International Association of Universities
The Global Voice of Higher Education
EN  |   FR

Home > Knowledge hub

IAU Lynx November 2020


November 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 extraordinary session of the Global Education Meeting (2020 GEM) held on 22 October resulted in the 2020 GEM Declaration in which participants committed to protect education finance and identified priority actions to accelerate progress towards SDG4 in the context of COVID-19 and beyond. During the meeting, the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) issued a Statement that underlines the vital role Higher Education plays in support of sustainable development, a green recovery, while also ensuring the quality of education, equity, and gender equality.

UNESCO Office in Harare
Call for Partners

The UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa in collaboration with the Ministry of Higher Education invites interested universities, polytechnics, and technical and vocational training colleges to apply to become Partners on the Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future (O3 Plus) project, due to commence in 2021. It will seek to ensure that young people in higher education institutions in Zambia and Zimbabwe benefit from a comprehensive campus wide programme on sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Deadline: 30 November.

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

On 17 November, the Latin American and Caribbean region will participate in the third edition of World Access to Higher Education Day (WAHED), with the presentation of the conference "Inequalities in Access to Higher Education by Disadvantaged Populations in the Latin American and Caribbean Region in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic", organised by IESALC-UNESCO.

In the Webcast Back to the future: Higher Education in the Post-Pandemic world, the Director of UNESCO IESALC addressed the current situation and the prospects for the future of Higher Education in the pandemic and post-pandemic world, analysing university closures’ main effects and impacts and hybridization between online and face-to-face classes.


On 27 August, Fiji became the first Small Island Developing State to ratify the Asia-Pacific Regional Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications in Higher Education, known as the Tokyo Convention. The text aims to facilitate international mobility of students and academics in higher education in the Asia-Pacific region by setting a framework of collaboration amongst the State Parties on mutual and fair recognition of higher education

- Global University Network for Innovation (GUNi)

The report of the 2nd GUNi International Conference on SDGs: “Higher Education & Science Take Action” - held in Barcelona on March 2020 – has been released. It contains articles by 104 authors that participated in the event, grouped under the following themes: Integrating Student Leadership in Sustainable Actions; Revising Institutional Strategies in the Context of the 2030 Agenda; Key Competencies Approaches for Sustainability; Developing Evaluation Tools for Change; Social Impact through SDGs: Transforming Communities; Innovative Social Engagement through Service Learning; Teacher Training: Seeds for Transformative Competencies; Responsible Research for the SDGs; Regional perspectives; Students’ voices.

- International Council for Distance Education (ICDE)
Call for applications - OER Expert for Francophone Africa project

The ICDE has launched a call for an expert and project consultant to collaborate in a project that will support the implementation of the UNESCO OER Recommendation in a selection of Francophone African Countries. Closing date: 17 November.

- International Education Association of Australia (IEAA) / NAFSA: Association of International Educators

Launched by IEAA and NAFSA, the Guide to Practitioner Research in International Education, encourages international education workers to combine research with professional practice and aims to foster good practice in producing and promoting international education research outcomes. It discusses issues and provides suggestions relating to: Research Questions; Varieties of Research; Resourcing; Ethical Issue; Dissemination.

Return to top


Africa - Americas - Asia & Pacific - Europe

- Africa

eLearning Africa

The Report "The Effect of Covid-19 on Education in Africa and its Implications for the Use of Technology" has been published by eLearning Africa and the EdTech Hub. The authors received detailed survey responses from over 1600 education and technology practitioners, experts, policy makers, administrators and investors.

- Americas

Asociación Universitaria Iberoamericana de Postgrado

On 27 October the Asociación Universitaria Iberoamericana de Postgrado (Association for Postgraduate Latin American Universities) , agreed to award 41 grants to facilitate the mobility of students and academics between Andalusian and Latin American universities.

Centro Interuniversitario de Desarrollo (CINDA)

On 28 October, the fourth session of the Transformative Internationalisation series took place. This series of meetings - organised in conjunction with the Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral (ESPOL) - presented best practices from eight institutions identified in the 2020 call for proposals of CINDA’s Transforming Internationalisation project.

Organización Universitaria Interamericana (OUI)

OUI celebrated its 40th anniversary with a series of conferences held between 19 and 22 October in which education ministers from several countries in the region participated, the General Assembly of members was held and the third Inter-American Award for Innovative Educational Models in Higher Education was inaugurated.

Caribbean Community member states (CARICOM)

Global Affairs Canada has launched a new short-term exchange opportunity in Canada for students from the Caribbean Community member states (CARICOM), undertaking university studies in disciplines related to climate change and resilience building. The Canada-CARICOM Skills Training for the Green Economy Scholarships program is facilitated through institutional collaborations and student exchange agreements between Canadian institutions and institutions across the CARICOM offering technical or vocational education and training (TVET).

- Asia & Pacific

Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)

The Ministers of Education of the Member States of the ASEAN issued a Joint Statement at the Conference on the Digital Transformation of Education Systems throughout ASEAN on 15 October in Ha Noi, Viet Nam. Calling for digital transformation in education, they agreed to: work towards lifelong learning and the digital transformation of education systems in ASEAN; Promote access to safe digital learning; and support the development of an ASEAN Declaration on the Digital Transformation of Education Systems.

The Study on Enhancing Intra-ASEAN University Student Mobility has just been released. It looks at three factors crucial to enhancing intra-ASEAN mobility for university students: Understanding the data available on international students; The role of visa provision; Scholarship and ASEAN single branded scholarship (SBS).

Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU)

AAOU have called for submissions for the 34th Annual Conference of the Asian Association of Open Universities themed “Opening Minds for a Sustainable Future: Re-orienting ODL to Surmount Challenges” - rescheduled to June 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Deadline: 15 December.

- Europe

European Commission

The European Commission released a new Communication on the European Education Area (EEA) on 30 September. It lays out a pathway to achieving the EEA by 2025. In higher education, the aim is to encourage joint curriculum development across universities in different countries, policy support for transnational cooperation via higher education alliances, a strong role for education institutions in supporting the recovery from COVID-19 and sustainable development, deeper faster international cooperation on studying abroad and a stronger focus on advanced digital skills.

European Universities Associations

The presidents of the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK), Universities Austria (UNIKO) and the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) have published a common statement “Last chance to invest in European higher education and research” urging governments to recognise the value of education, research and innovation in the EU Multiannual Financial Framework. The signatories stress that policymakers must act fast to set the right course for a successful future by significantly increasing funds for flagship programmes like Horizon Europe and Erasmus+.

European University Association

The European University Association (EUA) and the European Students’ Union (ESU) have released a Statement condemning that Belarusian professors and students who supported anti-presidential protests have lost their jobs or the opportunity to continue education at Belarusian universities. EUA and ESU call on the Belarusian authorities to guarantee all citizens, including students and university staff, the right to free expression, assembly and protest. EUA and ESU also urge the government of Belarus to reconsider the recent decision to no longer recognise diplomas from foreign educational institutions.

Return to top


Afghanistan Albania Argentina Australia
Brazil Canada Colombia Egypt
Finland France Greece Guinea
Ireland Japan Kazakhstan Kenya
Lithuania Mexico Morocco Netherlands
Nicaragua Pakistan Papua New Guinea South Africa
Switzerland United Kingdom United States

-  Afghanistan

On 2 November an attack on Kabul University left 19 students and teachers dead and over 22 others wounded. The attack has been widely condemned by the Afghan government, its international partners and rights groups.

-  Albania

The Minister of Education, Sports and Youth Evis Kushi has announced that Albanian universities will start the 2020-2021 academic year, which began in November, with only online classes.

-  Argentina

A new conference of the Rectors’ Athenaeum was held with the participation of more than 90 leaders and teachers from the member universities of the Council of Rectors of Private Universities (CRUP). On this occasion the speakers were Emilio Baños Ardavin, President of the Federation of Mexican Private Institutions of Higher Education, and Claudio Rama, former director of IESALC/UNESCO.

-  Australia

Academic integrity
The Minister of Education has launched a new TEQSA Academic Integrity Toolkit, developed to assist integrity practitioners with promoting academic integrity and to address contract cheating within their institutions. It includes benchmarking tools, advice on policy and case studies from Australian higher education providers.

Higher education reforms
The Job-ready Graduates Package of reforms to higher education legislation has been passed and became a law in October. Government university funding will grow to AUS$ 20 billion by 2024, up to 30,000 new university places will be created by 2021 and additional support provided for students in regional and remote Australia. It aims to help drive the nation’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

-  Brazil

The III National Congress on Inclusion in Higher Education and Professional Technological Education, a free online event promoted by the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN) will take place from 23 to 27 November 2020.

-  Canada

Educational finance
In a report published in November, Statistics Canada has projected Canadian universities could lose as much as CAN$ 3.4 billion for the 2020-2021 academic year in large part due to a decrease in the number of foreign students because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Technology transfer
A new programme aimed to help researchers validate and find commercial value in their ideas has officially launched at three Canadian universities. The Lab2Market programme was developed to support researchers working in deep technology sectors.

Call for applications for student bursaries
The Secretary of State for Research and the University of Laval have launched a call for applications for 700 bursaries for international students for studies at Canadian universities. The bursaries aim to facilitate the immigration of international students who will be eligible after graduation to find employment in Canada.
Further information and application forms at: [email protected]

-  Colombia

On 29 October, the National Council of Rectors of the Colombian Association of Universities (ASCUN) met online, in which the Director of IESALC-UNESCO and the ECLAC representative in Colombia took part. They reflected on the changes to boost growth and the role of the university in rethinking the future.

-  Egypt

The Egyptian Space Agency (EgSA) has announce that it will be establishing a cluster of space technology centres in Universities across the country. The Agency will also support Egyptian universities through the process of establishing the technology centres on their campuses, provide equipment, human resources, and provision of technical knowledge.

-  Finland

The Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC) published the report Flexible Learning Pathways in Higher Education. Finland’s country case study as part of IIEP-UNESCO’s global research project – SDG4: Planning for Flexible Learning Pathways in Higher Education. It offers evidence-based policy recommendations for the Ministry of Education and Culture and HEIs to improve the learning experience for all students and close equity gaps.

-  France

Covid-19 - New regulations for universities
On 29 October, the French government laid down regulations so that higher education face to face classes do not take place; Higher education institutions stay open, but classes are given digitally, except for practical work. The French Rectors Association (Conférence des Présidents d’Université (CPU) released a Statement warning that first year students will be particularly affected and that there is a risk of dropout.

-  Greece

A group of academics have signed a letter urging Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to increase security at higher education facilities in order to “safeguard academic life and the operation [of universities]” subsequent to recent violence and intimidation against university academics and vandalism of faculties.

-  Guinea

The Guinean Ministry of Higher Education and Research has put in place a dedicated platform ECP (Espace de continuité pédagogique). The platform aims to assist students as they continue to study during the Covid-19 pandemic and is full of resources and tools designed to help students (in French).

-  Ireland

The Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris has announced that the country will finance students affected by the Covid-19 pandemic to enroll in free courses enabling them to retrain and upskill to (re)enter the workforce. The €30 million initiative includes many short, stand-alone modular courses, as well as places on existing full-time and part-time postgraduate courses.

-  Japan

The education ministry plans to allow an increase in the number of international students studying at national universities from the 2022 academic year, in an effort to increase the universities’ international competitiveness and ensure the stability of their finances

-  Kazakhstan

Presentations and recordings of the International Online Forum "Global in Regional: Kazakhstan in the Bologna Process and EU Projects" - held October 20-21- are online. Dedicated to the 10th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s participation in the Bologna Process, the forum organised by the Ministry of Education and Science. A Communiqué was also released, in which forum participants supported the proposal to create a Central Asian zone of the Bologna Process to further ensure the quality of higher education in the region and call on Central Asian countries to intensify their higher education reform initiatives.

-  Kenya

The Kenya Space Agency has awarded development grants to local universities for nanosatellite development and operational space weather study under the Research Chairs (RC) programme as they aim to build up the country’s socio-economic development

-  Lithuania

Several universities in Lithuania have announced they are switching to remote-only teaching in the context of Covid-19. Vilnius University, Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas and Mykolas Romeris University in Vilnius said on 23 October they would discontinue in-class teaching. All lectures and seminars are to be conducted online, except when special equipment is needed.

-  Mexico

The call is open to Higher Education Institutions and Research Centres in Mexico to submit proposals for research projects to be developed jointly with French institutions and research centres and which involve doctoral training in the following areas: health and emerging diseases; water, energy, food and climate change; governance, sustainable development and inequalities; modelling, ICTs, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data. Deadline for submitting proposals: 28 December.

-  Morocco

Proposed reforms by the Moroccan Ministry of Higher Education that would, among other things, introduce a new four year undergraduate degree instead of the current three years has led to opposition among both students and professors. The plan was supposed to be implemented this academic year, but has been delayed by a year. The proposed reforms come in an attempt to improve the quality of university education and the quality of students graduating.

-  Netherlands

Dutch universities have seen enrolment rise by 8% this year (a total of 328,000 students) compared to the to 2019-2020 academic year according to provisional registration figures from the association of Dutch universities VSNU. The association attributes the increase to the consequences of coronavirus crisis.

-  Nicaragua

With the participation of more than 600 representatives of member institutions of the National Council of Universities (CNU), the "First National Postgraduate Academic Meeting" was held on 29 October in virtual mode. Its objectives were to address the challenges of postgraduate education in the context of the pandemic, and to share the lessons learned from the strategies implemented in the different universities.

-  Pakistan

Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood has announced that Pakistani universities need to focus more on promotion of research culture in the country.

-  Papua New Guinea

The Department of Higher Education Research Science and Technology (DHERST) has announced that over 5000 students from 32 institutions across the country have so far benefited from the National Government’s recently introduced Higher Education Loan Program (HELP).

-  South Africa

University of South Africa (UNISA), an IAU Member, recently held a seminar series on African scholarship and indigenous ways of knowing, from 23-25 September. A brief summary of the talks given can be found here.

-  Switzerland

Swiss universities went back to distance learning from 2 November according to new anti-coronavirus measures announced by the government on 28 October,

-  United Kingdom

Covid 19 - new guidelines issued
The UK government has published new guidance for higher education institutions concerning the lockdown in England, which confirms that face-to-face teaching can continue where possible, and clarifies that libraries and shared-study spaces will remain open for students to access.

Education funding
The Institute for Fiscal Studies annual report on education spending has found that Universities in England which are still grappling with the impact of Covid-19 are facing "significant" financial risks from high drop-out rates and soaring pension costs.

-  United States

New Immigration rules - university associations respond
The American Council on Education (ACE) and 23 other higher education associations filed briefs to the Government supporting legal challenges to new rules restricting immigration H1-B visas for highly skilled workers.

Covid 19 - Campus closures
Data from the College Crisis Initiative and the Chronicle of Higher Education indicate that just over 300 campuses are closed for the fall semester.

Return to top

IAU Lynx October Edition
IAU Lynx September Edition
IAU Lynx July Edition

IAU Lynx coordinator: Amanda Sudic
Collaborating team: Nicholas Poulton, Samuel Pousson, Carine Sebast and Lianne Guerra
Contact: [email protected]
© IAU 2020

NGO in official partnership with UNESCO in associate status
International Association of Universities, UNESCO House, 1 rue Miollis, 75732 Paris cedex 15, France
Contact  |   Sitemap  |   Terms of use  |   Credits