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IAU Lynx November 2019


November 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.



On 16 October, the UNESCO Director-General and Vice-Minister of Education of China signed an agreement to establish a US$ 8 million China funds-in-trust (CFIT) to support the development of higher technical education in Africa over four years. It will enhance the capacity of higher education institutions to develop labour market oriented teaching and competency-based learning, and strengthen linkages between universities and industries.

UNESCO, the L’Oréal Foundation, the Mexican Academy of Science-ACM and the National Council of Science and Technology-CONACYT celebrated in October the 13th awards ceremony dedicated to Scholarships for Women in Science. The programme has been established to further encourage women’s role in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

UNESCO Beirut organised a regional workshop on ‘The Role of Higher Education Institutions in the Arab Region in Achieving SDGs’ in September. Representatives of HEIs and research institutions and of Ministries of Education and Higher Education from 12 Arab countries gathered to address this issue. They shared best practices and agreed to organise national capacity-building training workshops on SDGs that involve HEIs and to establish UNESCO chairs in their institutions. IAU was represented at this event.

UNESCO Bangkok
UNESCO Bangkok and the International Centre for Higher Education Innovation (ICHEI) held a regional Consultation on ICT-Driven Innovation in Higher Education in Asia-Pacific on 24-25 September 2019 in Shenzhen, China. One goal was to prepare a joint policy brief which will be based on five levels: Policy measures at national and institutional levels; Enablers/platforms; Institutional/training providers; Youth and adult learners; partnerships.

UNESCO - Regional Office Latin America and the Caribbean
On 30 September, a meeting of Education experts was held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, by UNESCO Regional Office of Culture and Regional Education for Latin America and the Caribbean, with the support of the Ministry of Education of Cuba (MINED). The aim of the meeting was to review the educational resources which will contribute to raise awareness towards sustainable development and violence within the educational systems of both countries.

- Scholars at Risk

Scholars at Risk has released Obstacles to Excellence, a new report mapping threats to academic freedom in China and where China has extraterritorial academic connections.

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Africa - Americas - Asia - Europe

- Africa

E-Learning Africa

The E-Learning Africa 2019 report has been published. Chapters include Why Africa Must Embrace the 4th Industrial Revolution; Lifelong learning and a New African Mindset; Unleashing eLearning; and 2063 Towards an African Future.

African Academy of Sciences - Postdoctoral Training Opportunity in Medical and Health Sciences

The Africa Postdoctoral Training Initiative (APTI) provides fellowships to African researchers to spend two years at US National Institutes of Health (NIH) for professional training and to conduct research in priority areas. Open to citizens of, and currently employed in an academic, research, or government position in an African country and who have a relevant doctoral degree. Closing date: 1 December 2019

- Americas

The 4th International Meeting on Distance and Virtual Education took place at the Pedagogical and Technological University (UPCT) of Colombia in October. The purpose of the event was to reflect on the challenges of distance and virtual education in Colombia and Latin America, as well as the set up of inter-institutional cooperation.

- Asia

Asian Development Bank (ADB)

The ADB Report Bangladesh: Computer and Software Engineering Tertiary Education in 2018 assesses the employability of 1,216 computer/software engineering and IT graduates from 9 universities in Bangladesh. It also examines access to and quality and relevance of these university programmes; and identifies possible areas for improvement.

Asia Pacific Quality Network (APQN)

The Mongolian National Council for Education Accreditation (MNCEA) received Asia Pacific Quality Network (APQN)’s Asia Pacific Quality Register (APQR) Quality Assurance Certificate. The APQR register acknowledges external quality assurance agencies that demonstrate certain thresholds of maturity in the Asia-Pacific region, based on an independent external review by peers.

ASEAN-US Science Prize for Women 2019

The Winner of the ASEAN-US Science Prize for Women 2019 has been announced. Dr. Zhou Yan of Singapore from the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore was distinguished for her research and work on energy efficient water treatment and reclamation (or recycling). This award aims to strengthen ASEAN science and technology capacity and gender equality and improvement.

- Europe

The European Universities Association
The European Universities Association together with 14 other higher education associations have launched a call to the European Commission to strengthen R&I investment and to raise the budget of the next EU Programme for R&I (2021-2027), Horizon Europe, to at least €120 billion.

Students in Nordic countries
Students in Nordic Countries – Study Support and Economics, provides statistical data comparing funding received by 925,636 students in the Nordic countries who benefit from government support. The report shows that there is a well-developed funding system in the Nordic region compared to other regions but with significant differences between countries, with the highest level of support provided in Denmark and the least in Finland.

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Algeria - Korea

The Algerian Minister of Higher Education and Research, Tayeb Bouzid, announced in October that Algerian universities will sign 11 Memorandum of Understanding with universities in South Korea.

France - India

Following the India-France Knowledge Summit, held in May 2018, the two countries have signed and ratified the Mutual Recognition of Academic Qualifications agreement in which the two countries agree to recognize four qualifications, from secondary school leaving certificates to doctoral degrees.

Greece - USA

Education Minister Niki Kerameus met with officials from the US Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in Athens on 7 October. They discussed cooperation on joint study programmes between Greek and American universities, the participation of foreign students in Greek academic programmes, and student and research exchanges.

Indonesia - Tunisia

On 23 September, Riadh Dridi, the Tunisian Ambassador to Indonesia, met with Mohamad Nasir, the Indonesian Minister for Research, Technology, and Higher Education (MoRTHE). Discussions focused on cooperation in science, technology and higher education programmes.

Mongolia - Japan

The first university hospital in Mongolia has opened. Built with the assistance of a grant aid from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and affiliated with the Mongolian National University of Medical Sciences, it is expected to provide high-quality training for medical personnel and research.

Taiwan - UK

The first Taiwan-UK Higher Education Forum was organised by the Foundation for International Cooperation in Higher Education of Taiwan and Universities UK in September in London to open new opportunities for higher education exchange. Discussions centered on governance, autonomy and internationalisation; UK-Taiwan research partnerships; increasing UK-Taiwan student and research mobility.

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Australia Canada China Costa Rica
Estonia France Greece Hong Kong
India Ireland Italy Kenya
Mexico Netherlands Nigeria Pakistan
Peru Philippines Russian Federation South Africa
Tunisia Uganda United Kingdom United States of America
Uzbekistan Benin

-  Australia

Education provider standards

The final report of the Review of the Higher Education Provider Category Standards was released in October. It recommends the simplification and rebalancing of the current categories of higher education providers: university-related categories are to be reduced, merged and rationalised, while non-university categories are to be increased.

International education agents

The Minister for Education has released International Education Agents Overview Report. It provides a high-level data summary of the sector, giving education stakeholders an insight into the activity of education agents, to assist them in meeting their responsibilities, and to foster increased transparency in the international education sector.

International students - post-study employment

The International Education Association of Australia (IEAA)’s Report Post-study Work Rights Key to Enhancing Australia’s Productivity discusses the importance of post-study work rights in international education, who post-study work rights visa holders are and where they are employed, labour market outcomes, economic opportunities and outcomes.

-  Benin

New Minister

At the beginning of September, Eléonore Yayi Ladekan was named as the new Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, replacing Marie Odile Attanasso. The new incumbent had previously served as Minister for Primary Education, as well as a professor at Université d’Abomey-Calavi and one of the Vice-Rectors for International Cooperation within the university (in French)

-  Canada

The Association of Atlantic Universities has released data on 2019-20 Preliminary Enrolments which reports a 4% increase in full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students with a 20% increase in international students.

-  China

Government guidelines for reform

China’s Ministry of Education has issued guidelines to deepen the reform of the country’s undergraduate education and teaching and improve the quality of universities. Four areas are proposed: the management of education and teaching; systems of education and teaching; teaching personnel; and organizational guarantees.

HE progress report

The Ministry of Education has posted an Overview of Educational Achievements in China in 2018. Section V reports on progress made last year in higher education with a particular focus on enrolment, graduation data, teaching workforce and the provision of equipment and facilities for research and teaching, informatisation and online courses at universities.

Annual International Forum on Higher Education

The Annual International Forum on Higher Education 2019 was held at Lanzhou University, Gansu Province, on October 12 and 13. The event was hosted by the China Association of Higher Education and focused on the topic of Higher Education’s modernization; special emphasis was given to China’s experience and international perspectives.

-  Costa Rica

The Ministry of Public Education has developed a new policy for curricular transformation at universities in Costa Rica and in October it organised a training session at the University of Costa Rica, an IAU Member, for leaders who will be in charge of curricular transformation in the framework of new educational policy.

-  Estonia

The National Audit Office has released the outcomes of the transition to free higher education carried out in 2013. According to the report, the outcomes are patchy when compared with the reform’s ambitions. Although students graduate faster from institutions of higher education and the dropout rate has decreased, the opportunities for earning extra revenue have become scarce and the higher education funding model has become outdated, the auditors said.

-  France

International student fees - legal decision

The Constitutional Court (Conseil Constitutionnel) released a decision on 11 October reaffirming the principal of free education which applies to higher education. This decision puts into question the law increasing student fees for international students from outside the European Union. The highest administrative court, the Conseil d’Etat, will decide on the law in the light of the ruling of the Constitutional Court.

Open science

The Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation has published its first Open Science Monitor, which measures progress towards open access of scientific research publications and data. It finds that 41 % of 133 000 scientific publications in 2017 are in open access. The Open Science Monitor is part of France’s National Open Science Plan.

-  Greece

The Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs has introduced specific provisions concerning Higher Education in the Parliament for discussion and voting in the bills of the Ministry of Development and Investment and the Ministry of Health. Among these are the simplification of procedure of postgraduate programmes and the reintegration of secondary school graduates into Higher Education.

-  Hong Kong

Student protests - Universities’ statement

The Heads of eight university councils have released a joint statement stressing that universities have zero tolerance for any form of violence on campuses, and do not accept vandalism against university properties. The statement also clarified that assistance provided by universities to students did not necessarily reflect political views. The statement follows student pro-democracy protests.

Postgraduate fellowships

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has announced a new higher education initiative. Fellowships will be provided on a pilot basis for five cohorts to local students to pursue designated postgraduate programmes in priority areas conducive to the development of Hong Kong offered by the eight UGC-funded universities. The Scheme will provide 500 fellowships for the first cohort (admitted in the 2020/21 academic year)

-  India

On 24-25 September, the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) released the New York-Bengaluru Vision Statement 2019 towards a Global Ecosystem in Yoga Higher Education through Collaboration, Mainstreaming and Accreditation.

-  Ireland

Access to education

A report published in October by the Higher Education Authority analyses the geographical and socio-economic make-up of Ireland’s higher education institutions and courses. ‘A Spatial & Socio-Economic Profile of Higher Education Institutions in Ireland’ finds that while progress has been made in increasing access to higher education, ‘high profile’ courses such as Medicine, Business, Finance and Engineering programmes have higher proportions of ‘affluent’ students than other courses.

European Universities Initiative - government funding
Call for applications

The Minister for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, launched a call for applications from eligible Irish higher education institutions (HEIs), for financial support in advance of the second call of the European Universities Initiative by the European Commission. She announced that €500,000 has been made available from the Government to support higher education institutions’ applications.

-  Italy

CRUI, the Italian Rectors Association, and the Italian Network of Universities for Peace have released a Statement regarding their concern about the escalation of armed violence in Northeast Syria. They call for humanitarian organisations to be allowed to provide relief and assistance, for an immediate halt of armed operations in the territory of Northeast Syria and a peaceful resolution of international disputes and conflicts of whatever kind.

-  Kenya

Reform - funding

The National Assembly approved Sessional Paper No. 1 of 2019 policy framework for reforming education and training for sustainable development in Kenya in October. Under this reform, universities will be allocated funds depending on their programmes instead of student enrolment, as has been the case. In addition, the government will empower public university councils to determine the terms and conditions of service for their staff.

Infrastructure expansion - report

A Ministry of Education report has proposed expansion of existing infrastructure in universities to increase enrolment. Under the new plan aimed at increasing student enrolment in universities from 15 to 25 per cent, the capacity of new and old universities will be expanded.

-  Mexico

During the inauguration of the legislative forum on ethno-socio-cultural policies in higher education, held on 16 October, ANUIES, the Mexican national association of universities, reiterated the importance of providing stronger financial support to higher education by 2020.

-  Netherlands

Student enrolment

Preliminary figures released by the association of Dutch universities VSNU show that the number of students enrolled at higher education institutions in the Netherlands increased by around 4 % for the 2019/2020 academic year to reach 300,000 Bachelors and Masters students, the highest recorded. International students comprise 20% of students.

SDG impact

VSNU have made available a SDG Dashboard to show the impact of Dutch universities on the Sustainable Development Goals.

-  Nigeria

Government funding

An investigation has found that many state governments have reduced subventions to their universities. Paucity of funds, investigations showed, had affected payment of salaries and research activities in State universities.

Universities’ use renewable energy

With frequent power cuts in the National Grid since the sector was privatised, universities in the country are now turning to alternatives. Several institutions are now running entirely on renewable energy, and have become completely self-sufficient; many more universities plan to follow.

-  Pakistan

Guidelines on sexual harassment

The Higher Education Commission has issued a circular to all universities, directing them to improve the implementation of HEC’s guidelines regarding effective management and control systems for sexual harassment cases.

New universities - Punjab

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar announced in October that six general and four technical universities will be established in the province.

Medical education

The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has established a Committee to address emerging challenges and opportunities in medical education in the country, including undergraduate and graduate education, clinical certification, health research and research oriented education, adoption of international standards, and addressing equivalence and certification issues in other countries.

-  Peru

In a statement approved on 4 October, universities convened by the National Association of Public Universities of Peru, ANUPP, called on the President of the Republic to call for more democratic institutions, as well as actions against exclusion and privileges.

-  Philippines

The government passed the Transnational Higher Education Act in August and made it public late September. It formulates a national strategy to encourage and facilitate the establishment of overseas HEIs and programmes in the country to increase globally competitiveness, while attracting a flow of talented students, faculty, and staff and improving the country’s human resource base.

-  Russian Federation

A draft bill by the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs is to open up Russian citizenship to international students after graduation and ease restrictions on employment for international students studying in Russia.

-  South Africa

Universities South Africa - National Higher Education Conference

USAf, an IAU Member organisation, recently held the first national conference, entitled Reinventing South Africa’s Universities for the Future. Presentations from the conference are now available.

Vice-Chancellor pay - inquiry

The Government Committee on Higher Education, Science and Technology has stated that it will request the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology to commission an inquiry into the remuneration of Vice-Chancellors. The Committee is concerned by what it considers as high remuneration levels paid at some universities.

Campus safety

Vice-chancellors from the country’s 26 universities and the Minister of Police in Johannesburg General Bheki Cele has engaged on improving campus safety in the wake of the recent spate of violence at universities. A working committee including Universities South Africa as well as the police will look at security solutions on and off campuses.

-  Tunisia

The first Franco-Tunisian university has been inaugurated in Tunis by French Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation Frédérique Vidal and the Tunisian Minister of Higher Education Slim Khalbous. The Université franco-tunisienne de l’Afrique et de la Méditerranée (Uftam) will deliver French and Tunisian qualifications.

-  Uganda

The government has announced reforms in recognition of nursing and midwifery degrees so that these qualifications will be recognised in public health services.

- United Kingdom

Universities’ Brexit preparedness - survey

Universities UK has released the results of a survey which researched universities’ preparedness, in respect of no-deal, Brexit. 75 universities from across the UK responded, and the results showed that significant arrangements have been made to mitigate the potential impact of a no-deal outcome. However, concern remains high of the potential consequences no agreement would have on areas including student and staff recruitment and retention and access to research programmes and funding.

Ethnic minority staff - employment conditions

A report by the University and College Union has found that black and minority ethnic (BAME) academic staff at UK universities are paid less than their white counterparts. They are also considerably less likely to hold the most senior jobs. The data demonstrated a pay gap of 9% for BAME staff, compared with white academic staff.

Graduate salaries

The Higher Education Statistics Authority has released a report which analyses how the financial return to a degree has changed across two decades. The research shows that the “graduate premium” in salaries compared to those without degrees has decreased from 19% for those born in 1970 to 11% for those born after 1987.

Ethic minority students - report

A report published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission on racial harassment at universities, has found that 24 % of ethnic minority students said that they had experienced racial harassment. The report also analysed responses from university staff and found that more than half reported being ignored or excluded because of their race.

Regional skills partnerships - Wales

In October, the Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee at the National Assembly for Wales published their report on regional skills partnerships in Wales. The report makes a number of recommendations including the need to stimulate higher level skills demand in Wales. Universities Wales responded that the committee’s report recognises the ways in which higher education already contributes to the skills landscape in Wales.

- United States of America

HE Leaders - report

The American Council on Education (ACE) has released a new report, ’The Transformation-Ready Higher Education Institution: How Leaders Can Prepare for and Promote Change’. The report based on research with 495 higher education leaders, found that few leaders are highly confident that their institutions are adequately prepared for changing market forces. Additionally, leaders are challenged by public perceptions of the value of higher education and increased competition for students both domestically and internationally. The research illustrates how leaders can position their institutions through meaningful change by building upon four key dimensions of transformation readiness.

HBCUs - increase in enrolment

New research has found anincrease in applications and enrollment at one-third of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) over the past three years. The research was funded by the Rutgers Graduate School of Education (GSE) Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI) and NODA: Association for Orientation, Transition and Retention in Higher Education.

- Uzbekistan

The President of the Republic has signed the Decree on approval of the concept of development of the higher educational system of the Republic of Uzbekistan by 2030 to support higher educational system reform, improve the quality and modernize higher education. The main strategic objectives include: public-private partnerships development; increased level of higher education coverage (by 50 percent); and identifying two national flagship universities.

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IAU Lynx October 2019
IAU Lynx September 2019
IAU Lynx July 2019

IAU Lynx coordinator: Amanda Sudic
Collaborating team: Clarisse Gemelli, Nicholas Poulton, Samuel Pousson and Carine Sébast
Contact: Amanda Sudic
© IAU 2019

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