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IAU Lynx October 2020


October 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 Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL)

UNESCO UIL has just released an issue note on Higher education institutions’ engagement local communities in the context of the current pandemic. It shares various lessons from past practices and the current crisis but also provides practical tips for designing policy interventions.

Nominations are open for the 2020 edition of the UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for the use of ICT in education that annually distinguishes projects ensuring the continuity and quality of learning. This year’s theme is the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enhance the continuity and quality of learning. Deadline for nominations: 18 December.

Rethinking Mass Higher Education: Towards Community Integrated Learning Centres is a new background paper has been released by UNESCO. It discusses the limitations of mass higher education, international education, and possibilities of alternative, community integrated learning centres.

UNESCO has published the report Education Policy Review: Towards a Lifelong Learning System Results from a Critical Sectoral Analysis and an In-Depth Policy assessment conducted by UNESCO and the Ministry of Education of Mongolia. It provides recommendations to reform the education system in teaching and learning; Mainstreaming ICT in Education and Learning; and lifelong learning for all.

UNESCO has just released The Lifelong Learning approach: Implications for Education policy in Latin America and the Caribbean. It has three parts: LLL in the international context, international plans for education in Latin America and the Caribbean, and LLL in this region.

The report "Education in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic" (La educación en tiempos de la pandemia de COVID-19), produced by the Regional Office of Education for Latin America and the Caribbean (OREALC/UNESCO Santiago), ECLAC and UNESCO, has been published. The report aims to make visible the diversity of measures implemented in the 33 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean during the pandemic and their impact on educational communities.

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

UNESCO IESALC has made available recordings of the following two webinars (in Spanish):
- the V Ibero-American Workshop on Higher Education Indicators, organized by the Red Iberoamericana de Indicadores de Educación Superior (INDICES) where participants highlighted the importance of defining the concept of virtual academic mobility for the generation of internationalization indicators in Ibero-America and the need to join efforts to achieve region-specific indicators.
- the International Colloquium “Impact of COVID-19 on Education”, organised by the RUDECOLOMBIA Doctorate in Educational Sciences of the University of Cartagena. Participants discussed the impact of temporary closure of higher education institutions (HEI) regionally, the necessity for HEIs to undertake emergency remote teaching and the importance of face-to face learning.

UNESCO International Centre for Higher Education Innovation (Shenzhen) (UNESCO-ICHEI)/ Cambodia

UNESCO-ICHEI and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport of Cambodia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate in the field of higher education digital transformation and empower HEI teachers with ICT to build a shared platform with digital resources. Future plans include the setting up of the International Institute of Online Education (IIOE) and the building of a national MOOCs platform for Cambodia - Khmer MOOCs (KHMOOCs).

- Agence universitaire de la francophonie (AUF)

AUF has published a new guide for the implementation of distance learning systems, “Methodological guide for the implementation of an ODL system. An initiative of the Yaoundé campus” was developed within higher education institutions in Cameroon. The guide offers training for institutions wishing to implement distance learning.


The 2020 edition of the Education at a Glance 2020 has just been released. The report covers all levels of education, from pre-primary to doctoral education and includes a special focus on initial and continuing vocational education and training.

The OECD has just released ’Education responses to COVID-19: Implementing a way forward’. The paper proposes a framework and recommendations to help governments form and implement strategy for education responses to COVID-19.

the OECD Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) has released the policy brief ’Remote online exams in higher education during the COVID-19 crisis’. It outlines possible short-term and long-term solutions for organising student examinations on line in the context of campus closures and social distancing measures.

- G20
Internationalization in education and the Education Continuity in times of crisis were among the items discussed at the G20 virtual Education Ministers Meeting chaired by Saudi Arabia in September. The “Ministerial Communique of the G20 Education Ministers Meeting” adopted as an outcome document supports the promotion of internationalization in education for all, encourages the integration of international and intercultural dimensions into all levels.

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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 just 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

AUiP (Asociación Universitaria Iberoamericana de Postgrado)

On 30 September, a virtual meeting of the AUiP Executive Committee, made up of 21 rectors from different Latin American universities, was held, where future actions were presented. Despite the exceptional situation created by the pandemic, the AUIP has continued to programme mobility, master’s and doctoral grants, as well as calls for technical missions and aid for the creation and consolidation of research networks.

Unión de Universidades de América Latina y el Caribe (UDUAL)

In September the Secretary General of UDUAL sent a letter of solidarity to the academic and student community in Brazil following actions by the government impacting university autonomy of Brazilian universities.


On 17 September, Africa and South America were connected for the first time through a BGP peer established between Tertiary Education & Research Network of South Africa (TENET) and RedCLARA. The link establishes direct communication with lower latency, allowing direct South-South collaboration between both continents in Science, Education and technological development, among others.

Centro Interuniversitario de Desarrollo (CINDA)

On 30 September, the webinar series "Internationalisation as a strategy for university transformation" (La internacionalización como estrategia de transformación de las universidades) began, organised by CINDA and the Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral (ESPOL) began with the aim of publicising the good practices of internationalisation of the network’s universities.

ÁPICE (Pan American Association of Educational Credit Institutions)

The report “Innovations and Good Practices of Educational Credit”, published by ÁPICE with the support of the UNESCO Participation Programme, discusses sixteen experiences on educational credit innovations and good practices developed in Latin America and the Caribbean by different universities and educational credit institutions.

- Asia & Pacific

Asian Development Bank (ADB)

The ADB brief Online Learning in Sri Lanka’s Higher Education Institutions during the COVID-19 Pandemic outlines lessons and opportunities to improve online learning modalities based on the experiences of Sri Lanka. It presents the the findings of three surveys conducted among administrators, faculty members, and students at public and private HEIs to assess participation in online education, access to internet, hardware devices and digital Platforms, training needs.

Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU)

The AAOU webinar “Responding to COVID-19 to Remove Barriers: Access, Equity, and Inclusion” was held 6 October and discussed AAU members’ best practices in quality assurance and accreditation.

ASEAN University Network (AUN)

On 16 September 16, The Young SEAkers co-organised the inaugural ASEAN-China Youth Forum themed "Post-COVID-19 Opportunities and Insights from the Lenses of University Students in ASEAN and China”. Discussions addressed the role of higher education institutions and actions prioritizing the health of staff and students, the challenges of migrating learning methods into online formats, how the COVID-19 crisis can become an opportunity for students in terms of soft skills development, and the necessity to strengthen interregional cooperation efforts to prepare for the post-COVID-19 pandemic era.

The ASEAN University Network in partnership with De La Salle College of St. Benilde’s School of Diplomacy and Governance (DLS-CSB SDG), held the first part of the “Beyond SDG Webinar Series” on 10 September on the role of higher education institutions in ASEAN building through ASEAN Studies courses, the role of students in spreading awareness of what it means to be ASEAN, and the challenges that the AUN faces in promoting greater student mobility within the region.

The Universiti Malaya UM International Webinar Series gathered regional university associations to discuss their roles in strengthening cooperation between their members to advance the quality of education and research, specifically amid the COVID-19 global crisis.

- 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.

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Morocco - USA

Morocco’s Ministry of Education and the US Agency of International Development (USAID) has launched the Higher Education Partnership Program to strengthen Morocco’s teacher training system. The Ministry of Education announced in a statement that the programme has a budget of $5 million over a period of five years and that it aims to enhance the quality of primary education through the training of teachers.

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Australia Canada Chile China
Colombia Costa Rica Ecuador Egypt
Ethiopia France Germany Hungary
Ireland Italy Japan Kazakhstan
Mozambique Nigeria Pakistan Rwanda
South Africa Sri Lanka Sweden United Kingdom

- Argentina

The Ministry of Education has agreed to offer loans for computer equipment for non-teaching staff of National Universities.

-  Australia

Academic cheating services - new law
A new law passed on 26 August creates a new criminal offence of providing or advertising an academic cheating service on a commercial basis; and broadens the role of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) to include the prevention of the use of academic cheating services.

Research and international education
The International Education Association of Australia (IEAA) and NAFSA have jointly published a Guide to Practitioner Research in International Education. It focuses on opportunities to combine research with professional practice in international education.

Student welfare
Universities Australia has released Responding to Suicide: A toolkit for Australian Universities, a resource to assist universities.

Student identifier
The Government is extending the Unique Student Identifier (USI) from vocational education and training to all higher education students. From 1 January 2021, new higher education students will need a USI to be eligible for a Commonwealth supported place and Commonwealth financial assistance and from 2023 all higher education students must have a USI to graduate.

Quality reviews
The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) has released the report Independent Experts Engaged by Providers to assist providers on selecting an independent expert to conduct a review as part of their internal quality assurance processes.

-  Canada

Academic staff - gender pay gap
Data from Statistics Canada show a continued pay gap between male and female professors at Canadian universities. This trend is across all universities in Canada except for three.

Covid 19 - new measures in universities - Quebec
The Quebec Ministry of Education and Higher Education put in place new regulations in October to reinforce health measures against the pandemic. In higher education institutions, distance education wherever possible is recommended by the Ministry.

-  Chile

The Ministry of Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation has launched a call for applications for the Cupo Explora UNESCO, a special admission initiative for higher education in scientific fields. Deadline: 5 November

-  China

Postgraduate reforms
The Ministry of Education (MOE) has issued the document Opinions on Accelerating Postgraduate Education Reforms in the New Era laying out the overarching goal of building China into a postgraduate education powerhouse by 2035. It specifies the guiding principles, strategic objectives and major measures of the postgraduate education reforms with measures proposed in the field of: assessment, discipline adjustment and development, innovation, admission, basic research funding and key and core technologies.

-  Colombia

In order to continue making progress in the safety of sanitary conditions for the process of a gradual return to the universities, the government adopted the bio-security protocol for the provision of the educational service.

-  Costa Rica

The "Study of the Character of the State University Student Population 2019" (Estudio de caracterización de la población estudiantil universitaria estatal 2019), presented by the National Council of Rectors (CONARE), shows that the main source of funding for most students enrolled in the first cycle at public universities is scholarships, followed by financial support from parents.

-  Ecuador

The government presented the higher education budget allocations to the the representatives of the University Student Federations of Ecuador. The budget for higher education institutions is comprised of resources for operations, and for enabling the institutions to provide fee-free education.

-  Egypt

Egypt’s Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, announced the experimental launch of an electronic platform that will enable distance learning at the country’s universities. The new hybrid education system has been put in place nationwide for the new academic year.

-  Ethiopia

Initiated by Samuel Urkato, the new minister of Science and Higher Education, the Higher Education and Relevance Quality Agency will undergo restructuring which is expected to enhance its autonomy and strengthen its regulatory mandate.

-  France

European Universities project
The French Rectors Association (Conférence des Présidents d’universités - CPU) has published the results of the second stage of the ‘European Universities’ project. The project was initiated in November 2019.

Sustainable universities agreement
On 29 September, the French Rectors Association - CPU and the Conférence des Grandes Ecoles - CGE - signed an agreement to promote “Sustainable Campuses in Sustainable Cities”. The organisations committed to joint actions to implement the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

-  Germany

The German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD, has requested the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs to resume visa application procedures for students from third countries, subsequent to the closure of German Embassies and visa centres.

-  Hungary

The European Court of Justice ruled on 6 October that Hungary’s law on higher education breached EU law. Provisions in the Hungarian law on higher education, which was amended in 2017, affect how foreign universities operate in the country. The law notably led to the relocation of Central European University, an IAU Member, out of the country.

-  Ireland

The Irish Universities Association (IUA) has set out details of its funding requirements in a pre-Budget submission, which says the sector is facing a combined deficit of €200m next year.

University places
Higher Education Minister Simon Harris has announced that up to 1,000 more university places may be needed in addition to approximately 6,300 new ones already created this year due to computer coding errors in grades awarded for students’ Leaving Certificates this year.

Academic staff ethnic diversity
The Higher Education Authority has announced that it will be compulsory for higher education institutions to provide an annual breakdown of the ethnic diversity among Irish academia from December this year.

-  Italy

In September, the Italian Rectors’ Association (Conferenza dei Rettori) appointed a new Secretary-General, Francesco Adornato.

-  Japan

MEXT has published a brochure providing an overview of its initiatives against the COVID-19 pandemic in the field of education. At higher education level they cover the start of classes and promoting the use of distance learning, international student exchanges and scholarships, financial support for students adversely affected.

-  Kazakhstan

The Kazakh Ministry of Education and Science has announced that Kazakh university qualifications have started to meet the standards of the Qualifications Framework of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). Kazakh students will receive a Diploma Supplement that corresponds to European qualifications starting in 2021.

-  Mozambique

The World Bank has approved a $104 million in support of skills development programmes for Higher Education (HE) subsystems and Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

-  Nigeria

The Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (AVCNU), a member of IAU, has been working with the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) on a draft IP policy for the country’s universities as they aim to create a credible copyright culture in the nation’s tertiary institutions.

-  Pakistan

As Universities were all set to gradual resumption of operations from mid September, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has posted a Strategy for Gradual Reopening of HEIs. The document outlines a reopening plan that draws on strategies adopted by universities worldwide

-  Rwanda

The Minister for Education, Dr Valentine Uwamariya, has announced that Rwandan universities and higher education institutions will reopen in mid-October, putting an end to the seven-month closure due to the pandemic.

-  South Africa

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has announced that International Students will need to be tested for Covid-19 and quarantined for 10 days when returning to South Africa.

-  Sri Lanka

Admissions to state university medical faculties have been increased by 350 reaching the highest enrolment level in history. The aim of this decision is to give more opportunities to the students while increasing the number of future doctors for the country.

-  Sweden

Data from the Swedish Council of Higher Education shows that there has been a 13% increase in international student admissions to Swedish universities. The number of international admissions has risen to 27,329 in 2020-21, up from 24,099 in 2019-20.

-  United Kingdom

New Higher Education Code of Governance
The Committee of University Chairs (CUC) has just published new guidance - The Higher Education Code of Governance, which reflects the changing landscape of HE in the UK.

Covid guidance for universities
The Department for Education has updated its guidance for universities to help universities make campuses as safe as possible for students and staff as part of their wider COVID-secure measures.

Lifelong learning
The Prime Minister has announced that all adults will be provided with a fully-funded level 3 course and a lifelong learning entitlement for four years of post-18 education.

Student welfare - Scotland
Universities Scotland have confirmed that higher education institutions in Scotland have implemented a package of ten measures they are using to support student wellbeing during the current pandemic.

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IAU Lynx September Edition
IAU Lynx July Edition
IAU Lynx June Edition

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