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IAU Lynx October 2019


October 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.



Experts from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) met in September at the University of Guadalajara, Mexico, to develop the Regional Strategy of UNESCO on education regarding Sustainable Development and World Citizenship within the 2030 Agenda.

UNESCO launched the Futures of Education initiative to reimagine how knowledge and learning can shape the futures of humanity in a context of increasing complexity, uncertainty and precarity during a high level event at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on 25 September. IAU has been invited to join the High-level International Commission of thought-leaders from diverse fields and regions that will lead this important work.

UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP)
The UNESCO IIEP has published the French version of its book Internal Quality Assurance: Enhancing Higher Education Quality and Graduate Employability. It presents international trends in IQA today, including innovative practices and principles. It aims is to serve as a guide for higher education institutions planning to design and develop their own IQA systems. The book also includes eight in depth case studies from Austria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Chile, China, Germany, Kenya, and South Africa.


Education At A Glance, the OECD’s flagship report on education, has just been published. The 2019 edition includes a focus on higher education with new indicators on completion rates, doctoral graduates and their labour market outcomes, and on admission systems, as well as a dedicated chapter on the Sustainable Development Goal 4.

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Arab States - Asia - Europe

- Arab States

The Association of Arab Universities, an IAU Member, have stated that they will undertake a process of classification of all universities in the region with the aim to achieve consistency in the criteria used to assess institutions. The project will be launched in cooperation with a number of Arab and international institutions and organisations as soon as preparations for the qualitative assessment of universities in the region are completed.

- Asia

Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU)

The Report from the APRU 23rd Annual Presidents’ Meeting, held in June, has been released. Entitled Universities in an Age of Global Migrations, it introduces the APRU Strategic Plan 2019-2021 built around four priorities: Building global impact; Increasing APRU’s value to members; Creating high-value partnerships; Generating resources. It also sets out the ways these priorities will be implemented through a range of initiatives and activities.

Asian Development Bank (ADB)

The ADB has published Education and Skills Development under the CAREC Program: A Scoping Study assesses the potential of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) as a regional platform to promote regional education and skills initiatives. It identifies cooperation opportunities among member countries to harmonise higher and professional education and skill standards, enhance student and worker mobility, strengthen labor market information and movement and facilitate knowledge exchange.

Asia-Pacific Quality Network (APQN)

The Call for Nominations for 2019 the APQN Quality Award has been launched. The award is intended to identify extraordinary or prominent QA contributions - by individuals or institutions, at national or international levels - and good practices that have potential of being replicated in the Asia-Pacific area.
Deadline:30 December 2019.

- Europe

European Commission
The EU has invested an additional €17.6 million to support over 8,500 newly selected African students and staff to participate in Erasmus+ in 2019. The results of the 2019 Erasmus+ call bring the total number of exchanges between Africa and Europe to 26,247 since the beginning of the programme in 2014. The additional funding of €17.6 million – coming from the Commission and the EU Trust Fund for Africa – has boosted participation by African nationals by 40% overall.

European University Association (EUA)
The EUA has released two reports. Student-Centred Learning: Approaches to Quality Assurance examines what student-centred learning is, or can be, and how it can be addressed in internal quality assurance processes.
Achieving High-Quality Audit in European Research outlines how to make the EU reporting and control environment more efficient and effective.

Science Europe
Science Europe has released a briefing paper on open access to academic books. The report identifies the key issues at stake in implementing a policy of Open Access to academic books, and outlines recommendations for different stakeholder groups.

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Australia - Indonesia

The Department of Education has released the report Stronger Education Partnerships, aimed at helping Australian providers evaluate opportunities to establish or expand operations in Indonesia. It provides an overview of the higher education sector, outlines education partnership models used and identifies barriers in the regulatory environment.

Canada - Tunisia

The Tunisian Minister of Higher Education and Research, Slim Khalbous, signed 8 conventions with Canadian higher education institutions and research institutes. The conventions aim to develop cooperation between universities, applied research and student and researcher mobility, notably between Quebec and Tunisia.

China - Macao

On 26 September, Mainland China and Macao signed a Memorandum on Mutual Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications and Academic Degrees.

Cuba - Mexico

The National Association of Universities and other Mexican higher education centers and the Cuban Ministry of Higher Education (MES), signed an agreement on 24 September to reinforce “collaboration in search of scientific development and innovation,”. The agreement was signed by Jaime Valls, executive general secretary of the Mexican Association, and José Ramón Saborido, head of the MES, during the 15th Meeting of Rectors of Cuba and Mexico.

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Algeria Argentina Australia Brazil
Canada Denmark Estonia Ethiopia
Finland France India Ireland
Morocco New Zealand Pakistan Sweden
Taiwan United Kingdom United States of America Zimbabwe

- Algeria

The Algerian Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research has set up two commissions to enhance the use of English language within universities and to undertake a study into the use of English within universities.

-  Argentina

On 12 September, the National University Council (Consejo Interuniversitario Nacional) organised the International Forum on the Free University, the 70th anniversary of free university education in Argentina. The presentation by UNESCO-IESALC is now available.

-  Australia

Knowledge generation
In a Joint Statement issued in September, the National Research and Innovation Alliance outlines and commits to the fundamental principles that underpin knowledge generation – peer review in particular - that are essential to inform decision making by policy makers as well as by members of the broader community.

Medical student places
The Australian Government Department of Education has released a discussion paper inviting stakeholder comments on the establishment and implementation of a pool of up to 60 medical Commonwealth supported places drawn from existing university allocations to be redistributed between universities every three years to support key health workforce priorities. The first round for 2021 will focus on helping to build the rural and regional medical workforce.

-  Brazil

The National Institute for Educational Studies and Research, Anísio Teixeira-INEP, has released the results of the annual Higher Education Census. One of the findings is that in 2018 the number of distance learning students exceeded those on-site.

-  Canada

The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario has released the report Early Supports for Accessing Postsecondary Education: Good, Bad or Indifferent? The report notes that while secondary school graduation rates in Ontario have increased significantly over the past decade, many young people are still not pursuing postsecondary studies and calls for imp​roved postsecondary access for underrepresented groups with interventions to support at-risk and disengaged students at the K–12 level.

-  Denmark

The Danish government has released abudget proposal which will end the current annual spending cuts imposed on universities by the previous administration. The so-called reprioritization policy required educational institutions to cut costs by two percent annually.

-  Estonia

The Ministry of Education and Research has announced an increase of €5 million in the budget allocated to higher education institutions.

-  Ethiopia

Institutional capacity development support
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Save the Children and Ministry of Science and Higher Education announced $2 million in new institutional capacity development support to Ethiopian higher education institutions through USAID’s Building the Potential of Youth Activity (POTENTIAL); a five-year project implemented by Save the Children. The support will address some of the existing gaps between the skillsets of university students and the demands of the job market they will face after graduation.

New university admission rule
The Ministry of Science and Higher Education announced a new university admission rule has been introduced in Ethiopia in response to security concerns. Under the rule, students will have to sign an agreement with district-level education offices in the areas where they live.

-  Finland

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) are being trialled in two universities as a new route for university admission in Finland. It is part of the Alternative path to university, a higher education development project funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture.

-  France

Research plans

The Government has released the reports from three working groups set up to formulate plans for a new law on the Research programme.
The reports are Finance of research; scientific career attractiveness; and Research partnerships and innovation.

Environment teaching at universities - bill

On 19 september, 80 members of parliament put forward a bill to make teaching on the environment crisis, and in particular climate change, compulsory at universities. This follows a Call signed by over 150 heads of higher education institutions to teach all students about the climate crisis.

Enrolment and reforms - data
The Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation has released a report which presents current data on enrolment and information on reforms being put in place this year, notably an increase in budget, continued changes in medical training, and the progressive introduction of a compulsory English language certification test.

-  India

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has released Guidelines for Institutional Fitness Plan that encourage all universities and colleges to adopt policies and practices towards fitness and well being of students and staff as part of the Fit India movement.

-  Ireland

On 25 September, the Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D., established the Rapid Response Group on Drug and Substance Abuse in Higher Education. The group of experts are tasked with devising an action plan to deal with drug and substance abuse within the country’s higher education institutions.

-  Morocco

New legislative plan

The Department of Higher Education has introduced a wide ranging legislative plan including six new laws on higher education. The plan comprises the revision of the law which organises the sector, and aims to provide more autonomy for universities, to decentralise and to reinforce regional institutions. It also creates the National Council for Research.

The Moroccan Conseil Supérieur de l’Éducation, de la Formation et de la Recherche Scientifique recently released the report “Réforme de l’enseignement supérieur - Perspectives stratégiques” (Higher Education Reform - Strategic Perspectives). The reforms will revolve around 7 major axis, including quality training, and national strategy for research and innovation (in French)

-  New Zealand

Education Counts has posted the summary report How Does New Zealand’s Education System Compare? OECD’s Education at a Glance, an annual Ministry of Education publication that examines how New Zealand’s education system – including higher education - performs compared to OECD averages.

-  Pakistan

Budget cuts impact
The Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Associations has expressed their concern over cuts in budgetary allocations for universities, which has led to several universities being unable to pay salaries to their academic and administrative staffers on time. In addition, funding of travel grants and employment under the Interim Placement of Fresh PhDs (IPFP) programme has been stopped.

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

-  Sweden

New law changes being proposed by the government will allow non-EU students in higher education and researchers to be able to apply to stay in Sweden for up to a year after their studies in order to seek employment or to set up their own business.

-  Taiwan

The Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) has cooperated with four universities to launch a set of guidelines for the development of artificial intelligence.

- United Kingdom

In September, the government announced that it was extending the length of post-study work visas for international students to two years.

Racial inequality - policy recommendations

The Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) has published a collection of essays by senior higher education figures entitled The white elephant in the room: ideas for reducing racial inequality in higher education. The publication makes a number of policy recommendations such as funding new PhD places for black and ethnic minority (BME) candidates and making research grants to universities conditional on their participation in the Race Equality Charter.

Initiations briefing
Universities UK (UUK), in collaboration with Newcastle University, launched a briefing in September, Initiations at UK universities, to raise awareness of the dangers of initiations and excessive alcohol consumption among students. The briefing includes a consensus statement on the best way forward from stakeholders across the university and health sectors, and recommendations for universities.

University finance - Scotland
A new report on university finances was published in September by Audit Scotland. The report shows that the financial picture for the country’s higher education sector has worsened since 2016, with universities facing increased costs, further funding cuts and more reliance on borrowing.

- United States of America

FUTURE Act - Higher education support
The American Council on Education (ACE), Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), NAFSA and 41 other associations have sent a letter to the Senate to vote in favour of the vote the Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act. The bill extends funding for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education, student completion and infrastructure programs benefiting minority-serving higher education institutions.

Combatting academic corruption
The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) has released Combatting Academic Corruption and Enhancing Integrity: an Inventory of Key Questions for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Organizations. It is based on a worldwide Survey of Policies and Actions of Accreditation and Quality Assurance Bodies to Counter Corruption in Higher Education which showed that quality assurance/accreditation bodies, with a few exceptions, play a limited role in combatting academic corruption, the Inventory aims to provide ideas and suggestions to quality assurance bodies to further engage and assume greater responsibility in this area.

- Zimbabwe

The Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister, Amon Murwira, has announced additional funding of $20 million for research and related infrastructure at higher education institutions and research institutes.

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IAU Lynx September 2019
IAU Lynx July 2019
IAU Lynx June 2019

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

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