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IAU Lynx May 2020


May 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 International Commission on the Futures of Education met virtually on 8 April to reflect on the COVID-19 crisis. One outcome of that meeting is a Joint Statement on the COVID-19 Crisis entitled Protecting and Transforming Education for Shared Futures and Common Humanity, which provides broad education policy guidance and flags longer-term issues that the global education community must attend to.

In response to the massive disruption of education due to the Covid-19, UNESCO has issued a Call to support learning and knowledge sharing through Open Educational Resources (OER)worldwide. It encourages implementation of the OER Recommendation adopted by Member States in November 2019.

Call for nominations for the UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education which rewards outstanding innovation and contributions made by individuals, institutions and organisations to advance girls’ and women’s education. Deadline: 26 May.

Call for nominations for the 2021 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Awards. The 2021 International Awards will designate five outstanding researchers in Physical Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Science, each working in one of the following regions: Africa and the Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America. Deadline: 31 May.

UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL)
UIL hosted a webinar on higher education institutions’ support for local communities on 15 April as part of its ongoing series for members of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC) on responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. A global overview of priority areas was provided and initiatives conducted by several higher education institutions were presented.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the deadline for application to the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC) has been extended until 30 June . The international policy-oriented network encompasses seven key clusters: education for sustainable development; equity and inclusion; educational planning, monitoring and evaluation; education for global citizenship; entrepreneurship; health and well-being; and literacy.

International Centre for Higher Education Innovation (UNESCO-ICHEI)
In April, the International Institute of Online Education (IIOE) was launched online under the auspices of (UNESCO-ICHEI) as a response to UNESCO’s global call on supporting countries to mitigate the adverse impacts of university closures. The mission of IIOE is to harness the Belt and Road Initiative to enhance the access of developing countries to quality higher education.

UNESCO International Research and Training Centre for Rural Education (UNESCO INRULED) and UNESCO International Centre for Higher Education Innovation (UNESCO ICHEI):
The handbook of “Guidance on Flexible learning during Campus Closures: ensuring Course Quality of Higher Education during COVID-19 out-break”, prepared by the Smart Learning Institute of Beijing Normal University (SLIBNU), provides a resource to help university teachers in facilitating flexible learning and ensure the quality of education in the current context. It also discusses implications for promoting higher education in a sustainable way in the long term.

UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA)
Presentations from the IICBA Webinar on “ICT and Distance Learning in Tertiary Education Institutions during School Closure” held on 22 April are online. The event gathered Education experts from Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria to share information about how governments in Africa are supporting tertiary educators to use ICT to continue providing quality education during the COVID-19 pandemic ; experiences on the use of ICT in distance learning in tertiary education institutions were also shared.

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

IESALC has released the report COVID-19 and higher education: Today and tomorrow that highlights the immediate impacts of the pandemic on the higher education sector, reviews what actions governments and higher education institutions have taken and offers recommendations regarding the reopening of HEIs.

IESALC has also listed measures, plans and recommendations made by the 13 councils of rectors and national associations of higher educationinstitutions (HEI) in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as f 3 sub-regional networks in face of the COVID-19 pandemic and announcements on national higher education public policies taken in 22 Latin American and Caribbean countries in the context of COVID-19.

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

Founded in December 2019 in Equatorial Guinea, the Afro-American University of Central Africa (AAUCA) is seeking to recruit its first Rector with the support of the UNESCO IESALC. The application process closes on May 30, 2020.

UNESCO Beirut:
UNESCO Beirut assists Arab Member States in mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 crisis in the Higher Education sector. Support is provided to adapt their education sector to remote/distance learning and to address issues relating to evaluation and assessment of students during remote learning, course validation, teachers training on the use of online tools, as well as the organization of graduation ceremonies.

- Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development

Canada has introduced a set of programmes to test novel approaches to skills development. Workforce Innovation to Foster Positive Learning Environments in Canada analyses the potential of these programmes to improve the future-readiness of Canada’s adult learning system.

Scholars at risk

Free Universities: Putting the Academic Freedom Index Into Action, a joint report released by the Global Public Policy Institute and Scholars at Risk, introduces the Academic Freedom Index (AFi). It calls on decision-makers in higher education and research to use the AFi data to better protect and promote academic freedom. It also includes recommendations.

World Bank

The World Bank has released Improving the Performance of Higher Education in Vietnam : Strategic Priorities and Policy Options. The main objective of this Bank’s report is to provide a diagnosis of the current performance of the Vietnamese universities and propose a range of options for transforming and developing the higher education system.

The World Bank has released Guidance Note : Remote Learning and COVID-19. It offers principles to maximize countries’ effectiveness in designing and executing remote the context of Covid-19.

The World bank has also released The COVID-19 Crisis Response: Supporting tertiary education for continuity, adaptation, and innovation.This publication analyses the global context of the impact of COVID-19 on higher education, providing responses and implications for universities and systems, required actions for course delivery, research and operations, and long-term challenges.

Lumina Foundation

The Lumina Foundation has released Readying for the Future: COVID-19, Higher Ed, and Fairness.

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Africa - Americas - Asia - Europe

- Africa

Association of African Universities

The AAU has made available a resource page to help higher education institutions plan for campus disruption by COVID-19.

African students studying overseas or in other countries on the continent continue to face difficulties during the Covid-19 pandemic. These include lack of food, forced evictions and xenophobic hostilities.

- Americas


Through RedCLARA, Cisco provides free 90-day Cisco WebEx Meetings licenses to universities, research centers, and health care facilities in Latin America. This alliance is part of the actions of Latin American academic networks united in RedCLARA in the context of COVID-19, and to promote work and study from home.

Organization of American States (OAS)
The OAS is carrying out the initiative #EducaciónEnTiemposDeCambio (Education in Times of Change), a series of video spots that will bring together views, experiences and recommendations of ministries of education, educational institutions, experts in virtual education and digital education, to guide or inspire solutions in the context of COVID-19.

Organization of Ibero-American States
The Organization of Ibero-American States has extended the deadline for submitting good practices in internationalization to 1 July , a call launched together with the International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNESCO-IESALC), the Autonomous University of Bucaramanga in Colombia (UNAB), the University of Alcalá in Spain (UAH), and the National University of Córdoba as host of CRES. All Ibero-American universities are invited to present initiatives with the aim of promoting their visibility and transfer and fostering South-South exchange and cooperation.

The Organization of Ibero-American States published the report entitled “Effects of the Coronavirus on Education”, which analyses the impact that this pandemic could have on education, especially on issues such as academic performance, school dropout rates and the effect on future salaries. The report also points out the measures and conditions needed to reduce its educational impact in the region.

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.

Inter-American University Organization

The Inter-American University Organization began its "Webinars 2020" with the participation ofexperts in higher education who discussed topics responding to the expectations of the current situation caused by the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), in the context of the Latin American region.

Union of Universities of Latin America and the Caribbean (UDUAL)

UDUAL issued a letter on 26 April addressed to its members and cooperation and study organizations calling for an in-depth reflection on the urgent changes that will have to be implemented to face this new present and future reality.

A new issue of Revista Universidades coordinated by UDUAL is now available in digital version. In the midst of the health emergency, it offers an alternative for reflection on a panorama of various aspects of Venezuelan higher education.

- Asia

Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU)

In order to assist its members, APRU has posted a web page including links to members’ websites stating their policies and the actions they are taking to face the current health crisis.

Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU)

AAOU is calling for papers for its Annual Conference titled “Opening minds for a sustainable future: Re-orienting ODL to surmount challenges”organized by the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL), 21-23 October 2020. Sub-themes are: Promoting sustainable development through lifelong learning ; Innovations in ODL through smart technologies ; Open knowledge movement - Implications for ODL ; Learner engagement and motivation in ODL- Challenges and possibilities ; Best practices in ODL for Education for Sustainable Development ; Learning analytics in ODL. Deadline: 31 May.

- Europe

European University Association

EUA has launched a call for participation in a survey on digitally enhanced learning and teaching with the aim of mapping the situation across Europe. The survey is open to all European higher education institutions and includes questions on how higher education institutions are adapting to the Covid-19 situation. Deadline: 4 June.

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Argentina Brazil Canada China
Ecuador El Salvador Egypt France
India Ireland Kenya Mexico
New Zealand Nigeria Peru Somalia
South Africa Spain Taiwan Thailand
United Kingdom United States Zimbabwe

- Australia

Hgher education relief package
The Australian Government announced a Higher Education Relief Package that will provide funding to higher education providers and support workers who have been displaced as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and who are looking to upskill or retrain.

International students support package
The states of South Australia and Victoria are providing International Student Support Package and funding to support international students facing hardship as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

- Brazil

Higher education census
The National Institute of Educational Studies and Research Anísio Teixeira (Inep) has extended the deadline for data collection for the Higher Education Census to June 5. The updated schedule of the 2019 Upper Census was published in the Official Gazette (DOU), April 24.

Distance education
The National Council of Education (CNE) authorized the offer of distance education in all stages of education, including higher education. The decision was drafted to guide the country’s education in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic which led to the suspension of in-person classes in all states.

- Canada

Covid-19 Research collaboration
Québec Research Funds have created a COVID-19 research network for scientific collaboration.

Universities Canada have made available Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Canadian universities: Information and resources.

- China

Online education platform
The government has announced the building of an international HEI online education platform, where selected Chinese HEIs will create a number of high quality online courses taught in English, and make them available to university students all over the world.

Differentiated schedules
The Ministry of Education said that the schedule for beginning a new semester and resuming classes in universities should be based on the local epidemic situation and the composition of students. Differentiated schedules should be taken across the country while graduating students and post-graduates with research tasks should be given priority in resuming classes.

Reopening of HEIs
South China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region has partially reopened its colleges and universities, with seniors and students with medicine-related majors returning to campuses.

- Ecuador

The Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation have resumed the process of enrolment to higher education. From May 4-6, those who participated in the first stage of application are able to verify if they were assigned a quota, and accept or reject it. This process will be carried out through the Ser Bachiller platform (

- El Salvador

The Ministry of Education (MINED) and the Secretariat of Innovation of the Presidency are working on the acquisition of technological equipment for all students and teachers in the public education sector, as part of the process of digitization of education, reported the Minister of Education.

- Egypt

Minister of Planning, Hal el-Saeed has announced the doubling of government investment in higher education, to LE 24B. The investment would establish 6 new technological universities.

- France

Olivier Véran, Minister of Health and Frédérique Vidal, Minister of Higher Education and Research, have decided to modify the dates of entry exams and the reform of medical studies, which had been due to take place in the autumn, has been postponed by a year.

- India

Due to the increasing requirement for e-learning content for students in situation arising out of Covid- 19 and to the need to boost digital education, institutions, organizations and individuals are invited to contribute with e-learning content for students through the newly launched VidyaDaan 2.0 programme. The new content will be used on the Ministry’s DIKSHA app to ensure continuity of quality learning.

The UNESCO Chair in Community Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education and PRIA co-convened a webinar on "Fostering Social Responsibility by Higher Education: COVID-19 and Beyond" with the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) on 8 April. The key messages are outlined in this report.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has issued Guidelines on Examinations and Academic Calendar for the Universities in View of COVID-19 Pandemic and Subsequent Lockdown to avoid academic loss and take appropriate measures for the future of students.

- Ireland

More than 2,000 research staff in universities and institutes of technology are at risk of losing their jobs because of funding uncertainties triggered by COVID-19.

- Kenya

A number of public universities have written to their staff asking them to take a pay cut even as unions warned against making this mandatory.

- Mexico

To face the health emergency caused by COVID-19, Rectors and Directors of public and private higher education institutions associated with the National Association of Universities and Higher Education Institutions (ANUIES), establish a National Agreement. The commitments were approved in the Virtual Ordinary Session 1.2020 of the ANUIES National Council.

- New Zealand

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced animmediate student support package to financially assist tertiary students to continue with their studies. The domestic tertiary student package will increase the student loan amount available for course-related costs for full-time students from $1000 to $2000, on a temporary basis.

The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) has gathered a range of resources and tools from New Zealand, Australia and the rest of the world to help tertiary education providers build, enhance and improve the quality of online teaching resources and practice. All updates on COVID-19 (coronavirus) information for tertiary providers are posted in the page.

- Nigeria

As part of an effort to support Federal Government’s drive against the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), has announced plans to fund medical research in the nation’s universities in the fight against coronavirus.

- Peru

The Ministry of Education convened the representatives of the associations of universities in Peru in order to continue the route of joint work that guarantees the continuity of the non-attendance educational service in the university system during the health emergency.

- Somalia

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Higher Education has released the Somalia COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Strategy which was developed in collaboration with the Somali Education partners.

- South Africa

While South African universities are resorting to emergency remote teaching and learning programmes, they have also acknowledged disparities among their students from different socio-economic backgrounds, who struggle to access the digital world.

- Spain

Spanish universities have started to plan a return to normal activity at the start of June.

- Taiwan

The Foundation for International Cooperation in Higher Education of Taiwan (FICHET) has posted an article on the Ministry of Education’s response to disruptions to course delivery caused by COVID-19. It details government-led actions, such as policies on class suspension, recommended precautions, special funding and online resources for distance learning.

FICHET has also compiled a list of Taiwan Higher Education Institution Websites featuring a dedicated section about COVID-19 on their official websites, explaining prevention measures implemented on campus and also serving as platforms for communicating the latest guidelines announced by the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Ministry of Education.

- Thailand

The Office of the Higher Education Commission of Thailand (OHEC), has released the report Key Issues Influencing the Future Internationalization of Higher Education. It identifies a list of fourteen potential strategic issues - defined by the three following questions: now to 2024 : How are we doing ?; 2025-2030 : What should we do next ?; 2030+ : Where do we want to go ?.

- United Kingdom

Support for universities - Wales
The Welsh Government has a published a policy statement outlining support for universities and students dealing with the impact of coronavirus.

Impact of covid-19
The Russell Group of universities’ finances will be hit the hardest by coronavirus, a study has found.

Student fees
Universities’ hopes of a long-term government bailout in England have not been adopted, though £2.6bn in tuition fees will be paid early and ministers pledged to allow full fees to be charged even if students were unable to return to lectures.

Fossil fuel diverstment
Oxford University has agreed to halt all investment in fossil fuels following months of campaigning.

- United States

Title IX - Gender equity law changes
On 6 May, the US Department of Education announced changes in the enforcement of Title IX, the federal gender-equity law. The new regulations will require higher education institutions to hold live hearings and allow cross-examination when adjudicating sexual-misconduct complaints. They will also narrow the scope of complaints that colleges are required to investigate

Educational finance
A decrease in student enrollment and funding has led the American Council on Education (ACE) together with other educational organisations to request $46.6 billion for students and institutions in the next government Covid-19 stimulus package.

Survey of university presidents
ACE’s first monthly COVID-19 survey of college and university presidents finds their most pressing concerns are focused on financial impact, remote learning, and student mental health.

Student survey
A national survey administered to more than 2,000 currently enrolled U.S. college students finds that nearly one in five are uncertain about their plans for re-enrolling in the fall, or definitely are not going at all.

Immigrant students
The U.S. Department of Education has announced that Illegal immigrants enrolled in higher education are not eligible for the $6 billion emergency funds made available by Congress to help students adversely impacted by the ongoing pandemic.

- Zimbabwe

Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Amon Murwira said the ministry was negotiating with network service providers and pushing for free access to online learning material as well as university websites so students can access online learning material, as the Government moves to enhance digital learning platforms during the Covid-19 emergency.

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IAU Lynx April 2020
IAU Lynx March 2020
IAU Lynx February 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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