Response to Covid-19
A Joint Statement of Principles for the Higher Education Sector COVID-19 Response has been issued by tertiary education-related organisations to provide guidance for the higher education sector to mitigate and minimise the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic while ensuring community expectations for public health and safety are met.
eSafety and Universities Australia (UA) have made available a Toolkit for Universities that contains 14 resources offering targeted advice to help universities, academics and other teaching staff, students be safer online by building greater awareness of online safety risks, providing guidance on how to prevent, prepare for and respond to online safety incidents, supporting student and staff wellbeing.
Applications are open for the Destination Australia grants for 2021 scholarships launched last year to encourage domestic and international students to study in regional Australia. Next year’s programme will help regional and remote Australian education providers and communities to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) is putting online video recordings of a webinar series entitled “Going online: R(e)imagining teaching and learning”meant to discuss how to make online learning work best for institutions, workforce and students. Topics covered so far were: best practice for establishing online learning; Enabling staff to work in an online learning environment; Assessment integrity; Designing curriculum for an online environment.
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) of Japan, through the Embassy of Japan in Barbados, is offering scholarships to Barbadians who wish to study at universities in Japan as Research Students.
The Council of Rectors of Chilean Universities issued a public statement analyzing the situation of universities in the context of the health emergency by Covid-19. It noted the investment of resources and the difficulties and limitations arising from this scenario, which have had a strong impact on the financial status of the institutions.
Recruiting rural students
The Ministry of Education has adopted a comprehensive action plan aimed at key universities and colleges to recruit students from rural and poverty-stricken areas in 2020. They were asked to develop targeted recruitment campaigns, provide consulting services to student applicants, and ensure that suitable frameworks to receive these students on undergraduate programs were in place.
Two Global Online Learning Platforms – namely “XuetangX”(www.xuetangx.com) and “iCourse International” (www.icourse163.com)’ – have been launched with support of the Ministry of Education of China and Chinese National Commission for UNESCO in order to support learning worldwide during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Information on regulations
The Colombian Association of Universities, in response to the health emergency declared by the National Government, and the issuance of regulations aimed at mitigating the COVID-19, compiles and concentrates the national regulatory provisions with impact on the higher education sector and facilitate their consultation to partner institutions.
Examinations and quality assurance
During the II International Forum on Quality Assurance in Higher Education, organized by the Ministry of National Education, the Director General of the Colombian Institute for the Evaluation of Education – Icfes, stated that the taking place of the State Tests in the current circumstances is fundamental not only because of the benefits they represent for the students but for the society in general.
The National Council of Rectors (CONARE) and the public universities will contribute a total of sixteen thousand thirty million colones for the attention of the COVID-19 emergency, distributed to the solidarity fund of the Government of the Republic for the COVID-19 emergency and additionally to scholarship programmes and other assistance to students affected by the economic situation.
In line with the growing demand for online education caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Higher Education Relevance and Quality Agency (HERQA) has prepared a draft directive to govern the tertiary-level online education system in Ethiopia, The directive, which was issued in April, states that the content of an online education should be secular, and free from any influence of political and religious views.
Universities in Estonia have said they face funding shortfalls of several million euros if foreign students from third countries are barred from entering the country this autumn, as suggested by the Ministry of the Interior.
Germany’s Upper House, the Bundesrat, has endorsed a number of measures adopted by the federal parliament to facilitate academic activities in the coronavirus crisis, although it strongly urges the government to do more to back students facing hardship. Meanwhile, the German Rectors’ Conference is warning against any hasty reopening of institutions.
Academic staff recruitment
Dr Mathew Opoku-Prempeh, the Minister of Education said the government has given financial clearance for over 6,178 staff to be recruited into the tertiary institutions in the country.
Gender and enrolment
The government’s agenda to achieve a 50:50 ratio of male to female enrolment is still not achieved according to an analysis, as male enrolment constitutes 58 percent of total enrolment in tertiary institutions across the country.
In response to the COVID-19 epidemic and its evolving global impact, theUniversity Grants Committee (UGC) and the Research Grants Council (RGC) have allocated an additional $250 million under the Collaborative Research Fund and the Theme-based Research Scheme (TRS) to support the UGC-funded sector in conducting research related to COVID-19 and other novel infectious diseases (NIDs).
UGC-funded universities can apply until 17 July.
The Ministry of Human resources Development through the National Digital Library of India (NDLI) has created a special collection called “Corona Outbreak: Study from Home” which contains both academic and research material to enable students and faculty to have continued access to content during the Pandemic Lockdown. A Consolidated Covid-19 Research Resources Repository has also been released.
Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank has announced that exams will be held for final year students of universities across the country, others will be promoted based on their internal marks and previous year’s result.
Most universities and third-level colleges are returning rent fees to students, while also facing a €500 million funding gap because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
All educational institutions will remain closed until the end of September 2020. schools will continue to operate using the distance learning to ensure the continuation of the teaching and learning process.
Most public universities have cancelled or postponed their end of semester examinations. In contrast, private institutions are going ahead to give online examinations without disrupting their academic calendars.
The Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) has made available online presentations and a video recording of the webinar “Entering the new realm of international Higher education”, which took place on May 14 by the Higher Education Leadership Academy (AKEPT) and the Ministry of Higher Education. It discussed the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on international higher education and how universities are reacting to the situation.
The Dutch universities association, VSNU, have released ‘Universities in times of corona: How Dutch universities are Working Together and Offering Solutions during the Corona Crisis’.
Technology access funding
The Government has announced $20 million technology access fund for tertiary learners to help eligible tertiary learners continue their education disrupted by COVID-19 by making digital devices and internet connections available to them.
Qualifications and employment
Education Counts has released two reports:
Qualification level match and mismatch in New Zealand, Analysis from the Survey of Adult Skills looks into who experienced qualification level mismatch in New Zealand, what kinds of jobs they were in, how mismatch varies by qualification level and how it relates to skills and wages.
Impacts of the Global Financial Crisis on earnings of tertiary graduates in New Zealand, looks at the impacts the 2007 Global Financial Crisis had on the earnings of tertiary education graduates in New Zealand, and explores the extent to which these impacts may still be being felt by those impacted.
The federal government has approved the dissolution of the governing councils of two universities in the country.The universities are the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, and the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, in Delta State.
Vice-Ministerial Resolution No. 099-2020-MINEDU authorizes the accredited personnel of each educational institution to enter their university premises to perform tasks that facilitate the provision of educational services, provided that these cannot be performed remotely.
The Ministry of Education (Minedu) approved a regulation (No. 097-2020-MINEDU) establishing provisions for the remote work of teacher to ensure the development of the educational service in public educational institutions and programmes during COVID-19.
South Africa’s Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Dr Blade Nzimande announced that higher education institutions would gradually be reopened from 1 June.
The government body, the Office for Students, has said that Students applying for university places in England must be told with “absolute clarity” how courses will be taught – before they make choices for the autumn.
Universities are redesigning campuses for social distancing and are planning to put students into ‘bubbles’ of small groups of students to limit mixing.
The Institute of International Education (IIE) has released the results of the second survey in the COVID-19 Snapshot Survey Series about the effects of COVID-19 on U.S. higher education institutions in three areas: Campus life, International students, and U.S. students studying abroad.
The US Department of Education (USDE) is increasing regulatory flexibility with the extension of accreditation waivers following the impact of COVID-19. In effect, accrediting organizations will be permitted to conduct virtual site visits, and institutions will continue offering distance learning to meet students’ needs.
In the wake of COVID-19, the American Council on Education (ACE) and other higher education associations released a statement to policymakers requesting an expansion of federal stimulus-response programs to higher education institutions left out of initial federal economic relief.
The Uruguayan government approved a new schedule for the resumption of university teaching activities in public and private education, as well as a set of measures to be implemented gradually and immediately in order to reactivate the academic year. With the exception of universities in Montevideo and the metropolitan area, which will be able to resume classes as of 29 June, the rest of the country’s tertiary education centres will be able to resume classes as of 15 June.