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IAU Lynx June 2019


June 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.



Beijing Consensus on Artificial Intelligence and Education adopted
The Beijing Consensus on Artificial Intelligence and Education 2019 was adopted by UNESCO Member Countries as an outcome of the International Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Education held in Beijing, China from 16 - 18 May 2019. It calls for the systematic integration of AI in education, leveraging AI to achieve SDG 4, and recommends actions to be taken by governments, international organisations and UNESCO.

Closing Gender Divides in Digital Skills - new report
The report I’d blush If I Could: Closing Gender Divides in Digital Skills Through Education
features recommendations and worldwide good practice on how to make technology studies – especially digital skills education - more inclusive of women and girls to improve gender equality in digital professions and eliminate stereotypes in AI applications.

2020 L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science awards - call for nominations
Nominations are open for the 2020 L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science awards that will recognise the scientific accomplishments of five outstanding researchers in the Life Sciences, each working in one of the following regions: Africa and the Arab States, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and North America. Deadline: 12 June.

UNESCO Office in Bangkok
The call for nominations for the Wenhui Award for Educational Innovation 2019 has been launched. The theme is Promoting University and School Partnerships in Advancing the Education 2030 Agenda. Two individuals or institutions from the Asia and Pacific region will be selected. Closing date: 31 July.

- Asian Development Bank (ADB)

ADB has published Realizing Education for All in the Digital Age, a collection of nine Policy Briefs drawn from the work of Think20 (T20) task forces on “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Task Force 1)” and “The Future of Work and Education for the Digital Age (Task Force 7). They provide recommendations to help guide the discussions among the G20 leaders and partners and inspire global and national actions.

- Asia-Europe Meeting of Education Ministers (ASEM ME7)

Asian and European education Ministers adopted the Bucharest Statement at the Asia-Europe Meeting of Education Ministers (ASEM ME7) in Bucharest on 15 - 16 May. Themed ‘Connecting education: Inclusion, Mobility and Excellence in Support of the Sustainable Development Goals’, the Bucharest Statement underlines the importance of the link between the ASEM Education Process and sustainable development for achieving Agenda 2030. The Statement also acknowledges digitalisation as a transversal theme in ASEM.

- Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) Rectors’ Conference

The 7th Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) Rectors’ Conference and Students’ Forum (ARC7) took place in Bucharest immediately prior to ASEM and discussed the key responsibility of universities in tackling the SDGs.

- Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU)

ACU has launched two new PhD studentships to fund research projects which relate directly to the Commonwealth as a whole or has particular relevance to its member nations. Deadline for applications: 30 June

- British Council

The British Council have released their flagship report, ‘The Shape of Global Higher Education’. The report compares international student mobility, international research collaboration and transnational education across 20 countries in Europe and the Americas.

- Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO)

ISESCO has launched a call for the 2nd Edition of the ISESCO Prize for Open Digital Educational Resources. The prize aims to promote innovative educational technology projects and practices integrating ICT in education, training, scientific research and administrative management, reflecting the values and cultural specificities of the Islamic world. Time limit: 31 July.

- Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development - OECD

OECD has just releasedOECD Skills Strategy 2019. Skills to Shape a Better Future. The updated Strategy incorporates skills policies and actions from across OECD countries which incorporate lifelong education (including higher education), employment, and strengthening the governance of skills systems.

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Africa - Americas - Europe

- Africa

Universities South Africa - Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU)
The symposium on Developing the Capacity of Early Career Researchers took place 18 - 19 March at the University of Johannesburg in collaboration with the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) and Universities South Africa (USAf), both IAU Members. Presenters and participants discussed the importance of supporting emerging researchers, and building a cadre of emerging scholars for South Africa’s higher education, challenges they face, and support programmes available to them. The programme, along with speaker presentations, can be found here.

- Americas

Universities Caribbean
Universities Caribbean, a recently-joined Member of IAU, is organising the 2019 edition of the One Caribbean Solutions symposium in collaboration with The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). It will allow academics to discuss the concept of the Caribbean as one space with a focus on significant issues to the region. The event will be streamed live on UWI TV () on 14 June. The programme is available here

Union de Universidades de América Latina (UDUAL)
On 14 May the Colombian Association of Distance Higher Education (ACESAD) signed a partnership agreement with UDUAL to foster the role of distance-learning within higher education in the region.

Centro Interuniversitario de Desarrollo (CINDA)
The Vice-Rectors of the university network Centre for Interuniversity Development (CINDA) (Centro Interuniversitario de Desarrollo), an IAU member, convened a meeting in Santiago, Chile, from 13 to 17 May to adopt new policies on higher education. The main agreements cover the importance of internationalization, transformation of teaching, learning and assessment and welfare of members of the university community.

- Europe

European Commission
The European Commission recommended in May that EUR 100 million more should be made available for Horizon 2020 and the successor scheme of Erasmus+. The proposal, which needs to be approved by the European Parliament and the Council, would increase the total budget for research and for student mobility in 2019 to EUR 15.2 billion.

Linking Academic Recognition and Quality Assurance (LIREQA)
European national quality and recognition agencies, as partners of the European Union financed project ‘Linking Academic Recognition and Quality Assurance’ (LIREQA), have published recommendations on how fair and effective academic recognition practices can be supported through internal and external quality assurance. The recommendations also call for the various actors involved in recognition to improve cooperation and communication to foster trust, transparency and sharing of good practice.

Academic Cooperation Association (ACA)
ACA has just released a new report entitled Internationalisation for All? Wider Inclusion in the Internationalisation of Higher Education. The report addresses underrepresented groups in
international higher education and particularly in student mobility, such as students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, students with disabilities, students from minority or migrant backgrounds, students with a refugee background, adult learners, and working students.

European University Association (EUA)
A new briefing by the EUA analyses the features of around 130 cases of university mergers and clusters since 2000 and identifies different patterns across the continent.

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Australia Botswana Brazil Canada
Chile China Denmark Egypt
Estonia Finland France Germany
Ghana Hungary India Indonesia
Ireland Japan Morocco Mexico
Nicaragua Portugal Philippines Russian Federation
South Africa Spain Sri Lanka Turkey
United Kingdom United States

-  Australia

The Group of Eight (Go8) has released Priority Directions 2: Three Essentials for Future Economic Success, that sets out priorities of research, international engagement and post-secondary education for universities to contribute as the community and the economy.

-  Botswana

The Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA) is seeking experts who hold relevant qualifications and experience in diverse fields of learning, to register in the Expert Database for Validations of Qualifications. Deadline for applications: 30 June.

-  Brazil

on 15 May, President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration published a decree which goes into effect on 25 July 25 which allows the president, or his delegates, to appoint or veto university officials. University leaders are currently appointed or elected by their academic communities.

-  Canada

The FQPPU, the Quebec Federation of University Professors, has released the results of a national survey conducted in 2018 on the administrative overload of Québec university professors. More than two-thirds of respondents felt that their administrative burden is unreasonable.

-  Chile

On 10 May, the results of the National Survey of Student Commitment Evaluation, sponsored by the Chile Universities Council of Rectors (Consejo de Rectores de las Universidades Chilenas) (CRUCH), were made public.

-  China

The International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Educationtook place in Beijing on 16 - 18 May. The conference was jointly organised by the Ministry of Education, UNESCO, the China National Commission for UNESCO and the Beijing municipal government. As an outcome of the conference, the Beijing Consensus calls on countries to introduce policies to promote integration of AI and education, boost AI’s role in building open and flexible educational systems, and facilitate universal accessibility to fair and quality lifelong learning opportunities.

- China-Macao

The Higher Education Bureau posted an article that provides an overview of the development of higher education since the establishment of the Macao Special Administrative Region in 1999. Progress described is in the expansion of higher education, quality enhancement, institutional autonomy, and academic research.

-  Denmark

The Danish Government and Parliament have passed an Act aimed at providing better opportunities for student and graduate employment. The act is based on the Agreement on Increasing Flexibility of University Education Programmes, concluded on 6 December 2018. It includes increased opportunities for students returning to Masters studies, and more possibilities for studying part-time.

-  Egypt

Egypt’s Minister of Higher Education, Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, announced recently that the ministry is preparing a comprehensive vision to transition into ‘smart’ universities within two years.
This will include the establishment of faculties for computers, information and artificial intelligence in universities and the development of medical education in universities and efforts to promote university hospitals.

-  Estonia

Rectors of Estonian universities have spoken out against the state budget for 2020-2023, announced by the government in May. The budget does not include increased funding for research and development, as promised by the government in April. The budget provides for maintaining current funding levels.

-  Finland

The results of a study on internationalisation in Finland has been released by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The research was conducted by the Finnish Institute for Educational Research, based at the University of Jyväskylä, an IAU Member. The study found distinct differences within and between higher education institutions and sets out recommendations for action to be taken at various levels, nationwide, regionally and in institutions of higher education.

-  France

On 28 May, the French Rectors Association, (Conférence des présidents d’université) and the public agency Foundation for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities in the Public Sector (Fonds pour l’insertion des personnes handicapées dans la fonction Publique) signed a partnership agreement. The agreement aims to assist universities in the employment of people with disabilities; aid access for students with disabilities; and to develop research on disabilities.

-  Germany

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK), the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH) and the country’s research council have published the 2018 report on internationalization. The report finds that the upward trend in the degree of ‘internationality’ in Germany continues: 20.5% of all first-year students, and 9.9% of all students, were foreign nationals who had received their prior education outside of Germany. The share of foreign nationals among all academic staff rose to 12%.

-  Ghana

The government has approved an increase in funding for scientific research to aid development in the country. The approval is yet to be endorsed by Parliament.

-  Hungary

The Minister for Innovation and Technology, László Palkovics, has announced a law amendment “to transform the structure and financing of the research, development and innovation system". The amendment removes 40 per cent of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA) budget. Plans are also being drawn up by the government to remove the Academy of Sciences’ network of research institutions and to create a new governing council.

-  India

The Draft National Education Policy 2019 has been released. Built on the foundational pillars of Access, Equity, Quality, Affordability and Accountability, it aims to equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge and eliminate the shortage in the workforce in science, technology, academia and industry. It proposes restructuring at institutional, degree programmes and system levels as well as measures to support internationalization, open and distance learning quality, technology integration, adult and lifelong learning, gender and social equity.

-  Indonesia

The Minister for research, technology and higher education has launched new software to assist people with visual impairment to sit their computer-based university entrance test by transforming text into audio.

-  Ireland

The Higher Education Authority has published a review of teacher training programmes in Ireland. The review indicates that teacher education graduate numbers have fallen by more than a third since since the introduction of the mandatory two-year postgraduate diploma in 2013 - annual fees of around €6,000 for the two-year diploma now are ‘prohibitive’ for many students.

-  Japan

The Japanese government has increased the number of business sectors that foreign nationals are allowed to work in after graduating from universities or completing postgraduate studies in Japan. The government notification is effective from 30 May.

-  Morocco

On 16 May, the Council for Higher Education, training and research - Conseil Supérieur de l’Education, de la Formation et de la Recherche Scientifique (CSEFRS) presented ’Higher Education 2030’, a new draft report. It proposes 7 components and 58 recommendations for the development of the higher education system. These include governance, funding, research and innovation, student life and faculty, career development and evaluation.

-  Mexico

A new Education Reform was launched on May by the president of Mexico. At the core of the reform is the the abolition of the National Institute of Education’s Evaluation - Instituto Nacional para la Evaluación de la Educación (INEE) . The Institute will be replaced by another governmental, but autonomous body.

-  Nicaragua

On 15 May, the seminar ‘Harmonization and Curriculum Articulation’ organised by the National Council of Universities (CNU) and the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN Managua), reunited experts on Higher Education from Central America and Cuba. The main issues that were addressed concern the Qualifications Framework for Central American Higher Education (MECESCA) and regional harmonisation.

-  Portugal

A decree issued by the Portuguese Government which sets out provisions for a simplified procedure for international students for obtaining their visas came into effect on 11 May.

-  Philippines

The Philippines recently passed the Graduation Legacy For the Environment Act, which requires all “elementary, high school, and college students to plant at least 10 trees each as a prerequisite for graduation,” This initiative will ensure that at least 175 million new trees would be planted each year.

-  Russian Federation

In April the government approved the expansion of Project 5-100, a state initiative aimed at improving the quality of higher education and raising the competitiveness of Russian universities in the international arena. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev confirmed that from 2021, 30 universities would receive state support within Project 5 - 1000 - instead of the current 21.

-  South Africa

The Department of Higher Education and Training has released a Policy Framework to address Gender-Based Violence in the Post-School Education and Training System. The policy framework, which is open for public comments, sets out the proposed strategy of the government to address the increased occurrence of gender based violence in higher education, to prevent it and the outlines ways for systematic monitoring it. The policy aims to be inclusive, irrespective of position, role, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

-  Spain

On 10 May, representatives from 51 Spanish universities participated in a national conference on Sustainable Mobility organised by Crue Universidades Españolas, the Spanish Association of Universities. The conference, held in Valladolid, Spain, affirmed the importance of Sustainable development within higher education and approved a Declaration on the proactive role that Spanish universities must play in complying with Agenda 2030.

- Sri Lanka

The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka has written to the University Grants Commission, which oversees universities, to request that they ensure non-discrimination in higher education institutions, further to extremist attacks in the country in April. The Human Rights Commission letter also calls for the Commission to ensure security measures recently brought in at universities do not discriminate against a particular community.

- Turkey

The Board of Higher Education (YÖK), which oversees universities, announced in May that limitations on the number of foreign students seeking to study in Turkish universities have been abolished. There is currently a 50 per cent quota for foreign students in Turkish universities.

-  United Kingdom

Funding review
The Government Review of Post-18 Education and Funding (the ‘Augar review’) has been released. The review’s main recommendations, which apply to students starting in academic year 2021-22, include cutting annual tuition fees from £9250 to £7500. Universities UK have responded to the review by stating that a cut to the fee should not be made if there is no guarantee to replace the funding.

European students post-Brexit
The Universities Minister, Chris Skidmore, announced on 28 May that fees for EU students starting university in the 2020-21 academic year will remain the same as for British students and they will remain eligible for financial support. This extends the existing commitment on student finance for EU nationals starting courses in England in the 2019-20 academic year.

Degree courses - government statement
The Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, has called on universities to drop or revamp ‘low value degrees’’ - courses where graduates’ earnings do not meet the loan repayment threshold, £25,000 or over, five years after graduation.Universities UK in response said that while most university graduates earn significantly more than non-graduates, salary outcomes shouldn’t be the only measure of value.

Degree classification transparency - universities response
As part of a UK-wide consultation on grade inflation, higher education institutions have agreed a Statement of Intent which outlines universities’ commitment to transparency, fairness and reliability in the way they award degrees. It provides a framework for action and will be in place for the 2019-20 academic year. The consultation was led by the UK Standing Committee for Quality Assessment with Universities UK , GuildHE and the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.

-  United States

New bill to protect scientific research from espionage
A new bipartisan bill, Securing American Science and Technology Act of 2019, was introduced in the in the U.S. House of Representatives on 30 May “to address academic espionage at our institutions of higher education”. The bill claims to better coordinate the federal government’s efforts to protect federal funded research while maintaining international engagement. 26 universities and higher education associations, including IAU Member the American Council on Education, sent a letter of support from to the bill’s sponsors on 30 May.

Enrolment and access - new research
According to a new Pew Research Center analysis of National Center for Education Statistics data, the overall number of undergraduates at U.S. higher education institutions has increased dramatically over the past 20 years, with growth fueled almost exclusively by an influx of students from low-income families and students of color. However, these changes are not occurring uniformly: the rise of low-income and minority undergraduates has been most pronounced in public two-year colleges and the least selective four-year institutions.

Students’ mental health
The American Council on Education (ACE), an IAU Member, has released a briefing on student mental health. Investing in Student Mental Health details how higher education institutions can take action to prioritise student mental health, even with limited resources. It is accompanied by a new online tool to assess economic benefits to institutions providing services and programmes that improve students’ mental health.

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IAU Lynx May 2019
IAU Lynx April 2019
IAU Lynx March 2019

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