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IAU Lynx June 2020


June 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 Chairs dealing with human rights and social inclusion issues havepublished an article that addresses the impact of COVID-19 on disadvantaged students and mitigating measures adopted so far by universities as well as UNESCO’s responses.

The two laureates of the 2019 UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for the Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in Education have been announced. This edition’s theme was the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to innovate education, teaching and learning.

The UNESCO Regional Offices in Abuja and Nairobi jointly organized two webinars, in English and French, on “The Response of Higher Education to COVID-19 -Higher Education in Africa: challenges and solutions through ICT, online training, distance education and digital inclusion”, in May. Recommendations were issued regarding international mobilization, digitization of curricula, the construction/strengthening of knowledge infrastructures using renewable energies and the creation or consolidation of centres of excellence.

UNESCO Bangkok

UNESCO Bangkok and UNICEF are leading a review exercise on good practices on SDG4 (Education 2030) implementation across the Asia-Pacific and are calling for case studies that illustrate policies, programmes and projects which have contributed towards achievement of one or more of the 10 targets of SDG4.
Deadline: 30 June.

UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in the Arab States (UNESCO Beirut)

On 21 May, the UNESCO office in Beirut organized a regional webinar on the impact of COVID-19 on the Higher Education sector in the Arab region. It aimed at sharing experiences, success stories, and best practices among Arab universities regionally.

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

The IESALC report COVID-19 and higher education: Today and Tomorrow. Impact analysis, policy responses and recommendations discusses preparations for the post-crisis reopening and suggests higher education institutions to follow a 3-Phase Plan relying on distance teaching continuity, respecting health protocols and restructuring teaching models.

IESALC has posted an article on “the Internationalization of Higher Education: until when do we leave measurements?”. It discusses instruments for measuring the internationalization of higher education, indicators for measuring university internationalizations, reasons explaining the difficulty of measurement the results of HE internationalization, and the alternative of self-assessment to world rankings.

IESALC has just launched a survey aimed at higher education institutions on learning continuity during the COVID-19 crisis, in order to collect data on the strategies and mechanisms put into practice to guarantee the continuity of teaching and learning activities during the interruption of classroom classes.

The Webinar “Emancipatory Human Rights and Higher Education” organized by IESALC on 21 May reflected on questions such as: How does the human rights imagination and universities intersect with other transformation approaches such as social justice, decolonization, anti-racism, transitional justice, and inclusion and diversity?”. A video recording is available.
Also available is the recording of a webinar held in April to analyze the challenges that racism poses to higher education in Latin America today and how these challenges can be addressed.

IESALC and partner organisations are inviting all Ibero-American universities to present the initiatives conducted during the last three years to promote their visibility and transfer, and encourage south-south exchange and cooperation. Selected best practices will inform a Manual Iberoamericano de Buenas Prácticas en Internacionalización-MIBPI (Ibero-American Manual of Good Practices in Internationalization) to be published this autumn in order to disseminate them and replicate them at other universities regionally.
Deadline: 1 July.

UNESCO, in collaboration with the Regional Education Group for Latin America and the Caribbean, is launching a series of information exchanges to respond to the pandemic. The objective of this initiative is to support Ministries of Education and different educational actors in the development, management and dissemination of relevant evidence that will inform the immediate response. Recordings of the latest webinars are available to the public.

- Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development

The OECD has published Reviews of Evaluation and Assessment in Education: Albania. This review, developed in co-operation with UNICEF, provides Albania with recommendations to help strengthen its evaluation and assessment system to focus on support for student learning.

World Bank

The World Bank approved in May a €100 million project to support the modernization of Belarus’ higher education sector, a crucial step towards achieving a modern university system and boosting economic growth potential.

Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

COL has just released “Guidelines on Distance Education during COVID-19” with policy advice and practical tips on the use of distance-education methods, tools and appropriate technology as a response to the COVID-19. It includes guidelines for educational institutions, academic and support staff, students and student bodies as well as for quality assurance/accreditation and academic recognition bodies.

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Africa - Americas - Asia - Europe

- Africa

Universities South Africa

Universities South Africa organised a recent Higher Education in Africa webinar that was titled: COVID-19 and Africa’s Higher Education System: What is going on? It concluded that Online learning is integral to the future of Higher Education.

- Americas

Asociación de Universidades Grupo Montevideo (AUGM)

The Political and Social Sciences Committee of the Association of Universities of the Montevideo Group (AUGM) is preparing the first edition of its “Mirando al Sur” Bulletin. This first issue will be entitled “El tiempo que vivimos. COVID 19 y su impacto en nuestras sociedades” (The time we are living. COVID 19 and its impact on our societies). Universities in the Montevideo group are invited to submit opinion articles.

Asociación Universitaria Iberoamericana de Postgrado

The Selection Committees for the Scholarship Programmes to study Masters at Andalusian Universities, meeting on 20 May, agreed to award the scholarships for the universities of Almeria, Cadiz, Cordoba, Huelva, Jaen, Malaga, Seville, Pablo Olavide of Seville and the International University of Andalusia.

Inter-american Development Bank

The Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) Coalition for Transversal Skills in the 21st Century, centered on ensuring inclusion, equity, and quality education in Latin American and Caribbean countries has been joined by The Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that operates Wikipedia.

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

The call for submissions is open for the volume 84 (September-December 2020) of the Revista Iberoamericana de Educación, which will have as its title: New data, new challenges: Iberoamerica in the latest educational evaluations. Deadline: 30 June.

Unión de Universidades de América Latina y el Caribe UDUAL

UDUAL held the virtual meeting: Towards a New Global Economy: University-Ministry Meeting, as part of Mexico’s pro tempore presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), with the participation of the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and representatives of Latin American and Caribbean universities. Participants proposed solutions to the health, economic and humanitarian crises involving the Covid19 virus.

Instituto Latinoamericano y del Caribe de Calidad en Educación Superior a Distancia (CALED)

CALED, along with partner institutions, is currently running a series of online seminars on the quality and evaluation of online and distance higher education in the context of the Coronavirus pandemic. Video recordings of the first one, held 7 May and dedicated to the Impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the Quality of Higher Education at Distance and Online are now online.

UNESCO Chair in Higher Education and Indigenous and Afro-descendant Peoples in Latin America)

The UNESCO Chair on Higher Education and Indigenous and Afro-descendant Peoples in Latin America is inviting proposals regarding a Call for Actions on the Internet aimed at promoting reflections and debates on the multiple forms of racism that still persist in higher education systems in Latin America, and contribute to their eradication. The selected actions will receive UNESCO Chair’s support, which will carry out campaigns to disseminate them, seeking to optimize their visibility.
Deadline: 15 July.

Ibero-American Association for Distance Education
The Ibero-American Association for Distance Education has made available on its YouTube channel a series of webinars related to the university’s response to the remains of COVID-19.

- Asia

Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO)

The SEAMEO Secretariat has launched a Webinar Series to discuss the response of member countries to the COVID-19 pandemic. Themes covered so far include: Emotional and Psychosocial Health; the importance of Distance Learning, OERs and Online Resources; Effects on Student Mobility and Exchange; good practices for enhancing resilience and connectivity. Video recordings can be found on SEAMEO’s Youtube channel.

- Europe

European Union

The EU’s Open Science Policy Platform (OSPP) published its final report “Progress on Open Science: Towards a Shared Research Knowledge System” on 28 May. This summary of Practical Commitments for Implementation with specific examples of progress by each stakeholder community across Europe). The group of 25 key stakeholder representatives then propose a vision for moving beyond Open Science to create a shared research knowledge system by 2030.

European University Association

THe European University Association (EUA) has published the position paper ‘The future of the European Universities Initiative’ as well as the results of the recent EUA survey on international strategic institutional partnerships and the European Universities Initiative.

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Armenia Australia Barbados Chile
China Colombia Costa Rica Ethiopia
Estonia Germany Ghana Hong Kong
India Ireland Jamaica Kenya
Malaysia Netherlands New Zealand Nigeria
Peru South Africa United Kingdom United States

- Armenia

President Arayik Harutyunyan announced that higher education in the country’s public educational institutions will be free of charge from September 1.

- Australia

Response to Covid-19
A Joint Statement of Principles for the Higher Education Sector COVID-19 Response has been issued by tertiary education-related organisations to provide guidance for the higher education sector to mitigate and minimise the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic while ensuring community expectations for public health and safety are met.

Online resources
eSafety and Universities Australia (UA) have made available a Toolkit for Universities that contains 14 resources offering targeted advice to help universities, academics and other teaching staff, students be safer online by building greater awareness of online safety risks, providing guidance on how to prevent, prepare for and respond to online safety incidents, supporting student and staff wellbeing.

International students
Applications are open for the Destination Australia grants for 2021 scholarships launched last year to encourage domestic and international students to study in regional Australia. Next year’s programme will help regional and remote Australian education providers and communities to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Online learning
The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) is putting online video recordings of a webinar series entitled “Going online: R(e)imagining teaching and learning”meant to discuss how to make online learning work best for institutions, workforce and students. Topics covered so far were: best practice for establishing online learning; Enabling staff to work in an online learning environment; Assessment integrity; Designing curriculum for an online environment.

- Barbados

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) of Japan, through the Embassy of Japan in Barbados, is offering scholarships to Barbadians who wish to study at universities in Japan as Research Students.

- Chile

The Council of Rectors of Chilean Universities issued a public statement analyzing the situation of universities in the context of the health emergency by Covid-19. It noted the investment of resources and the difficulties and limitations arising from this scenario, which have had a strong impact on the financial status of the institutions.

- China

Recruiting rural students
The Ministry of Education has adopted a comprehensive action plan aimed at key universities and colleges to recruit students from rural and poverty-stricken areas in 2020. They were asked to develop targeted recruitment campaigns, provide consulting services to student applicants, and ensure that suitable frameworks to receive these students on undergraduate programs were in place.

Online learning
Two Global Online Learning Platforms - namely “XuetangX”( and “iCourse International” (’ – have been launched with support of the Ministry of Education of China and Chinese National Commission for UNESCO in order to support learning worldwide during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

- Colombia

Information on regulations
The Colombian Association of Universities, in response to the health emergency declared by the National Government, and the issuance of regulations aimed at mitigating the COVID-19, compiles and concentrates the national regulatory provisions with impact on the higher education sector and facilitate their consultation to partner institutions.

Examinations and quality assurance
During the II International Forum on Quality Assurance in Higher Education, organized by the Ministry of National Education, the Director General of the Colombian Institute for the Evaluation of Education - Icfes, stated that the taking place of the State Tests in the current circumstances is fundamental not only because of the benefits they represent for the students but for the society in general.

- Costa Rica

The National Council of Rectors (CONARE) and the public universities will contribute a total of sixteen thousand thirty million colones for the attention of the COVID-19 emergency, distributed to the solidarity fund of the Government of the Republic for the COVID-19 emergency and additionally to scholarship programmes and other assistance to students affected by the economic situation.

- Ethiopia

In line with the growing demand for online education caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Higher Education Relevance and Quality Agency (HERQA) has prepared a draft directive to govern the tertiary-level online education system in Ethiopia, The directive, which was issued in April, states that the content of an online education should be secular, and free from any influence of political and religious views.

- Estonia

Universities in Estonia have said they face funding shortfalls of several million euros if foreign students from third countries are barred from entering the country this autumn, as suggested by the Ministry of the Interior.

- Germany

Germany’s Upper House, the Bundesrat, has endorsed a number of measures adopted by the federal parliament to facilitate academic activities in the coronavirus crisis, although it strongly urges the government to do more to back students facing hardship. Meanwhile, the German Rectors’ Conference is warning against any hasty reopening of institutions.

- Ghana

Academic staff recruitment
Dr Mathew Opoku-Prempeh, the Minister of Education said the government has given financial clearance for over 6,178 staff to be recruited into the tertiary institutions in the country.

Gender and enrolment
The government’s agenda to achieve a 50:50 ratio of male to female enrolment is still not achieved according to an analysis, as male enrolment constitutes 58 percent of total enrolment in tertiary institutions across the country.

- Hong Kong

In response to the COVID-19 epidemic and its evolving global impact, theUniversity Grants Committee (UGC) and the Research Grants Council (RGC) have allocated an additional $250 million under the Collaborative Research Fund and the Theme-based Research Scheme (TRS) to support the UGC-funded sector in conducting research related to COVID-19 and other novel infectious diseases (NIDs).
UGC-funded universities can apply until 17 July.

- India

Online learning
The Ministry of Human resources Development through the National Digital Library of India (NDLI) has created a special collection called "Corona Outbreak: Study from Home" which contains both academic and research material to enable students and faculty to have continued access to content during the Pandemic Lockdown. A Consolidated Covid-19 Research Resources Repository has also been released.

Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank has announced that exams will be held for final year students of universities across the country, others will be promoted based on their internal marks and previous year’s result.

- Ireland

Most universities and third-level colleges are returning rent fees to students, while also facing a €500 million funding gap because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

- Jamaica

All educational institutions will remain closed until the end of September 2020. schools will continue to operate using the distance learning to ensure the continuation of the teaching and learning process.

- Kenya

Most public universities have cancelled or postponed their end of semester examinations. In contrast, private institutions are going ahead to give online examinations without disrupting their academic calendars.

- Malaysia

The Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) has made available online presentations and a video recording of the webinar “Entering the new realm of international Higher education”, which took place on May 14 by the Higher Education Leadership Academy (AKEPT) and the Ministry of Higher Education. It discussed the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on international higher education and how universities are reacting to the situation.

- Netherlands

The Dutch universities association, VSNU, have released ‘Universities in times of corona: How Dutch universities are Working Together and Offering Solutions during the Corona Crisis’.

- New Zealand

Technology access funding
The Government has announced $20 million technology access fund for tertiary learners to help eligible tertiary learners continue their education disrupted by COVID-19 by making digital devices and internet connections available to them.

Qualifications and employment
Education Counts has released two reports:
- Qualification level match and mismatch in New Zealand, Analysis from the Survey of Adult Skills looks into who experienced qualification level mismatch in New Zealand, what kinds of jobs they were in, how mismatch varies by qualification level and how it relates to skills and wages.

- Impacts of the Global Financial Crisis on earnings of tertiary graduates in New Zealand, looks at the impacts the 2007 Global Financial Crisis had on the earnings of tertiary education graduates in New Zealand, and explores the extent to which these impacts may still be being felt by those impacted.

- Nigeria

The federal government has approved the dissolution of the governing councils of two universities in the country.The universities are the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, and the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, in Delta State.

- Peru

Vice-Ministerial Resolution No. 099-2020-MINEDU authorizes the accredited personnel of each educational institution to enter their university premises to perform tasks that facilitate the provision of educational services, provided that these cannot be performed remotely.

The Ministry of Education (Minedu) approved a regulation (No. 097-2020-MINEDU) establishing provisions for the remote work of teacher to ensure the development of the educational service in public educational institutions and programmes during COVID-19.

- South Africa

South Africa’s Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Dr Blade Nzimande announced that higher education institutions would gradually be reopened from 1 June.

- United Kingdom

The government body, the Office for Students, has said that Students applying for university places in England must be told with "absolute clarity" how courses will be taught - before they make choices for the autumn.

Universities are redesigning campuses for social distancing and are planning to put students into ‘bubbles’ of small groups of students to limit mixing.

- United States

Covid-19 Survey
The Institute of International Education (IIE) has released the results of the second survey in the COVID-19 Snapshot Survey Series about the effects of COVID-19 on U.S. higher education institutions in three areas: Campus life, International students, and U.S. students studying abroad.

The US Department of Education (USDE) is increasing regulatory flexibility with the extension of accreditation waivers following the impact of COVID-19. In effect, accrediting organizations will be permitted to conduct virtual site visits, and institutions will continue offering distance learning to meet students’ needs.

Financial aid
In the wake of COVID-19, the American Council on Education (ACE) and other higher education associations released a statement to policymakers requesting an expansion of federal stimulus-response programs to higher education institutions left out of initial federal economic relief.

- Uruguay

The Uruguayan government approved a new schedule for the resumption of university teaching activities in public and private education, as well as a set of measures to be implemented gradually and immediately in order to reactivate the academic year. With the exception of universities in Montevideo and the metropolitan area, which will be able to resume classes as of 29 June, the rest of the country’s tertiary education centres will be able to resume classes as of 15 June.

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IAU Lynx May 2020
IAU Lynx April 2020
IAU Lynx March 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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