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IAU Lynx September 2019


September 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.



Progress for SDG 4 - Paris Outcome Statement
The Paris Outcome Statement is the result of the meeting of the Global Multilateral Education Partners at UNESCO in Paris, on 4 July. Entitled ’Jointly Accelerating Progress for SDG 4’, endorsing organisations committed to maintaining strategic dialogue through a joint action platform, supporting the establishment of the SDG global education forum, and aligning their work on defined priorities to accelerate progress towards SDG 4.

Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Action - report published
The Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) met in Ha Noi, Vietnam, from 4 to 5 July, for a final annual meeting of the GAP Partner Networks under the theme: ’Lessons learned from five years of the GAP’. The findings of the 2015-2018 GAP review are presented in the report Education for Sustainable Development: Partners in Action.

Refugees’ qualifications
In June, the inception meeting of UNESCO Qualifications Passport for Refugees and Vulnerable Migrants project was organised by the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT), in Oslo, Norway. It aims to build up a global Qualification Recognition in reaction to the increasing global population mobility and to protect the rights of refugees.

MOOCs in India
A new UNESCO report Massive Open Online Courses: the Emerging Landscape of Digital learning in India reviews major initiatives undertaken by Indian authorities to facilitate lifelong learning for teachers, students, and those in employment. The report covers e-Learning programmes, draws lessons from India’s first generation of online learners and provides recommendations for educational planners.

UNESCO Bangkok - Self-assessment for blended learning
UNESCO Bangkok has developed a new online self-assessment tool for higher education institutions to enhance their understanding of blended learning and promote the quality of higher education in the Asia-Pacific.

Social responsibility book - call for contributions
The UNESCO Chair in Community Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education is editing a book entitled Social Responsibility and Higher Education: International Perspectives on Knowledge Democracy. The book is being prepared as a contribution to the 2021 UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education.
Deadline for expressions of interest: 31 October.

- United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
The United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, has released a report on refugee education worldwide. Entitled ‘Stepping Up: Refugee Education in Crisis’, the report covers all levels of education. One chapter is devoted to access for refugees to higher education, which has increased from 1% in previous years to 3% in 2018, a total of 87,833 higher education refugee students worldwide. The report examines the barriers refugees face in attaining higher education, including qualifications, language and cost and access to a quality secondary education and looks at ways to overcome these to meet UNHCR’s target of 15% of the eligible refugee population in higher education by 2030.

- Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie
AUF and the Francophone Network of Quality Agencies for Higher Education (FrAQ-Sup) have released the results of a survey of external quality assurance practices and needs at 909 higher education and research institutions worldwide. The results will help develop the actions of the AUF and its partners to improve university governance in the French-speaking world.

- Commonwealth of Learning

The Commonwealth Education Report 2019 has been published by the Commonwealth of Learning. The report brings together perspectives from over 50 world experts on education and lifelong learning to address some of the Commonwealth’s education challenges and opportunities. The report has a special focus on Africa.

- Council of Europe
The Declaration adopted by participants at the Global Forum on Academic Freedom, Institutional Autonomy, and the Future of Democracy held at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg in June is now available. The Declaration emphasises the role of higher education in supporting academic freedom, warns against threats to academic freedom and calls on higher education institutions to commit to social responsibility and to protecting academic freedom within their institution. The event was co-organised by the Council of Europe; the International Consortium for Higher Education, Civic Responsibility and Democracy; the Organization of American States; the Magna Charta Observatory; and the International Association of Universities.

The OECD has released Benchmarking Higher Education System Performance. The report is based on a benchmarking review of higher education systems for all OECD countries. It also reviews indicators, policies and practices for four jurisdictions that elected to participate in a deeper benchmarking exercise: Estonia, the Flemish Community of Belgium, the Netherlands and Norway.

- World Bank
The World Bank has released a new report on higher education in Kenya. Entitled ‘Improving Higher Education Performance in Kenya’ the report examines financing and funding, access, evaluation, qualifications and technology.

- Royal Netherlands Academy for Arts and Sciences
The Royal Netherlands Academy for Arts and Sciences has launched a call for submissions for the International Heineken Prizes 2020 in research. Five prizes, each of USD 200,000, are to be awarded in Biochemistry and Biophysics, Cognitive Science, Environmental Sciences, History and Medicine. The prizes are offered by the Alfred Heineken Fondsen Foundation and are intended for scientists and scholars currently active in their field and whose research still holds considerable promise for future innovative discoveries.
Nominations should be submitted before 15 October 2019.

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Africa - Americas - Arab States - Asia - Europe

- Africa

African Union Development Agency

New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) has become the African Union Development Agency. NEPAD was created in 2001 to provide a vision and policy framework for accelerating economic cooperation and integration among African countries. Its transformation into AUDA-NEPAD was one of the main initiatives submitted in 2018 to the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union. These decisions were endorsed at the 35th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the AU, in Niamey, Niger in July 2019.

Association of African Universities

The North America Office of the Association of African Universities (AAU), an IAU Member, is to be inaugurated on 1 October 2019 in Washington DC. The AAU hopes the Office will help promote relations and academic collaborations between universities in North America and their African counterparts.

- Americas

International Conference of States

On 13 July, the Latin America and Caribbean region at the International Conference of States (CIE), convened by UNESCO in Buenos Aires, adopted a new Regional Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Diplomas and Degrees in Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean – the Buenos Aires Recognition Convention. 13 Member States from the region signed the Convention which will support academic and student mobility, strengthen the recognition of qualifications across the region, and inter-university cooperation.

UNESCO Regional Office for Sciences - CONICYT

From 17 to 19 July in Santiago del Chile, the Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Program (STI) of the UNESCO Regional Office for Sciences in Latin America and the Caribbean, together with CONICYT and the Equality Policy Division of the Ministry of Women and Gender Equality of Chile organised a workshop on the SAGA Project, that aims to reduce the gender gap in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

- Asia

Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Regional Centre for Higher Education and Development (SEAMEO RIHED)

The 4th Strategic Dialogue of Education Ministers was held during the 50th SEAMEO Council Conference on 24 July. It focused on issues related to inclusive education, discussed new opportunities and challenges, the critical role of technology in education and provided directions for SEAMEO towards its post-2020 Strategic Plan.

SEAMEO has posted presentations from the International Conference on Leadership and Management in Higher Education: Driving Change with Global Trends’ it coorganised in July in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Sessions addressed included institutional autonomy; quality assurance and accreditation in higher education; Enhancing graduate employability; Industry 4.0 and higher education.

- Europe

University associations’ academic freedom statement

University organisations in Germany, Austria and Poland, - the Hoschulrektorenkonferenz (HRK), Universities Austria and the Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland - addressed a joint Statement in July to the Hungarian government expressing their concerns about the Hungarian parliament’s recent legislation to reorganise the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, which is expected to take effect in September. The Statement urges the Hungarian Government to withdraw the bill and to uphold and guarantee the academic autonomy of Hungarian academic organisations and institutions.

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Australia - Uzbekistan
The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) and the Republic of Uzbekistan State Inspectorate for Supervision of Quality in Education have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate in joint research activities and publications, supporting staff exchange, and exchanging educational research, information and expertise.

Belaurus - Egypt
On 24 August, the Belarus Ambassador to Egypt met with the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Egypt Khaled, Attef Abd El-Ghafar to discuss Belarusian-Egyptian cooperation in higher education in the context of the official visit of the President of Egypt to the Republic of Belarus in June 2019. Special attention was paid to deepening inter-university cooperation and enhancing student mobility.

Japan - United Kingdom
The UK-Japan University Dialogue 2019 was held in the UK on June 12 -14. Presentations are now available. The programme aimed to promote further cooperation in higher education in the UK and Japan. Sessions addressed institutional governance for universities, the research landscape in universities, and student mobility.

Philippines - China
On 29 August, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) of the Philippines and the Ministry of Education (MOE) of China signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to fast track bilateral cooperation in higher education. The MOU includes mutual recognition of degrees and institutions, faculty and student exchanges through scholarships and the establishment of a credit transfer arrangement;

South Africa - Cuba
In August, the South African Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Blade Nzimande, met with Cuban Ambassador Rodolfo Benitez and discussed the importance of boosting bilateral cooperation in higher education.

South Africa - India
South Africa’s Deputy Minister for Higher Education Mr. Buti Kgwaridi Manamela, met with India’s Minister of State (MoS) for Human Resource Development, Shri Sanjay Dhotre, on 26 August in New Delhi. They discussed the agreement on cooperation in Higher Education including mutual recognition of academic qualifications.

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Argentina Australia Brazil Canada
Chile Colombia Cyprus Estonia
Ethiopia France Germany Hungary
India Ireland Japan Kenya
Madagascar Pakistan Philippines Singapore
Spain Turkey Uganda United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom United States of America Venezuela Zimbabwe

-  Argentina

More than 30 rectors and university authorities presented the National Connectivity Project to the National Communications Authority (Ente Nacional de Comunicaciones-ENACOM) on 27 June. The initiative seeks to eliminate the existing digital gap among Argentine universities and with other countries in the region.

-  Australia

Creation of University Foreign Interference Taskforce
On 28 August, Minister for Education Dan Tehan, announced that the government will establish a University Foreign Interference Taskforce to provide better protection for universities. It will include representatives from universities, national security organisations and the Department of Education. Its work will focus on cyber security; research and intellectual property; foreign collaboration; culture and communication.
A framework for the development of principles-based guidelines to counter foreign interference in the Australian university sector has also been released.

Regional universities - Destination Australia Programme
The Minister for Education has launched the Destination Australia Programme which aims to attract and support international and domestic students to study in regional Australia. Higher education providers can apply for funding to administer and promote scholarships for Australian and international students who live and study in regional Australia.

Risks assessment
The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) has released the report Key Risk Findings on Australia’s Higher Education Sector which examines the performance of the sector and identifies areas for development among universities and other higher education institutions. It focuses on risks to students and risks to financial position.

Admissions processes guidance
TEQSA has also released the report Good Practice Note: Making Higher Education Admissions Transparent for Prospective Students that presents practical advice to assist providers in making the processes for admission to higher education institutions transparent for prospective students.

Higher education update
Universities Australia has released Higher Education Facts and Figures, its bi-annual updated snapshot of the Australia’s higher education system. Chapters address: funding and university finance, students; science, research and innovation; international rankings; university workforce; indigenous students and staff.

-  Brazil

In July, the Brazilian National Research and Educational Network (Rede Nacional de Ensino e Pesquisa – RNP) announced that new high-performance connectivity between Brazil and the United States has been activated for teaching and research purposes.

-  Canada

New internationalization strategy
In August, the government announced a new internationalisation strategy entitled ‘Building on Success: Canada’s International Education Strategy (2019-2024)’. The plan commits CAN$148 million (100.5 million Euros) over five years to international education initiatives, followed by a further CAN $8 million (5.4 million Euros) per year of ongoing funding. The priority areas for the new strategy are diversifying source markets for Canadian institutions and encouraging more Canadians to go abroad to study.

Funding for preventing gender-based violence
On 29 August, the Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality, announced that CAN $1.5 million (1 million Euros) would be allocated to support post-secondary institutions in preventing and addressing gender based violence on their campuses. The funding announcement was made at the launch of the ‘Courage to Act’ report about addressing and preventing gender-based violence at post-secondary institutions across Canada.

-  Chile

Bill passed to respond to sexual harassment at universities
On 20 August, Chile’s Senate approved a bill requiring state-supported institutions of higher education to create detailed protocols to respond to sexual harassment. The bill will now move to the Chamber of Deputies before becoming law.

Violence within universities - Council of Rectors response
On 20 August, theChili Universities Council of Rectors (Consejo de Rectores de las Universidades Chilenas-CRUCH) officially condemned violent behavior within universities, following the acts of violence that took place in the last few months.

-  Colombia

On 8 August, the Ministry of Education met the Management Commission of the National Decennial Education Plan 2016-2026 to define the guidelines that will be implemented in Colombia. The Plan includes the incorporation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly for SDG4 on education.

-  Cyprus

The government has approved several measures for universities in Cyprus. By amending Article 8 of the Private Universities Law, the state now allows private universities to determine their own tuition fees, however a Ministry of Education decree of 7 June, has set a 2.1% control rate on tuition fee increases by private universities. Tax incentives for private universities, and in some cases exemption from VAT, have also been introduced. Private universities will also be obliged to classify themselves as Research Organizations. Another new incentive is the permission granted to third-country students to work part-time for up to 20 hours.

-  Estonia

A new Higher Education Act enters into force in Estonia in September under which students starting professional higher education will for the first time receive a bachelor’s degree at the end of their studies. Under the new Higher Education Act, the same requirements apply to professional and academic higher education.

-  Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s Ministry of Education announced in August the reintroduction of the 6-2-4 education system: six years of primary schooling, followed by two years of junior high and four years of high school. The national examination that has been given at grade 10 will be canceled in the coming academic year and the higher education entry exam will be given at grade 12.

-  France

The Ministry for Higher Education, Research and Innovation has announced several measures for the academic year 2019-2020 including the freezing of enrolment fees for students and an increase in the amount of student grants by 1%.

-  Germany

On 19 July, the German Council of Science and Humanities and the German Research Foundation announced the results of the first call of the funding for ‘Universities of Excellence’ of the German Excellence Strategy. Ten universities and one university consortium of Excellence were selected to receive permanent institutional funding as well as the title of universities of excellence.

-  Hungary

The Prime Minister’s Office has announced that from September, the Innovation and Technology Ministry headed by László Palkovics will take over the management of higher education.

-  India

Educational quality - "Paramarsh" programme
The Ministry has launched the “Paramarsh” programme expected to improve the quality of Indian Higher Education by selecting top universities to mentor higher education institutions to upgrade their academic performance and enable them to become accredited by 2022. Areas of focus will include: curriculum, teaching-learning and evaluation, research, innovation, institutional values and practices. The University Grants Commission (UGC) has released guidelines for implementing the
- UGC Scheme for Mentoring NAAC Accreditation Aspirant Institutions to Promote Quality Assurance in Higher Education.

Research and innvoation - Vice Chancellors’ resolution
Vice-Chancellors gathered at a conference on Research & Innovation in Higher Education in July where they committed to improving the quality of teaching learning process and adopted a 10-point resolution for transforming Universities into institutions engaged in cutting edge research.

Promoting regional languages
The Ministry has posted a recap on various steps taken to promote regional languages in Higher Education such as university text books, translation and publications.

-  Ireland

The National Report on Student Mental Health in Third Level Education by the Union of Students in Ireland was launched by Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor in August. Funded by the Health Service Executive, the report surveyed 3,340 students on their experiences with mental health and mental health services and found that 32% of respondents reported that they had received a formal diagnosis of a mental health difficulty.

-  Japan

The National Information Center for Academic Recognition is to be established in September. In accordance with the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Regional Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications in Higher Education (known as the Tokyo Convention). It will provide information on education systems and institutions to facilitate recognition of higher education qualifications and mobility between Japan, the Asia-Pacific, and worldwide.

-  Kenya

The Vice-Chancellors Committee of Public Universities in Kenya has released a report recommending several higher education reforms, including increasing tuition fees, a new categorisation of universities into academic specialisations, outsourcing of ‘non-core’ functions and linking government funding to student numbers.

-  Madagascar

In July, the Prime Minister announced the appointment of Blanche Nirina Richard as new Minister of Higher Education and Research, replacing Rejo Fienena.

-  Pakistan

The Higher Education Commission has announced that two-year BA/ BSc degree programmes will be phased out and replaced with Associate Degrees. Admissions after 2018 will be awarded the Associate Degree.

-  Philippines

New higher education law
A new law has been passed authorising higher education curriculum development and graduate training in advanced energy and green building technologies. Under the ‘Advanced Energy and Green Building Technologies Curriculum Act’, the Commission on Higher Education, with the help of the Department of Energy, must develop a curriculum on advanced energy and green-building technologies at the undergraduate and graduate levels. State universities and colleges will also be required to submit development and infrastructure plans for the management of land resources.

Expansion of free higher education policy
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has announced that to increase access to higher education an additional 27 local universities and colleges (LUCs) will be covered by the free higher education policy, starting from this academic year.

-  Singapore

The Ministry of Education has announced three new initiatives aimed at ensuring that higher education remains affordable, including increased government bursaries and lower tuition fees.

- Spain

Crue Universidades Españolas, the Spanish universities association, an IAU Member, together with the Universitat Jaume I of Castellón and the CYD Foundation, organised the Seminar ‘The Ibero-American Space of Knowledge: University contributions to an advanced and sustainable economy in the region’ on 15 and 16 July. Videos of presentations are now available.

- Turkey

The Turkish Higher Education Council has released the Turkish Foundation Universities Annual Report. The report includes academic, administrative and financial data of foundation higher education institutions in Turkey.
(in Turkish)

- Uganda

The Parliament of Uganda has approved the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Support Project. Under the project, the government will borrow up to US$45 million (40.6 million Euros) from the Islamic Development Bank for the renovation of technical institutes in the country.

- United Arab Emirates

According to data released from the Statistics Centre-Abu Dhabi, the number of female students enrolled in higher education in Abu Dhabi has increased annually by 8.2 percent in the past ten years. In the 2016-2017 academic year 49.8 percent were female students.

- United Kingdom

International students - Student visas
Universities UK, Guild HE, MillionPlus, the Russell Group, University Alliance and UKCISA have jointly produced a briefing document for the government calling for reform to the student visa system for international students.

New Prime Minister - Universities UK requests
Universities UK has called upon the new Prime Minister to maintain the success of universities in the UK by supporting improved post-study work visas and by guaranteeing replacement funding if tuition fees are cut.

Brexit and student demand
The Higher Education Policy Institute has published a new report looking at the impact of Brexit on student demand.

Access - care experienced students (Scotland)
As part of a commitment to increase university admission to underrepresented groups, Scotland’s higher education institutions have announced that from 2020 care experienced applicants who meet minimum entry requirements will be guaranteed an offer of an undergraduate place at university.

Academic mobility
Research from the Russell Group of universities shows more EU academics leaving UK universities between 2015/16 and 2016/17 and a slowing in growth of those arriving from overseas since 2014/15.

- United States of America

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) recently released ‘Innovation in Accreditation and Higher Education: Accrediting Organizations Describe Their Engagement’. This research report provides a comprehensive look at U.S. recognised accrediting organizations and how they address the challenge of innovation with quality in higher education.

- Venezuela

The Supreme Court of Justice of Venezuela issued a ruling on 27 August that obliges all national universities to hold elections of their leadership within six months.

- Zimbabwe

The Government has announced that it has allocated Zimbabwe $40 million towards a revolving education loan fund for access by students from State universities. This follows an announcement of the reintroduction of student loans for students in State universities.

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IAU Lynx July 2019
IAU Lynx June 2019
IAU Lynx May 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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