Health Campus of the University of Sherbrooke, an IAU Member.

Quebec’s Minister of Education and Higher Education, Jean-François Roberge, launched a new online websiteaimed at providing information about teacher training to foreigners and Canadians in the hope of attracting workers in the field of education. The ministry emphasises the fact that it is possible for foreigners to become teachers in Quebec even if it is not their current occupation.

-  China

Several universities in Shanghai are delaying the start of the spring semester in response to the on-going coronavirus outbreak.

-  Egypt

In January, Egypt’s High Administrative Court approved Cairo University’s decision to ban its professors from wearing the niqab.The court stated that individual choice of dress is among the “personal freedoms” guaranteed by the Egyptian constitution.

-  India

Union Human Resource Development Minister has launched the 5 documents covering the 5 verticals of Quality Mandate adopted by University Grants Commission (UGC) to improve the quality of higher educational institutions. These five documents cover: evaluation reforms; eco-friendly and sustainable university campuses; human values and professional ethics; faculty induction; and academic research integrity.

- Evaluation reforms in Higher Educational Institutions

- Eco-friendly and Sustainable University Campuses: The SATAT - Framework for Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Campus development in Higher Educational Institutions

- Human Values & Professional Ethics: A policy framework ‘MulyaPravah – Guidelines for Inculcation of Human Values and Professional Ethics in Higher.

- Guidelines for Guru-Dakshta – A guide to Faculty Induction Programme (FIP)

- Consortium for Academic and Research Ethics (UGC-CARE)

-  Ireland

The Irish Universities Association, together with the Technological Higher Education Association and the Union of Students in Ireland have called for a commitment from the next government to increase core funding to higher education by at least €100 million per year over the next three years and using an additional €200m per year from the National Training Fund (NTF) which is funded through a levy on employer revenues.

-  Japan

Hiroshima University has released Policies and Guidelines for Respecting Gender and Sexual Diversity to support LGBT+ Students applicable as of 1 April 2020. Aspects covered are: counseling; treatment of students’ names and gender information; classes; campus life.

The Japan Association of Private Universities and Colleges (JAPUC) International Cooperation Committee has made available the English language summary of the Hazard Preparedness Manual, which It guides university staff in providing support to international student in case of a major disaster, from preparations to responses.

-  Netherlands

A report entitled ‘Survey of the extent and effects of structural overtime at the Dutch universities’ by WOinactie,the Dutch academic campaigning group, details that academic employees at Dutch universities work an extra 12 to 15 hours a week. The report was sent to the Inspectorate SZW, which investigates working conditions.

-  New Zealand

The Minister of Education issued an Interim Code of Practice Pastoral Care of Domestic Tertiary Students that applies from 1 January 2020. It sets out a general duty of pastoral care that tertiary education providers should provide for domestic tertiary students, and specific requirements for those who provide student accommodation. All tertiary education providers are expected to comply with the code.

-  Pakistan

The Pakistan Higher Education Commission (HEC) is shoring up control on MS/MPhil and PhD degrees and programmes and has warned students and parents that it will not attest degrees and programmes launched after 1 June 2020 that have not been approved – i.e, offered by institutions that have not been granted a mandatory No Objection Certificate (NOC).

-  Papua New Guinea
The Papua New Guinea Higher Education Loan Program (PNG-HELP) has been establishedto increase the numbers of students entering and graduating from higher and technical education institutions. Several of the Government’s stated objectives are addressed, including the need to increase the number and quality of higher education graduates; providing equitable access to quality higher education; meeting social and economic demands to boost the skills and knowledge for a competitive workforce.

-  Singapore

The Government has taken measures to enhance the affordability of higher education. Financial support has been increased for part-time undergraduates and diploma students and for students from lower-income families. About 2,100 Singaporean part-time undergraduate students are expected to benefit from the bursary enhancements in 2020.

-  Spain

The European Investment Bank has announced that public sector universities in the Spanish region of Galicia will receive €100 million in funding to conduct research, development and innovation projects. The loan has been issued through the InnovFin Science programme and The projects will be supported by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

-  Tanzania

The Tanzania Commission for Universities has released its latest Handbook for Standards and Guidelines for University Education, requiring universities to differentiate themselves from mid-level academic institutions such as polytechnics. The Guidelines state that universities will no longer be allowed to offer diploma or certificate courses that can be offered by mid-level institutions.

- United Kingdom

A report from the London School of Economics entitled ‘Inequalities in Student to Course Match’, which examines the students’ secondary school qualifications and the courses they attend, has just been released. The research findings show that students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds with good A-level grades are significantly more likely to opt for less prestigious universities than those with similar results from more advantaged backgrounds. The research was carried out using data on a cohort that enrolled in university in 2008.

- United States of America

The American Council on Education (ACE), an IAU Member, has released a report entitled Student Finance Policies Worldwide. The report analyses national-level higher education financing approaches for a diverse set of countries world-wide, and how each approach relates to equity and attainment.

ACE, along with five other higher education associations submitted comments in January to the National Labor Relations Board expressing support for a proposed federal rule that would define undergraduate and graduate student workers as non-employees under the National Labor Relations Act.

A new white paper based on a recent national Center for Digital Education (CDE) survey of higher education leaders, security personnel and first responders, explores key security priorities and challenges, and outlines technology-driven approaches that can help ensure higher education institutions, students and staff remain safe.

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IAU LynxDecember 2019
IAU Lynx November 2019
IAU Lynx October 2019

IAU Lynx coordinator: Amanda Sudic
Collaborating team: Nicholas Poulton, Samuel Pousson, Carine Sébast and Isabel Toman
Contact: Amanda Sudic
© IAU 2019

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