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IAU Lynx July 2020


July 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.



The Global Education Monitoring Report, 2020: Inclusion and Education: All Means All assesses progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) on education, explores challenges raised, identifies different forms of exclusion, their causes and policies that can be implemented to tackle them.

The background paper on Higher education and Inclusion prepared for the 2020 Global Education Monitoring Report Inclusion and Education has also been released. Topics addressed include: the definition of equity target groups in higher education, the scope of disparities, the range of policies directed toward widening participation, and effective equity promotion practices from around the globe.

The recently released UNESCO Education Sector’s note on Quality Assurance and Recognition of Distance Higher Education and TVET discusses issues and challenges in the promotion of Open and Distance Learning (ODL), lessons from past practices and current crisis, and provides practical tips for designing policy interventions aimed at enhancing ODL.

UNESCO has posted an interview of the deputy Rector for Inclusion and Disabilities at the University of Padua - host institution of the UNESCO Chair in Human Rights, Democracy and Peace - on inclusive measures the institution has taken in order to address the needs and ensure access of students with disabilities to online teaching and other services during the COVID-19 outbreak.

UNESCO Bangkok

A recording of the webinar COVID-19 What Next…? E-Learning: The Magic Solution for Higher Education? - held 17 June - is online. It explored how the current pandemic is forcing a rethink of what higher education means, and its relevance in the world today. Discussions focused on: Equitable access to higher education; Sustaining the three pillars of HEIs; Enabling non-Western pedagogies; the impact on employability.

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

The study Quality Assurance and Accreditation Criteria in Higher Education. International Perspectives analyzes the trends and challenges in quality assurance policies for higher education, comparing 10 accreditation agencies located in North America, South America, the Asian Pacific and Europe, considering their governance frameworks, their relationship with the academic sector and the promotion of shared trust between the Institutions that make up the systems.

IESALC posted online a video recording of the first session of the 2020 II Forum on Quality Assurance in Higher Education, jointly organized with the Ministry of Education of Colombia (MEC) on 27 May. The virtual session gathered researchers, teachers, quality leaders, rectors of higher education institutions and executives of government entities in Latin American countries to share experiences on home learning processes supported by information technologies carried out by higher education institutions during the pandemic.

A video recording of the webinar From Contingency to Foresight: New Challenges and Opportunities for Cooperation in Higher Education in the Americas organized by the Universidad Nacional del Nordeste UNNE (National University of the Northeast) (Argentina), Organización Universitaria Interamericana OUI (Inter-American University Organization) and the Consejo Interuniversitario Nacional CIN (National Inter-University Council) on 21 May is available.

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

The second webcast in the series devoted to higher education issues presents the latest comparative report on quality assurance agencies in higher education institutions globally: “Quality Assurance and Accreditation Criteria in Higher Education. International perspectives” (La garantía de calidad y los criterios de acreditación en la educación superior. Perspectivas internacionales). This webcast is based on questions that seek to answer issues such as the evolution of higher education governance in the world, the similarities between quality agencies and between accreditation criteria, as well as internationally shared problems.

IESALC/Latin-America and the Caribbean Open Science Forum (CILAC)

IESALC and CILCA have launched a survey for Higher Education Institutions about the impact of COVID-19 on research addressed to governing bodies of higher education institutions in Latin-America and the Caribbean. Its objective is to gather data related to the way that COVID-19 is affecting research and how institutions are contributing to the search of crisis solutions.

UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE)

IITE has published the report Online and Open Education in Shanghai: Emergency Response and Innovative Practice during COVID-19 Pandemic prepared in partnership with Shanghai Open University and East China Normal University to document the emergency response and innovative experience accumulated by Shanghai during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure education continuity at all levels – including higher education.

UNESCO-International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA)

The report Distance Learning Classes in Tertiary Education Institutions in Kenya During School Closure includes results of a survey conducted in May 2020 by UNESCO-IICBA on the initiation of new distance learning classes in higher education institutions in Africa. It aimed at identifying the best ways to support tertiary educators in Africa to implement distance learning classes following the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

UNESCO and ECCAS joint statement on the education sector’s response to the COVID crisis in Central Africa. The statement between UNESCO and the Economic Community of Central African States was signed as both parties reaffirmed their engagement to bring immediate support to Member States in order to facilitate education during the crisis via innovative methods such as both online and offline distance education, radio etc.

- CHEA and IAU
The Council for Higher Education Accreditation/International Quality Group and IAU held a webinar on 17 June entitled ‘The future of value-based higher education and quality assurance – the future of academic freedom’. Participants addressed academic freedom as it relates to institutions and quality assurance, from a European, Latin American and international perspective and how academic freedom is being challenged today.

- Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development

The OECD has released the report ‘Resourcing Higher Education: Challenges, Choices and Consequences’. It analyses the economic and fiscal challenges that public authorities face across the world in making decisions in the allocation and management of financial and human resources in higher education.

- World Bank

A new paper has been released by the World Bank which examines the current state of higher education systems in the East Asia and Pacific region and highlights some of the pressing changes, challenges, and expected consequences of the responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Americas - Asia - Europe

- Americas

Unión de Universidades de América Latina y el Caribe (UDUAL)

The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the Union of Latin American and Caribbean Universities (UDUAL) held the second ministerial and academic meeting aimed at addressing the challenges of COVID-19 in the region. Under the title “Challenges of the Post-Pandemic Education Sector” (Retos del Sector Educativo Post-Pandemia), the dialogue between rectors and ministers of education emphasized the alliance between academia and government. Rectors of UDUAL-affiliated universities participated in the meeting, as well as ministerial delegations from 19 countries in the region.

Asociación Universitaria Iberoamericana de Postgrado

The Selection Committee of the Scholarship Programme for studying master’s degrees at the University of Alcalá, after examining the applications received and, in application of the criteria established in the call, agreed to allocate 20 scholarships to study at that university.

The AUIO Awards for postgraduate quality in Latin America are now open. Postgraduate programmes must only be Doctorate, Master’s or Medical Specialty and be taught in person at AUIP’s partner institutions. Application deadline: 30 December

Organización de Estados Iberoamericanos para la Educación, la Ciencia y la Cultura (OEI)

On 24 June, OEI participated in the webinar organized by the Business Council Alliance for Ibero-America (CEAPI) entitled “The challenge of virtual higher education in Ibero-America: expansion with quality” (El reto de la educación superior virtual en Iberoamérica: expansión con calidad). The recording of the seminar is available online.

- Asia

ASIA-Europe Meeting (ASEM)

TheASEM Network of MOOCs has just published the results of its best practices survey, conducted by the National Institute for Lifelong Education of Korea. Six MOOC platforms from France, Japan, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand were surveyed to identify best practices for utilizing MOOC platforms and courses with the goal of ensuring that each partner improves its platform, overcomes obstacles for operating it, while gaining in recognition and in utilization.

SHARE Programme

SHARE’s 11th Policy Dialogue series themed “Looking Ahead to an ASEAN Higher Education Space” was held online on June 10 - 25. Sessions included: Innovations in Credential Recognition and Portability for Internationalisation; Internationalisation at Home for Inclusiveness; Virtual Mobility and Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) for ASEAN; A Dialogue on the Study on Enhancing Intra-ASEAN Student Mobility; Quality Standards for Online and Distance Higher Education.

- Europe

Academic Cooperation Association (ACA)

The ACA has released The World after COVID-19, a series of ‘think pieces’ by leading higher education specialists. The most recent paper is entitled ‘The Resources and also the Soul of the Universities Under Attack’ ‘ by Dirk van Damme of the OECD.

European Universities Association

In the European Commission’s latest proposal for the EU’s next seven-year budget, Erasmus+ is projected to be funded with 24.6 billion euros. EUA has expressed concern in a statement that the amount will not be sufficient to meet the new and ambitious policy objectives for the next generation of the programme.

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Argentina Australia Belgium Belize
Brazil Canada Chile China (Taiwan)
Germany India Italy Mexico
New Zealand Nigeria Peru Singapore
Sri Lanka United Kingdom United States of America Vietnam

-  Argentina

On 26 June, the first International Forum on Higher Education 2020 of the Council of Rectors of Paraguay was held with the support of the National Council of Higher Education (CONES) and the National Agency for Evaluation and Accreditation of Higher Education (ANEAES).

-  Australia

Graduate employment

The Government has announced the Job-ready Graduates Package, a series of Higher education reforms due to commence from 2021. It aims to provide more opportunities for people to gain the qualifications they will require for the jobs of the future and to create a higher education system that is more efficient and can deliver better outcomes for students, industry and the wider community.

Academic standards

The Australian Government has announced the creation of Higher Education Integrity Unit within Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) in order to identify and analyse emerging threats and assist the sector to address them. Areas of focus will include: admission standards and information, academic and research governance integrity, student safety, foreign interference, cyber security, fraud and corruption.

Covid-19 guidelines for universities

Universities Australia has released the Principles and Protocols for Reducing the Potential Risk of Covid-19 Transmission at Universities, an overarching framework designed to help universities with the resuming face-to-face learning on campuses around the country.

-  Belgium

Over ten universities and university colleges in Belgium reaffirmed they will not impose a headscarf ban, despite the Constitutional Court recently ruling that such a ban is allowed in higher education.

-  Belize

The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture of Belize has posted on its website the list of calls for scholarships for students at the bachelor, master, doctoral and postdoctoral research levels.

-  Brazil

The Associação Brasileira das Instituições Comunitárias de Educação Superior has reported that researchers from state universities of Paraná, the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR), the Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná (PUC-PR), Research Institutes and some universities in the state of São Paulo will participate in a genomics study, pioneering in Brazil and Latin America, on the clinical manifestations of COVID-19 in different types of patients. The study begins in July and will be coordinated by the Cancer Research Institute (IPEC/Guarapuava), through the Genomics Network.

-  Canada

The Canadian government is moving to make available post-secondary education transcripts and credentials through an official, digitized platform, an initiative titled the Canadian National Network. The digitization of credentials will enable learners to access and digitally share official documents.

-  Chile

The Ministry of Education delivered the results of the second allocation of student benefits 2020, the results of the renewal of benefits for former students and the results for young people who appealed after receiving their first allocation in April. After this process, 761,300 young people will study for free, with scholarships and/or credits in the higher education system.

The Council of Rectors of Chilean Universities (CRUCH) has informed the public of its disconcert and unease with the position of the Ministry of Education, expressed by the Under-Secretary of Higher Education in the Senate’s Education and Culture Commission, regarding the rejection of the various alternative solutions presented by CRUCH to face the difficult academic and financial situation of its universities in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.

-  China (Taiwan)

The Ministry of Education has proposed three principles and two standard operating procedures for allowing overseas students to return to Taiwan for study. Priority will be given to the entry of overseas students from the low-risk countries/regions. It has also posted an Overseas students Q&A regarding overseas students’ entry in Taiwan and Study Measures for Colleges and Universities in Response to the Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).

-  Germany

A bridging aid programme has been launched for students facing financial hardship owing to the coronavirus crisis. Students at German universities can apply for a non-repayable allowance of up to €500 a month for the months of June, July and August.

-  India

India rankings

The Minister of Human Resource Development has released “India Rankings 2020” of Institutions of Higher Education in various categories on the basis of their performance on five broad categories of parameters, i.e. Teaching, Learning and Resources, Research and Professional Practice, Graduation Outcomes, Outreach and Inclusivity and Perception. This year the domain “Dental” has been introduced for the first time.

Learning and Covid-19

The Minister for HRD has launched the information booklet “Safe online learning in the times of COVID-19” developed by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) and UNESCO New Delhi Office to raise awareness of students and teachers on staying safe online and provide support for teaching.

Online teaching

QASPIR and the Association of Indian Universities have jointly developed the free course “Developing as an Online Practitioner” aimed at building capacity of faculty members of Indian universities on the use of information technology and maximizing online practices.

The HRD Minister has launched the ‘YUKTI 2.0’ platform for Higher Education Institutes to: help systematically assimilate technologies having commercial potential and information related to incubated startups in HEIs; and foster the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in academic institutions.

-  Italy

Eleven Italian universities together with the UN refugee agency UNHCR, the foreign ministry and other organizations have joined forces to launch ’’university corridors’’ to give refugee students currently in Ethiopia the opportunity of continuing to pursue their studies in Italy.

-  Mexico

The Federation of Private Mexican Higher Education Institutions (FIMPES) has published a Protocol for the Reopening of Higher Education Institutions.

-  New Zealand

The Government is proposing to amend the Education and Training Bill introduced in December 2019 in support objectives for a learner-focused, high quality, culturally responsive and inclusive education system. The amendments will support the education sector to recover from COVID-19, reduce the financial burden on institutions from the loss of international students, and future proof education for any emergencies.

Additional changes to the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) and University Entrance (UE) were introduced for academic year 2020 to give students a fair opportunity to achieve qualifications and awards despite the disruption to teaching, learning and assessment from COVID-19, while preserving the integrity of NCEA and UE.

-  Nigeria

The Tertiary Education Trust Fund has received approval to increase the National Research Fund (NRF) to N7.5 billion for the year 2020 from its initial N3 billion. The approval, granted by President Muhammadu Buhari, provides TETFund the opportunity to provide twelve Covid-19 and related infectious disease molecular laboratories, two in each geopolitical zone.

-  Peru

In order to mitigate the risk of dropping out of studies, the Ministry of Education (MINEDU) will offer short and medium term credits to 3,000 university students affected directly or indirectly by the national emergency caused by COVID-19.

-  Singapore

The Ministry of Education has provided Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) with instructions for the progressive return of students on campuses - allowed as of 29 June - the resuming of student activities and the safe management measures that IHLs must adopt to keep students and staff safe.

-  Sri Lanka

The Universities Grants Commission (UGC) in Sri Lanka is amending its University Act to permit more foreign universities to open in the country.

- United Kingdom

Student fees

Universities minister Michelle Donelan announced on 23 June that students from the European Union starting university in England in the academic year 2021/22, will have to pay higher fees under funding changes introduced as a result of Brexit.

International students

A British Council update on their survey looks at the impact of Covid-19 on overseas study plans in eight East Asian countries.

Students academic experiences

The Higher Education Policy Institute has released the results of the Student Academic Experience Survey. Based on the responses of 10,000 students across the UK, the survey found that 31% of students thought their courses were poor or very poor value, up from 29% last year.

Graduate employment

The Higher Education Policy Institute has also released Graduate outcomes statistics which show that graduates in employment or unpaid work accounted for 81% of survey respondents, including 10% who were engaged in both employment and further study.

- United States of America

Universities affirm diversity

In the context of the Black Lives Matter movement, higher education institutions have released various letters to their respective communities, denouncing racism and affirming an institutional commitment to diversity and inclusion.

DACA ruling

United States higher education institutions have welcomed the US Supreme Court ruling on 18 June that the government decision to halt the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA programme was not legal.

CHEA - New President

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation recently named Dr. Cynthia Jackson-Hammond as its new President. She will take up her new role at the beginning of August.

-  Vietnam

The Ministry of Education and Training is to implement the Vietnam National Qualifications Framework (VQF). This will stipulate the minimum learning outcomes for a tertiary level, meaning all majors at one level must meet the minimum output standards specified in the framework.

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IAU Lynx June 2020
IAU Lynx May 2020
IAU Lynx April 2020

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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