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IAU Lynx March 2020


March 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’s International Commission on the Futures of Education held its first meeting on 28-29 January in Paris to take stock of the global situation in education today and what can be predicted for 2050 and beyond. IAU sits on the Advisory Board of this project.
To accompany the International Commission, UNESCO published the electronic book ‘Humanistic Futures of Learning: Perspectives from UNESCO chairs and UNITWIN networks’ which highlights key dimensions to be considered in re-visioning and re-purposing education for the future. It calls for greater focus on the role of higher education in generating the knowledge and driving the innovation required to transform our world.

- The 5 laureates of the 22nd L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Awards have been announced. They were recognised for achievement in the field of life sciences. 15 Rising Talents, young women scientists from all over the world, were also recognised.

The Workshop for the Implementation of Component 3 of the UNESCO-Shenzhen Funds-In-Trust Project on Strengthening Quality Assurance in Higher Education in Africa, was held from 18 to 20 February, in Dakar, Senegal. Discussions focused on the strengthening of continental networks in quality assurance, best practices in recognitions of qualifications, and the development of tools for mutual recognition of qualifications in Africa.

UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP)
A new IIEP-UNESCO Working Paper entitled SDG 4 - Policies for Flexible Learning Pathways in Higher Education: Taking Stock of Good Practices Internationally tackles the growing issue of fragmented and hard-to-navigate higher education systems. It draws on country examples across different regions.

UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS)
UIS has just updated its global database with recent country-level data to monitor progress towards the Sustainable Development Goal on education (SDG 4). Updates include indicators on learning outcomes, learning assessment, formal and non-formal education and also data on higher education for 20 countries.

As part of the 5-Year Progress Review of SDG4 in the Asia-Pacific, UNESCO Bangkok and UNICEF are gathering case studies from across the Asia-Pacific on good practices on SDG4 (Education 2030) implementation to be compiled in a database in the SDG4 regional portal as a major resource reference for countries and partners. Deadline for contributing is 30 April 2020.

UNESCO Beirut and Damascus University organised a national workshop in Damascus on 5 - 6 February on “The Role of Higher Education Institutions in Achieving the SDGs”. Actions to support SDGs were discussed, including: UNESCO Chairs building process at universities; universities collaboration; knowledge sharing to build SDGs awareness; the incorporation of SDGs in university curricula, and the fostering of SDGs research. IAU was pleased to be represented by IAU Member Université Saint Joseph, Beirut.

UNESCO International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (IESALC)
- The preliminary version - in Spanish only- of the report Contribution of Higher Education to the Sustainable Development Goals: Analytical Framework (2020) has been launched. The guidelines seek to encourage the study and commitment of higher education institutions with the SDGs, both through training and through research.

IESALC posted a two-part video recording of the Webinar Non-university and technological higher education: diversification and innovation in Latin America and the Caribbean, held on 30 January 2020. It addressed the contribution of the technological sector to the field of higher education, with a focus on equity, inclusion, bonding and accreditation.

UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA)
From 10 to 14 February, UNESCO IICBA organized a five-day training of trainers workshop in Dakar, Senegal for Higher Education on Peace and Resilience Building and Prevention of Violent Extremism (PVE) for Francophone Africa. Participants explored their understanding of violent extremism, driving factors, transformative pedagogy and 10 competencies for building resilience, the role of teachers for peace and resilience building and PVE; and key terms in assessment.

UNESCO – Islamic Development Bank
A National Consultation Workshop on Strengthening Inclusive Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) System was organized in the framework of UNESCO- Islamic Development Bank project in STI policy in Tashkent on 18 February. It discussed the dynamics of the Science, Technology and Innovation STI System in Uzbekistan, as well as the challenges and opportunities in accelerating STI-driven development in the country.

- Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development

The OECD has just published a report entitled "A Territorial Approach to the Objectives of Sustainable Development". The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which define the global agenda for the coming decade to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all are addressed, in particular SDG 4, Quality of education.

- Agence universitaire de la francophonie (AUF)

The official launching ceremony of the PURSEA project (Renovated University Management in Southeast Asia) took place on 26 February at the University of Hanoi, Vietnam. This project is one of the Erasmus + K2 projects aimed at strengthening the capacities of higher education institutions. It is funded by the European Commission for three years (2020-2023), and is co-coordinated by the University of Hanoi, Vietnam, and AUF. This project brings together 15 academic and research institutions from Asia-Pacific and Europe.

- Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World

The call for applications for the 2020 Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World PhD Fellowship is now open. The fellowship is offered to women scientists from Science and Technology Lagging Countries to undertake PhD research in the natural, engineering and information technology sciences at a host institute in another country in the Global South. The programme is administered with funds provided by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) in partnership with host institutes throughout the developing world. The deadline for applications for this fellowship is 31 March 2020.

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Africa - Americas - Arab States - Asia - Europe

- Africa

Intra-Africa Mobility Scheme

The fourth call for proposals of the Intra-Africa Academic Mobility Scheme, funded by the European Union, has now been published. The deadline to submit proposals is 19 May 2020.
There will also be a web-streaming information session on 17 March 2020 to explain the opportunities offered by the Scheme.

African Union

The official launch of the Pan African Virtual and E-University (PAVEU) took place recently in Yaounde, Cameroon. PAVEU is an African Union’s flagship project for addressing the Agenda 2063 need for accelerating development of human capital, science and technology and innovation through increasing access to higher education in Africa.

- Americas

XXVII Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government
On the occasion of the XXVII Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government, Ministers also endorsed UNESCO higher education agreements.

UNESCO International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (IESALC)/ Organization of Ibero-American States for Education, Science and Culture (OEI)
UNESCO-IESALC and OEI signed a collaboration agreement on 11 February in Havana, Cuba, to promote higher education in Latin America and collaborate in the construction of the Ibero-American Knowledge Space. Low academic and research mobility and the need to improve the quality of higher education are among the regional challenges to be addressed.

Union of Universities of Latin America and the Caribbean (UDUAL)
The Executive Council of the Union of Universities of Latin America and the Caribbean (UDUAL) held its XCVI Regular Meeting at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica on 7 February. In this space, issues of relevance to higher education in the region were discussed and agreements were reached regarding actions to be implemented until 2022. Among the components of the work plan of this regional organization are academic mobility, the digital transformation 2030, teacher training, membership increase, ODS and governance of higher education institutions.

Inter-American Organization for Higher Education (IOHE)
The University of Guadalajara in collaboration with the Inter-American Organization for Higher Education (IOHE) published a book entitled: "Women in Ibero-American Universities: the search for the necessary work-family reconciliation". The book describes, from a gender perspective, the public policies of different governments in Latin America, as well as the institutional programmes that effect women professionally such as maternity rights, policies for the allocation of schedules, types of performance evaluation, among others.

- Arab States

MENA Higher Education Leadership Forum
Organized by the Center for Learning Innovations and Customized Knowledge Solutions (CLICKS) and in partnership with the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie, the fourth edition of the “MENA Higher Education Leadership Forum” was held on February 25-27 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. This event brought together more than 150 Presidents, deans, representatives of ministries and accreditation agencies, members of boards of directors and other actors from the higher education sector of the MENA region, around the theme “Higher Education in the Era of the Fourth & Future Industrial Revolutions: Challenges and Opportunities Educating for the Fourth and Future Industrial Revolutions”.

- Asia

Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU)
In order to assist its members confronted to the Coronavirus emergency, APRU have put up a web page which includes links to members’ websites stating their policies and the actions they are taking in response.

Asian Development Bank (ADB)
ADB has posted the paper entitled Attraction or Repulsion? Testing Coagglomeration of Innovation between Firms and University. It identifies the extent of how universities are attracted by firms in patents production. The findings are based on a large patent dataset from Shenzhen, the first innovation-led city in the People’s Republic of China.

ASEAN University Network Secretary (AUN SEC)
The AUN Half year report (9 July 2019- 31 January 2020) reports on activities conducted in 5 Strategic areas: Advancement in curriculum and learning approaches; Quality enhancement with AUN-QA; Students’ skill enhancement cross-border exposure and experience; research and academic collaboration; University networking platforms.

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
Applications are open for the APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education (“ASPIRE”) 2020, the annual award which recognizes young scientists who have demonstrated a commitment to both excellence in scientific research and cooperation with scientists from other APEC member economies. Malaysia, the host economy this year, has selected “Biodiversity for a Prosperous Economy” as the theme. Deadline for applications is 24 April 2020.

- Europe

Higher education and research organisations from across Europe and the UK have released a statement calling on national governments and the European Commission to ensure a swift agreement on the UK’s full association to Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe before the end of 2020. The Statement is jointly published by The European University Association (EUA), 24 National University representative bodies including Universities UK, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and many other bodies.

European Commission
The European Commission Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency has released ‘Mobility Scoreboard: Higher Education Background Report’. It provides updated information for the year 2018/19 for six indicators- on information and guidance, foreign language preparation, portability of grants and loans, participation of disadvantaged learners, recognition of learning outcomes and the automatic recognition of qualifications.

The European Commission has published a report comparing inequality of opportunity in tertiary education in Europe. The results show that there are large across-country differences, with Nordic countries performing much better than Mediterranean and Eastern countries. A common feature to almost all countries analyzed is that parental education and parental occupation represent the most important circumstances in determining access to higher education. There is also evidence of a negative correlation between public expenditure for higher education and inequality of opportunity.

European University Association
- The EUA has just released The Public Funding Observatory report 2019/20. It presents data showing public funding developments in Europe over the last decade. While university funding in Germany, Norway and Switzerland grew by more than 30 per cent and funding in Austria, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden increased their funding for universities by over 20 per cent, Public investment in universities has declined since 2008 in Estonia, Spain, Italy, Serbia, Lithuania and Northern Ireland.

- The EUA has published a study on the implementation of International Credit Mobility towards disadvantaged students for the European Commission. Launched in 2015 under the Erasmus+ Programme, the International Credit Mobility (ICM) supports student and staff exchanges between Erasmus+ Programme and Partner Countries. The study focuses on outgoing ICM student mobility from 20 Partner Countries in the Western Balkans, the Eastern Partnership and South-Mediterranean. One of the main findings of the study is that, in ICM the focus on students from disadvantaged backgrounds is much weaker than that intended by the European Commission.

The European University Continuing Education Network and the European E-Learning Institute
The European University Continuing Education Network and the European E-Learning Institute have released the Generation Data Toolkit. Its objective is to raise awareness about the increasing importance of smart data skills for current and future higher education students and provide knowledge about how to improve the teaching of smart data management.The Toolkit is primarily addressed to HE teachers and lecturers who teach management-related subjects but can be used also for technical disciplines having a management-related component. The document includes the results of the data skills survey carried out by the partners in the initial project phase to find out which are the current needed skills and deficits of teachers and students when it comes to data skills

Baltic University Programme
Call for applications
Baltic University Programme has launched a call for applications for its Mobility Grant for Young Researchers. Intended for researchers working with sustainable development from BUP member universities.
Deadline: 20 March 2020

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Colombia - Spain

The Colombian Institute for Educational Credit and Technical Studies Abroad (ICETEX) and the Carolina Foundation (Spain) are joining forces to award up to 50 scholarships to Colombian citizens to take in-depth professional training courses at the Complutense Summer School of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain. The program has a duration of 75 teaching hours. The deadline for submitting applications is 10 March, Spanish time (UTC+1).

Mexico - Spain

ITESO-Jesuit University of Guadalajara (Mexico), in collaboration with the Ibero-American University Association for Postgraduate Studies (AUIP) (Spain), has opened a scholarship program to promote postgraduate studies and cooperation with Ibero-American universities. The program is aimed at people of non-Mexican nationality who are linked to non-Mexican higher education institutions associated with AUIP. The application deadline is 31 March, 2020.

Azerbaijan - USA

A Dual master’s degree programme is to be jointly offered by the Azerbaijan State Pedagogical University and George Washington University within the framework of “The State Program for enhancing international competitiveness of the higher education system in the Republic of Azerbaijan for 2019-2023”. To be taught in English for two years, it will aim at training of specialists in management of education.

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Armenia Australia Azerbaijan Belgium
Canada China Cuba Dominican Republic
France Germany Ireland Italy
Macao Netherlands New Zealand Pakistan
Papua New Guinea Philippines Singapore South Africa
Spain Sweden Thailand United Kingdom
United States of America Vietnam

- Armenia

The Armenian Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports, Arayik Harutyunyan, has announced that the Armenian government has initiated legislative reforms of which the main goal of the reforms is the integration of higher education, science and research. The reforms include scholarships funded by the state budget will not be distributed among universities, but by academic field. Also, the number of university board councils will be limited to 12 members, six of whom will be representatives of universities, including one student. In addition, the mechanisms and requirements for transparency of the activities of universities have been identified.

-  Australia

Equity performance
Curtin University, the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) and the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education have conducted research on the feasibility of measuring and ranking higher education equity performance among Australian universities. Results are presented in a peer-reviewed article entitled Constructing a ranking of higher education institutions based on equity: is it possible or desirable? The study team explored a range of scenarios based on four domains: Access and Participation; First Year Experience, Progress during Higher Education, and Graduate Outcomes.

Higher education workforce
The Australian Higher Education Industrial Association (AHEIA) has published the Transforming the Higher Education Workforce Report, analysing progress in Australian university workplace reform since early 2016. It focuses on three primary workforce dimensions: workforce capability, workforce structure and workforce engagement.

Higher education quality - consultation
The Higher Education Standards Panel invites stakeholder comments on a consultation paper seeking feedback on the Panel’s draft amendments to the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015 legislative instrument, which are meant to improve the functioning of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standard Agency and clarify the categories of providers in Australia’s higher education sector. Deadline is 31 March.

Indigenous strategy report
Universities Australia (UA) has released the second Indigenous Strategy Annual Report, that features updated data and examples of progress on commitments made by universities under the UA strategy to advance Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation and success in higher education. It focuses on five key priority areas: Indigenous leadership; non-Indigenous leadership; engagement with Indigenous curriculum; Indigenous research strategies; and international mobility.

Employer satisfaction survey
Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT) has published the 2019 Employer Satisfaction Survey (ESS). The national survey provides information about the quality of education provided at Australian institutions, by asking supervisors to provide feedback about the generic skills, technical skills and work readiness of the graduates employed in their workplace.

-  Azerbaijan

The Ministry of Education Azerbaijan has signed a Protocol of Intention with Elsevier to expand access of HEIs to international scientific databases, increase the number of international scientific publications; and ensure their compliance with international requirements.

-  Belgium

On 24 and 25 February, representatives of higher education institutions of ARES, the Belgian higher education association and the Wallonie-Bruxelles Federation met with their counterparts in Cotonou, Benin to celebrate 25 years of partnership and to define future areas of cooperation.

-  Canada

The Canadian Bureau for International Education is implementing a two-part scholarship program. The Faculty Mobility Program will be offering grants to Canadian professors and researchers who wish to teach or conduct research in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Study in Canada Scholarship aims to support Canadian internationalization objectives by welcoming a cohort of students from diverse regions. These programs come after an increase in federal funding geared towards meeting the objectives of Canada’s International Education Strategy.

-  China

Universities response to coronavirus
With the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic, many universities across China have still not reopened and no date has been set for teaching to resume. Many institutions are putting in place ‘holding courses’ taught online. This is further to the government announcement postponing the start of the spring semester in Higher Education Institutions and HEIs have been asked to take various measures, including deploying online courses.

The Open University of China (OUC) has mobilized its digital educational resources to support students at all education levels to continue studying at home, to publicize measures aimed at preventing the spread of the virus, and to meet the needs of diverse learners.

The Vice-Minister of Education announced special policies to help university graduates in Hubei province (provincial capital Wuhan) in enrolment into postgraduate studies as well as government-funded recruitment programs.

Academic research
Chinese authorities have released a guideline regulating the use of papers listed on the Science Citation Index (SCI) in institutions of higher education aimed at lessening reliance on published papers in the academic evaluation system.

-  Cuba

The 12th International Congress on Higher Education was held in Havana with the participation of regional and international organizations including the IAU - represented by IAU President Pam Fredman, academics and representatives of Latin American universities. Among the main topics discussed were the internationalization of education, future perspectives, the impact of science and technology, university and sustainable development, quality assessment and accreditation, and lifelong learning.

-  Dominican Republic

The Senate of the Dominican Republic has approved the draft of the Environmental Education and Communication Law. This law aims to include environmental education at the different levels, cycles, grades, modalities and stages of the Dominican school and higher education system, both public and private; as well as, inon-formal and informal learning, in order to seek environmental awareness throughout Dominican society.

-  France

Frédérique Vidal, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation announced in February that from 2021-2022, researchers who also teach will benefit from more time to conduct their research.

Coronavirus research funding
In February, Frédérique Vidal, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation and Agnès Buzyn, Minister for Health, announced that the government was allocating an additional 2.5 million Euros for research on the coronavirus.

Student access - review
The French government body the Cours de comptes has just published its review of the implementation of the 2018 law on student orientation and success which aims to increase student access and success. The review concludes that to date, the law has provided a first step in the transformation of access to higher education. 15 recommendations are provided in the review.
The French rectors association (Conférence des Présidents des Universités) has welcomed the report and the progress reported.

-  Germany

An Open Access (OA) agreement dated 1 January 2020, provides OA publishing services and full access to Springer Nature journals to researchers and students from across the German research landscape. Through the agreement, authors affiliated with the 700+ German academic and research institutions which are part of Projekt DEAL, will be able to publish their accepted manuscripts immediate (gold) OA in both Springer Nature ‘hybrid’ and fully OA journals, with the relative costs managed centrally by their institutions.

-  Ireland

Open access research
A consortium of public Irish higher education institutions and Elsevier, have agreed to the country’s first open access programme. The three-year agreement means Irish researchers from 19 institutions will have access to 2,500 journals published by Elsevier. The agreement also facilitates a transition to open access and enables Irish researchers to publish more than 70% of their research without having to pay an article publishing charge.

Graduate employment
The Higher Education Authority has published a report analysing recent Graduates’ labour market earnings in their early careers with a particular focus on differences in earnings across four areas. These are degree subject, institution type, gender and socio-economic background.

International scholarships
Call for applications

The Government of Ireland has issued the 2020 Call for the International Education Scholarships Programme. Under the initiative 60 scholarships will be provided for one year study at Bachelor, Master or PhD levels. The offer is open to students from non-EU/EEA countries for all fields of study.

-  Italy

The Italian government announced on 4 March that all schools and universities are to close in Italy until mid-March due to the coronavirus outbreak.

-  Macao

The government has announced the suspension of teaching at higher education institutions due to the coronavirus Distance and online teaching activities is encouraged at HEIs, but campuses remain open for information purposes.

A Specialized Subsidy Scheme for Prevention and Response to Major Infectious Diseases has been launched, with the aim of encouraging the teaching and research personnel of Macao HEIs to use scientific research and improve Macao’s ability to deal with epidemic prevention education, regional governance and crisis response to major infectious diseases. The scheme is open for applications until 4 September 2020.

-  Netherlands

VSNU, the Dutch university association, has responded to the government commissioned report by the Royal Dutch Academy of Science entitled ‘Balance in the Science System’ and the recommendations it makes. The VSNU calls on the government to make the proposed investment of 1 billion Euros in the first flow of funds.

-  New Zealand

The Ministry of Education has posted information about coronavirus for higher education institutions and students, including international students.

Universities New Zealand (UNZ) has provided information on the travel restrictions for international as well as domestic students. Appropriate pages on university websites have been linked to their website and official updates are posted.

-  Pakistan

The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has released a Safety Message for the Academic Community in Pakistan as part of the public awareness campaign to combat the corona virus.

The Higher Education Commission (HEC) is granting 5000 Indigenous Scholarship for PhD students. Applications are invited from outstanding Pakistani/AJK nationals who intend to complete a PhD from Pakistani HEC Recognised Universities/Degree Awarding Institutions (DAIs). The Scholarships are being offered for the academic year 2020 in all disciplines. Deadline is 28 March.

-  Papua New Guinea

The Department of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology has announced the introduction of the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) will fund those students who, for different reasons, may have not met the qualifying criteria for Tertiary Education Students Assistance Scheme (TESAS). They also announced a program of digitalisation that will ultimately see the introduction of i-Libraries to all HEIs

-  Philippines

Commission on Higher Education - New Director
Atty. Cinderella Filipina S. Benitez-Jaro has been appointed as Executive Director of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

Indigenous students - funding
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has increased financial assistance to students belonging to indigenous peoples (IPs) in the province of Nueva Vizcaya. Additional benefits have been awarded to 150 members of IPs identified by village elders and communities in the region. The stipend is granted to qualified students who are currently enrolled in universities and colleges and whose family income is below P300,000 per year.

Suspension of national/regional activities
In line with the latest advisory of the Department of Health on public events and gatherings to prevent the spread of Coronavirus Disease the Department of Education (DepEd) has ceased all major national and regional activities.

-  Singapore

The Ministry of Education is taking measures to enhance the pathways in the higher education landscape to better support individuals’ interests, aptitudes and learning needs.

The Ministry of Education has posted a parliament reply presenting the latest measures taken to prevent on sexual harassment at higher education institutions.

-  South Africa

Statistics South Africa has recently published Education and Labour Market Outcomes in South Africa. The report looks at the levels of educational attainment from 2002 to 2018 across three generations. It shows that more millennials than Generation Xers in the Indian/Asian population group attended university, while fewer millennials in the other population groups attended university institutions compared to Generation Xers. Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges were the most popular higher education institutions among black and coloured millennials, while universities were the top choice for whites and Indian/Asians.

-  Spain

University data
Crue Universidades Españolas presented the report “La Universidad Española en Cifras” (the Spanish University in Figures) based on data provided by 48 public and 19 private universities. The report is divided into seven topics: size of the Spanish university system, equal opportunities for access to university education, academic performance, crisis in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) studies, employability of university students, quality of research and position in international rankings and the contribution of the University to improving competitiveness and innovation.

Ibero-American Congress on University Teaching - call for papers
The call for papers for the XI Ibero-American Congress on University Teaching to be held at the University of La Laguna is open. The theme is “The digital transformation of the university: teaching, management and research”. The congress will be held from 24-26 June 2020. The deadline for submission is 30 March.

-  Sweden

A report presenting guidelines on responsible internationalisation has been produced by the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT), together with KTH Royal Institute of Technology, the Karolinska Institute and Lund University. The paper identifies critical areas, such as the legal context; institutional autonomy; cultural, social and political context; and relationship building. These are areas in which countries can differ quite significantly and which frequently raise questions impacting on international collaboration.

-  Thailand

The Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI), Thailand has released an Announcement on Vigilant Measures Against the Spread of Coronavirus in English, Thai and Chinese languages.

- United Kingdom

Brexit and UK universities
Universities UK response to UK-EU trade negotiations proposals in February underline that they regard it as essential that the UK continues to be part of the Horizon Europe Programme and Erasmus+ student mobility programme.

Universities admissions
The Office for Students, the independent regulator for higher education in England, has launched a consultation on the universities admissions system. Three future options for reform of the system are set out, including that students receive university offers only after their A-level results.

Staff and student data
The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) has released data for 2018-2019. This shows UK universities continue to increase academic and non-academic staff numbers but progress on employing more staff from ethnic minorities remains slow: fewer than 1% of the professors employed at UK universities are black. Male professors continue to outnumber females by three to one, although the number of female professors has increased by twice the increase in male professors since 2014-2015. The data also shows that the dropout rate for first-year students continues to rise: England had the highest non-continuation rate of 6.9% and the proportion of mature students (those over the age of 21) taking their first degree who dropped out also rose to 13.6 %.

HE Leadership
Universities at the Crossroads’, a new report issued by Policy Exchange, an independent think tank, is based on over 50 interviews with vice-chancellors, chairs of council and other senior leaders. It examines key challenges for university leaders: performance, including delivering financial sustainability , engaging with key stakeholders and ensuring better governance and looks at issues such as grade inflation, academic standards and and vice-chancellors’ pay. It set out the steps that university leaders can take to regain the trust of their staff and their communities.

University funding - Scotland
Universities Scotland have published a response to the Scottish government’s budget which saw a 0% change in real terms to universities budgets. Universities Scotland welcome the fact that the settlement interrupts a five year pattern of real terms cuts to universities. However, they state that it does not relieve the set of funding pressures facing universities.

Governance - Wales
A review of university governance has been published by the Welsh Government on the eight universities in Wales. In response to the review, the university sector in Wales has published a Governance Charter for Universities in Wales and a Commitment to Action. These documents endorse the major findings of the review, recognise the challenges that have been seen to governance both in Wales and across the UK and the need for collective commitment to action.The charter maps out an approach to transforming governance which will be adopted by every university in Wales

- United States of America

The Trump administration released its annual budget proposal for the 2021 fiscal year. The proposal highlights four main initiatives regarding higher education. These include an end to federal regulatory higher education earmarks, creating and administering Educational Freedom Scholarships, increasing technical education opportunities, and restructuring Federal Student Aid.

The US Department of Education announced a new initiative for the expansion of its Federal Work Study programs. During the experimental phase, the department will grant funding to provide more students with part-time employment and work experiences required by their academic programmes, such as clinical rotations and student teaching. This initial phase will assess the benefits of paid work experiences during students’ academic learning.

- Vietnam

The Ministry of Education and Training issued a draft circular on joint training to clarify requirements for HEIs desiring to provide online or combined classroom and online joint training courses with foreign partners.

In a meeting with universities, the Minister of Education and Training Phung Xuan Nha stated that Autonomy in entrance examination is encouraged (via competency assessment or skill test), but that weaknesses existing in the previous year must be addressed thoroughly for the 2020 academic year, especially those related to low admission grades and unsuitable subject combinations. In addition, universities should introduce majors that can answer practical needs of the market and avoid focusing on low-demand ones.

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IAU Lynx February 2020
IAU Lynx December 2019
IAU Lynx November 2019

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