News
More than 180 members of the United States Congress have signed a letter urging leaders of the House of Representatives to include in the next COVID-19 relief legislation US$26 billion to cover research costs, citing the critical importance of the 560,000-strong research workforce to the economy.
New research suggests that European universities could gain significantly from the changing student flows caused by the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union. More than one in 10 international students have now been put off the UK as a study destination.
Student anger at government inaction on their demands for university tuition fee refunds – due to many classes being held online during the coronavirus pandemic – has led to a petition to the country’s Constitutional Court. The government says the issue is for universities to decide.
The new academic year for India’s universities will commence on 1 September for first-year students and 1 August for already enrolled students, instead of July for all students, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic disruption which closed universities in the country from 16 March.
A Russian university has been criticised for expelling and evicting students from campus dormitories during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown. Moscow’s Russian State Social University expelled and evicted at least 200 of its 1,568 students in mid-April, according to the student newspaper Doxa.
Leading South African social scientists are calling for greater engagement in shaping the mitigation policies being produced by the government to manage the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Against estimates that COVID-19 containment measures will result in an immediate decline in African GDP growth from 3.2% to 1.8% in 2020 – with further adverse impacts if the pandemic is not contained – universities are being challenged to consider their roles in mitigating socio-economic impacts.
As their plight has become more widely publicised, universities and states have started to act to help tens of thousands of international students who are stranded in Australia with little or no financial support in the middle of what has become a pandemic.
With a bleak employment outlook for the coronavirus cohort, Singapore’s universities are stepping up their efforts to boost employability and job prospects for their students with a generous government-backed plan of hundreds of jobs and paid traineeships for students at their own institutions.
African universities will be critical in overcoming the financial fall-out from the coronavirus crisis, and in building the resilience of African societies for future challenges, General Secretary of the Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities, Jan Palmowski, has told University World News.
Rather than assessing how to react to the immediate COVID-19 crisis, universities should be visionary in deciding where resources go and make transnational education or TNE central to international higher education in ways it hasn’t been prior to the pandemic, University UK’s International Higher Education Forum was told.
Many countries may be forced over time to introduce higher tuition fees to help pay for rebuilding after the COVID-19 economic turmoil, which could reduce a key comparative disadvantage for United Kingdom universities recruiting international students, the online forum of Universities UK International was told.
The internationalisation of Japan’s higher education has been dealt a blow as the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted universities and colleges. Hardest hit are the Japanese language schools that depend on foreign students, which will have a knock-on effect on foreign student applications at universities.
Hundreds of university and college students are stranded in different parts of India, waiting to return to their homes after the government ordered a countrywide lockdown for 21 days from 24 March and then extended it until 3 May to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Germany’s coalition government is yet to reach agreement on supporting the many thousands of students facing financial hardship because of the lockdown measures in force to tackle the coronavirus crisis.
African students in India are the subject of racial profiling and are being blamed for spreading the coronavirus. It is so bad that most of them are unable to go out and shop for essential supplies.
With campuses shut down across Australia, universities face an “economic catastrophe and massive job losses” from the COVID-19 emergency, the higher education sector says. Vice-chancellors have called on the federal government to provide millions of dollars to help them cope.
Barely a month after the country went into lockdown to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, some private-sector universities in Rwanda, citing a lack of funds, have suspended academic and administrative staff and reduced the salaries of others.
The adoption of e-learning as an innovative means to continue teaching and learning during the national lockdowns affecting many African countries has been rejected by a number of student organisations, which argue it is unaffordable, impractical and elitist.
The heads of eight publicly funded universities in Hong Kong have said they will donate a proportion of their salaries for up to a year, with some of the funds going to needy students affected by the coronavirus pandemic, universities in the city have announced.
Four university associations have written to the House of Representatives and the Senate of the United States Congress requesting a US$26 billion package to support US research, as most non COVID-19 related research has been slowed down or stopped due to pandemic-induced closures of campuses and laboratories.
Despite differences in resourcing, traditional and comprehensive public universities in South Africa, physically shuttered since 16 March owing to the nationwide lockdown, are doing their best to honour their pledge to complete the 2020 academic year, with most announcing the switch to online teaching and learning activities with effect from Monday 20 April.
The German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina has issued a statement addressing various aspects of managing the coronavirus crisis, including schools and universities. It presented its proposals two days before the federal government announced a slackening of some restrictions in day-to-day life.
A Chinese professor accused of ‘spying’ by Belgian state security, and who previously headed a now-closed Confucius Institute at a university in Brussels, has had an eight-year ban on entering Europe’s 26-country Schengen visa area lifted after a court hearing.
Universities have come out strongly against a bill introduced in the National Congress of Chile on 27 March that would suspend tuition fee payments in all higher education institutions for as long as the coronavirus crisis lasts, arguing that it would gravely damage universities and their communities.
Nobel laureates and university leaders from eight countries have published an open letter to the presidents of the European Council, European Parliament and European Commission, calling on funding for the European Research Council (ERC) and frontier research to be ringfenced in the European Union’s next long-term budget.
China is beginning to attract more students from India’s neighbouring countries than India itself, despite India’s advantages in proximity, culture and the English language in higher education, says a new Brookings report. This could reduce India’s regional soft power and higher education attractiveness.
Somalia’s universities, slowly recovering from decades of civil war, are now having to resort to online teaching to ensure the continuation of teaching and learning in an age of COVID-19.
Chinese authorities’ new directives to universities and research organisations enforcing vetting of any COVID-19 research before publication, aimed particularly at controlling the narrative on the origins of the virus, could hinder free international sharing of data and research with Chinese scientists.
African students in Guangzhou, China, have been thrown out of their homes, forcibly quarantined and refused entry into public areas as xenophobic hostility towards Africans escalates in the wake of warnings by Chinese President Xi Jinping of “new difficulties and challenges” related to a possible “second wave” of the pandemic.
Some 40% of potential international students are considering changing their study abroad plans, up from 31% three weeks ago, as more countries introduce tighter lockdowns to tackle the spread and rising death toll from the coronavirus, a new survey by Studyportals shows.
Universities UK has called on the government to provide billions of pounds of extra funding and flexibilities in the visa system for international students to enable the higher education sector to weather the battering it has taken from the coronavirus pandemic.
The president of the European Research Council or ERC, Mauro Ferrari, has resigned after failing to win support for a special programme of research aimed at combating the COVID-19 virus but which contravened the ERC’s role in funding independent ‘bottom-up’ research.
The sharp spread of the coronavirus pandemic and a shortage of doctors in Pakistan has led government to call in students of medical universities to work with doctors at hospitals and quarantine centres weeks after universities were shut down and hostels converted into quarantine facilities.
India has not taken a decision about whether to fast-track final-year medical students through their exams. Medical and nursing students could join the battle against the deadly virus, as the authorities are mulling different alternatives to provide strategic protection to senior doctors.
As the Australian federal government tells temporary visa holders to go home to avoid the effects of the coronavirus, its spread is threatening one of the nation’s biggest sources of income: the expected AU$50 billion (US$31 billion) in fees and living costs paid by international students.
Kenya’s shuttered universities face the twin challenge of rolling out online learning for thousands of students and finding money to pay salaries and meet their financial obligations at a time when major revenue streams are shut.
Egyptian students currently based in Northern Cyprus may soon be reunited with their families following an initiative by the government of Egypt to repatriate an estimated 10 million of its citizens who are either working or studying abroad.
The government of North Rhine-Westphalia has launched a new research project on the coronavirus pandemic with the University of Bonn and the administrative district of Heinsberg, where the disease first broke out in Germany, to formulate disease prevention measures for Germany and Europe.
The latest survey results on studying without an Abitur, the German higher secondary education qualification, show a record number of professionals enrolling in universities in 2018, evidence that it has become easier to move between the vocational and higher education sectors in Germany.
Japan’s response to its coronavirus pandemic has become increasingly dependent on health experts working under a special government-appointed COVID-19 taskforce and they are urging urgent action. But they are struggling to break down resistance from politicians wary of radical measures.
The Zimbabwe government has made available an initial ZW$33 million (U$S1.3 million, according to the official exchange rate) in seed capital to state universities to make personal protective equipment to ameliorate a national shortage of the materials needed to fight the coronavirus.
Students at two Chilean universities – Universidad de Chile and Universidad San Sebastián – took the unheard of step of going on online strike in protest at inequalities deepening with the shift of all higher education institutions to long distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Universities in South Africa have committed themselves to completing the 2020 academic year and are working with three possible scenarios in the uncertain terrain presented by the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic.
China’s high stakes college entrance examination known as the gaokao, normally held in June, is being postponed for one month until 7-8 July, with knock-on effects on the admissions process. South Korea’s national college entrance exam has been delayed by a fortnight.
Acting on the initiative of Berlin’s Charité clinic, the German government is to provide money to support a national network of medical research at universities to share data, expertise and experience to improve the effectiveness of the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
International students based in Northern Cyprus, many of whom are African, are receiving food aid packages and meals from support groups and non-governmental organisations that have teamed up with local municipalities and businesses to ensure they have enough to sustain them until the national lockdown due to COVID-19 is suspended.
With the global COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic disrupting learning and other activities, Amnesty International has called on the Ethiopian authorities to disclose measures it has taken to rescue the 17 Amhara students from Dambi Dollo University in Western Oromia who were abducted by unknown people in November 2019 and who are still missing.
Norwegian student representatives were angry that the government offered to support students who have been laid off from their part-time jobs due to the current coronavirus pandemic with a loan, not a grant. Now the government has made a partial concession.
The coronavirus pandemic is disrupting international academic conferences across the globe. But while many have been cancelled for this year, others have converted into online events and some organisers and participants are hoping the virtual format paves the way for a new normal.
The coronavirus crisis offers global universities a real chance to get to grips with their addiction to flying staff around the world and encouraging other people to fly, an Australian-based climate change activist told the UK’s International Higher Education Forum held online this week.
As coronavirus containment measures spread in South Asia, universities in countries such as India, Pakistan and Afghanistan are finding they are ill-prepared for online learning or remote classes as their campuses close and their students return home, sometimes to remote areas without internet or proper facilities to continue classes.
COVID-19 will change how universities operate, teach and do research, Professor Sir Steve Smith told Universities UK’s International Higher Education Forum 2020 or IHEF, which moved online this week. He warned that international recruitment could be hit significantly and international provision would have to diversify.
In preparation for lockdown to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, New Zealand’s secretary for education has been given the power to direct all public and private education providers to open and close, control how they operate and order them to switch to distance or online learning.
Major international examinations normally taken by the most internationally mobile students, such as the International Baccalaureate and international A levels, and national school-leaving exams in many countries have been suspended due to the school closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The German Rectors’ Conference, the German Academic Exchange Service and the German National Association for Student Affairs have come up with new proposals to help students avoid financial hardship during the coronavirus crisis due to restricted work opportunities and disadvantages in taking exams and accumulating credits.
More than 230,000 university students will receive increased welfare payments under a AU$66 billion (US$40 billion) ‘coronavirus stimulus package’ announced by the Australian federal government, which is part of the government’s efforts to counter the effects of the spread of the coronavirus, now affecting tens of thousands of Australians.
Hundreds of Indian students have been stranded in Italy, Malaysia, the United Kingdom, United States and the Philippines amid lockdowns and travel disruptions due to the fast-spreading COVID-19 pandemic. The Indian government says it is trying to bring them back, but parents want faster action.
Universities, research institutions and funding agencies in the Nordic countries have moved rapidly to launch COVID-19 research projects to help address the pandemic. And at Stockholm University chemists are working intensively to help provide sanitising equipment to the hospitals.
Universities UK has moved its flagship International Higher Education Forum online, to be delivered via webinars, following government advice to end all non-essential travel and avoid large gatherings of people to slow down the spread of the coronavirus.
The presidents of Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University have issued a joint plea to all higher education institutions and all other organisations across America to follow their example and take drastic action to address the threat of the coronavirus pandemic.
Northern Cyprus’s 35,000 international students, an estimated 20,000 of whom come from Africa, are finding it even harder than usual to make ends meet as a result of the measures taken by the government to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.
After the Pakistan government this week closed universities for three weeks, the Punjab provincial government ordered the clearing of university hostel accommodation to redeploy them as quarantine centres for suspected coronavirus patients. But foreign students stranded on campus fear this puts them at risk.
The Association of African Universities has called upon universities in Africa to move “urgently” to implement alternative methods of delivering teaching and learning using technology and other distance learning techniques in the wake of the closures of higher education institutions to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Countries across South and Southeast Asia have in quick succession announced the closure of their schools and universities for a minimum of two weeks in order to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus which has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. But authorities in many of the countries acknowledge that closures could last much longer.
Universities in Germany have postponed the start of the summer semester as part of the country’s efforts to stem the coronavirus pandemic. The crisis is having a severe impact on academic exchange, due to border closures and reduced airline services.
Many foreign students on shuttered university campuses in Britain, the United States and elsewhere are being told to return home and are rushing to secure flights before travel shutdowns, contributing to a new spike in coronavirus cases in Hong Kong and perhaps Singapore.
Ten North African and 12 Arab countries are to benefit from an e-learning initiative that will facilitate open and online education during the coronavirus crisis that has led to the closure of most universities and educational institutions.
Fears of the coronavirus have forced students from China enrolled in Australian universities to try overcoming a ban on them returning to class by first travelling via a third country. More than 1.73 million are enrolled in Australian universities.
In further measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, all universities and post-school institutions in South Africa are to close for early recess today, 18 March, according to a statement by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology.
Face-to-face learning in all universities in Kenya will be suspended over the coronavirus disease from 20 March until further notice. The shutdown of universities, schools and other learning institutions across the country was ordered by President Uhuru Kenyatta on 16 March.
Responding to the spread of the coronavirus infection, the Australian federal government has imposed a ban on meetings being called if 500 or more people are likely to attend. But the government said ‘essential gatherings’ such as university classes would be exempt.
Both Ghana and Senegal have closed universities and schools in a bid to contain the outbreak of COVID-19. Following the closure of the universities, Ghana's President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has directed that the ministry of education in collaboration with the ministry of communications should roll out open learning programmes.
Rwanda’s government on Saturday 14 March ordered the closure of all universities and higher learning institutions for an initial period of two weeks in efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus after the Ministry of Health confirmed the first case of coronavirus.
Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania and Sudan have followed Algeria in closing universities temporarily as part of wider efforts to halt the communal spread of the coronavirus in North Africa.
The Institute of Latin American Studies at Sweden’s Stockholm University has been given Nordic status in the hope of creating a platform for Nordic collaboration in Latin American studies and to serve as a bridge between Latin-American, Nordic and other universities globally with a Latin American focus.
The British Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced the ‘largest and fastest increase in spend ever’ in research and development in his budget speech on Wednesday, a surprise move that has been described as a ‘game changer’ for science by the Russell Group of leading research universities.
France, Ireland and Norway on Thursday joined a quickly lengthening list of European countries announcing mass closures of universities as part of a wider effort to halt the communal spread of the coronavirus, but the United Kingdom is so far holding out, saying it is too early.
Three foreign students have been asked to leave India for allegedly taking part in rallies against India’s contentious new citizenship law, which has sparked protests across the country. The move has made many foreign students fearful and could deter others from studying in India.
The University of Tasmania has been forced to slash three out of every four of the degree courses it had planned to offer this year as the university struggles with financial challenges resulting from travel restrictions on students from China due to the coronavirus epidemic.
The government of Austria has decided to suspend all in-person university lectures and seminars until early April, in a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus. The country’s 380,000 students will have to rely on distance learning, using online lectures and learning materials.
Internet shutdowns are increasing in Africa, raising a number of concerns about freedom of expression as well as the impact on the performance of national and regional virtual universities. This was one of the findings in a recently released report published by digital rights advocacy group Access Now.
Tertiary education in Sub-Saharan Africa is confronting probably the biggest challenge it will ever face: building up the human capital of a skyrocketing youth population, according to Lucy Heady, knowledge director for Education Sub Saharan Africa.
Iran, which has had a high incidence of the coronavirus COVID-19, has found it spread outwards from the city of Qom which has many religious seminaries, mostly run by the state, and many international students and pilgrims, to neighbouring Pakistan, Afghanistan and even India.
Academic groups have welcomed the decision by Malaysia’s new prime minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, to split the existing unwieldly education ministry into two: a higher education ministry under a new minister, Noraini Ahmad, and a separate education ministry overseeing the primary and secondary sectors.
In the drive for sustainable development, business as usual is not an option. Universities will have to fundamentally question their business models and look at how they support change in our society, a conference hosted in Barcelona by the Global University Network for Innovation was told.
The training of senior medical students at the University of Zimbabwe’s College of Health Sciences has been plunged into disarray and stakeholders fear that a protracted standoff with students could severely destabilise the country’s already ailing health system.
Higher learning institutions in Africa have been called upon to take up a leadership role in ensuring the continent achieves the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs by 2030.