World Round-up
Two locally designed and manufactured robots that may help to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have been deployed at the makeshift Pyaunggyi COVID-19 medical centre on the outskirts of Yangon in Myanmar, writes Zaw Zaw Htwe for The Irrawaddy.
Armenia’s Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport Arayik Harutyunyan has announced that the country will not reopen schools and universities by the end of the current academic year, writes Siranush Ghazanchyan for Public Radio of Armenia.
With the school year ravaged by COVID-19 induced school closures across Vietnam, the all-important high school examinations are set for a slight shake-up, but universities want to stand pat, reports Vietnam News Agency.
The University of Oxford has agreed to halt all investment in fossil fuels following months of campaigning and prominent protests that saw students occupy St John’s College in January, writes Gergana Krasteva for Oxford Mail.
The Education Department has been criticised for excluding students brought illegally into the United States as minors from stimulus emergency grants. But financial aid administrators say even more students are left out, writes Kery Murakami for Inside Higher Ed.
Australian universities are reinventing themselves with a new series of short courses to help retrain people who have lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic, writes Anna Patty for The Sydney Morning Herald.
As part of an effort to support the Nigerian federal government’s drive against the COVID-19 pandemic, officials of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) have announced plans to fund research by talented medical experts in the nation’s universities as a short-term medical palliative in the fight against coronavirus, writes Sunday Aikulola for The Guardian Nigeria.
Scotland’s universities must play their part in adapting to the ‘new normal’ amid warnings that institutions could be forced to merge in return for government support, writes David Bol for The Herald Scotland.
A number of public universities in Kenya have written to their staff asking them to take a pay cut even as unions warned against making this mandatory, writes Augustine Oduor for Standard Digital.
Major universities in Seoul, South Korea, will recruit more college freshmen via regular admissions in the 2022 academic year, reducing application advantages that students from more affluent backgrounds enjoyed via the controversial early admissions processes, reports KBS World Radio.
In New Zealand, Lincoln University staff have been asked to take a voluntary 5% pay cut for six months to help counter the adverse impact of COVID-19, write Tina Law and Lee Kenny for Stuff.
With the advent of the traditional 1 May National College Decision Day, some universities may get a better idea of who wants to attend their classes and pay tuition, but the financial costs of stay-at-home will continue to bite, write Meridith Edwards and Evan McMorris-Santoro for CNN.
Rector of Semmelweis University Béla Merkely announced at an online news conference that four Hungarian medical schools are set to begin nationwide testing for COVID-19. They are planning to test a representative sample of 17,000 people in two weeks to get a clear picture of the Hungarian epidemiological situation, writes Kovacs Zoltan for Index.
Given the severe drop in income expected due to the collapse in international student fees, as well as commercial revenues due to the current restrictions, Irish universities are now reviewing staff recruitment, write Jess Casey and 'Aine Kenny for the Irish Examiner.
South Africa’s Department of Higher Education and Training decided not to resume campus-based activity when Level 4 of the lockdown – which involves a slight easing of lockdown restrictions – commenced on Friday 1 May. However, it agreed there would be a controlled return of final-year clinical training medical students, writes Canny Maphanga for News24.
Mohammad Sarwar, the governor of Punjab in Pakistan, is proposing to make studying the Quran compulsory for Muslim university students in his province’s universities, a view criticised by Hamza Arshad, a secular Muslim educator, writes Shafique Khokhar for Asia News.
Some universities in Shanghai, China, saw the first batch of students return on Monday 27 April – with a number of protective measures in place to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, writes Yang Meiping for Shine.
One of Germany’s leading cultural festivals was at the centre of a row over anti-Semitism, as a German Jewish organisation joined in with earlier demands to cancel the opening address at the event by an academic charged with “anti-Semitism” and “Holocaust relativisation”, writes Ben Cohen for the The Algemeiner.
The uncertainty about the duration of the ongoing lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan to ask the universities to start preparing to switch to online education or abandon the current semester, writes Yousaf Ali for The News International.
Universities in Malaysia have been urged to activate the buddy system among students to detect those with problems such as depression, reports Bernama.
The higher education and training department in South Africa has told parliament that a reorganisation of the 2020 academic year is essential, possibly into 2021, with financial implications for the state, writes Andisiwe Makinana for Times Live.
Canadian colleges and universities are developing contingency plans to deliver classes in the fall, as students prepare for an uncertain semester due to COVID-19, reports The Canadian Press.
The presidents and heads of 75 universities and colleges in the Philippines “discouraged” the mass promotion of students during the coronavirus pandemic, writes Neil Arwin Mercado for the INQUIRER.net.
The federal government has disclosed that researchers in Nigeria’s universities are working on a vaccine and cure for COVID-19, writes Martins Ifijeh for THISDAY. It has also commenced local production of ventilators as part of efforts to ensure that COVID-19 patients who require the intensive care equipment get them.
Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has launched a private philanthropic programme to help its students, with the university’s president Subra Suresh and his wife, Mary Suresh, making a personal gift of SG$100,000 (US$70,200) to seed and anchor the fund, writes Clara Chong for The Straits Times.
The National Union of Students (NUS) has said the United Kingdom government should introduce a lb60 million (US$74 million) national hardship fund for all students who are currently in further and higher education, writes Kate Parker for TES.
An advertisement by the South Carolina Anastopoulo Law Firm, capitalising on anger by students and parents who believe they are owed partial tuition and fee refunds for semesters cut short, courses moved online and unused housing and meal plans, appears to have struck a chord, writes Greta Anderson for Inside Higher Ed.
United States President Donald Trump joined mounting criticism of Harvard University last Tuesday, saying the richest university in the country would pay back US$8.6 million in relief money from a coronavirus stimulus package that the president himself signed last month, writes Anemona Hartocollis for The New York Times.
Brian Pallister’s Progressive Conservative government has told Manitoba universities to figure out how to cut their budgets by as much as 30% in order to help the province survive the financial maelstrom of the COVID-19 pandemic, writes Bartley Kives for CBC News.
More than 2,000 research staff in universities and institutes of technology are at risk of losing their jobs because of funding uncertainties triggered by COVID-19, writes Katherine Donnelly for the Independent.
The Sri Lankan government will reconsider its decision to open universities and schools on 11 May on account of the sudden rise of the number of COVID-19 patients in Colombo, writes Kelum Bandara for the Daily Mirror.
Working with the most optimistic projections for the progress of COVID-19, Spanish universities have started to plan a return to normal activity as early as the start of June, writes Laura Vilaca for Chemistry World.
According to state media, some university and high school students in North Korea are back at school after extended semester breaks that came due to the coronavirus outbreak, reports Yonhap.
South China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region has partially reopened its colleges and universities, with seniors and students with medicine-related majors returning to campuses, as the COVID-19 epidemic wanes, reports Xinhua/Asian News Network.
Chinese universities will admit more doctoral students for 2020 to meet a target of 100,000 set by the Ministry of Education, reports Xinhua.
Leading United States universities including Harvard and Arizona State University have engaged British tech start-up StageClip to facilitate “virtual graduations” for their seniors in light of in-person ceremonies having to be postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, reports New Business.
The government of the Gambia through the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology recently pumped GMD5.9 million (US$115,600) into online education meant to enable students of post-secondary institutions to receive lectures online starting on 28 April, writes Landing Colley for The Voice.
A British university has launched a scholarship scheme dedicated to Chinese nationals living in China involved in combating the COVID-19 pneumonia outbreak, writes Wang Mingjie for China Daily.
With India’s union government extending the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19 until 3 May, higher education institutions across Delhi are now deliberating on how to conduct the annual examinations for hundreds of thousands of students, writes Kainat Sarfaraz for the Hindustan Times.
Students at Korean universities that have been extending online classes a few weeks at a time are increasingly pushing their universities to hold the entire semester online instead of dragging out an unpredictable situation, writes Chai Yoon-tae for Hankyoreh.
Government has designated local universities and other institutions of higher learning as temporary quarantine venues for all returning residents as part of efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, as Zimbabwe intensifies measures to ensure the 21-day lockdown is a success, writes George Maponga for The Herald.
All eight of Hong Kong’s public universities have said they plan to conduct final exams online next month – some in full and some partially – amid continued uncertainty over COVID-19, even as students continue to push for alternatives they see as more fair given the difficulties of online learning, writes Chan Ho-him for the South China Morning Post.
Dozens of colleges across the United States have dropped an SAT or ACT requirement from their applications for students hoping to enrol in 2021, writes Kelly McLaughlin for Insider.
The Zambia National Students Union has commended President Edgar Lungu and Minister of Higher Education Brian Mushimba for the decision to extend the student loan scheme to private universities, reports the Lusaka Times.
Some universities in Dubai have slashed tuition fees to help ease financial pressures on students and their families sparked by the coronavirus pandemic, writes Anam Rizvi for The National.
Thailand’s Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Minister Suwit Mesinsee has announced that 52 universities are reducing tuition fees to help students amid the COVID-19 crisis, reports The Nation Thailand.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said a bailout package is being prepared for Scotland’s universities amid fears over the disastrous fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, writes Alistair Grant for The Herald.
Taiwan is setting aside TW$400 million (over US$13 million) to help universities affected by the loss of Chinese students. China recently announced that their students will no longer be allowed to attend institutions in Taiwan, reports RTI.
Universities in Australia have stepped up support for international students forced into financial hardship amid the coronavirus pandemic through emergency funds. But despite more than AU$110 million (US$70 million) being committed across higher education institutions, there are concerns many are still at risk of missing out, writes Tom Stayner for SBS News.
Australia’s Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan has delivered a higher education relief package that is “unashamedly” focused on domestic students, writes Conor Duffy for ABC News.
The results of a scientific study show that the timely closure of educational centres in Iran has been able to prevent more than 22,000 deaths caused by the coronavirus, reports Iran Front Page.
Canadian universities are recruiting new students and trying to convince others to stay enrolled for the fall even as it’s still not clear whether in-person classes will be offered because of the impact of COVID-19, writes Joe Friesen for The Globe and Mail.
A number of universities are beginning to consider the possibility that in-person classes may not resume until 2021, writes Brian Ries and Meg Wagner for CNN.
As universities in South Korea turned to online classes and many foreign students dropped out or took leaves of absence due to the coronavirus pandemic, colleges outside the Seoul metropolitan area are complaining about plummeting revenues, writes Jin Chang-Il for the Korea JoongAng Daily.
An anonymous Liberty University student has filed a class action suit against the world’s largest Christian university for refusing to reimburse fees totalling thousands of dollars for cancelled services and accused Liberty of profiting from the coronavirus pandemic, writes Carlie Porterfield for Forbes.
University of Oxford scientists are to begin human trials of a potential coronavirus vaccine next week. Researchers said the jab, already successfully tested on animal species, could be ready to be rolled out for emergency use by the autumn following significant progress in the early stages of development, writes Jack Rathborn for the Independent.
A university in Japan has decided to cancel its graduation ceremony due to social distancing measures brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. Instead a team of robots, with iPads for faces, are standing in for the students and collecting diplomas on their behalf, writes Maeve Campbell for Euronews.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked all universities and higher education institutions across India to set up helplines to combat mental health issues among students during the COVID-19 crisis and nationwide lockdown period, reports the Deccan Herald.
Executive Director of the Ministry of Higher Education and Innovation Dr Alfred van Kent said the ministry has realised that face-to-face learning is a no-go area and will engage all institutions on online platforms, reports the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation.
Australia’s Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan says the Commonwealth and states have agreed that all year 12 students will finish high school this year and receive an ATAR university entrance rank, write Conor Duffy and Brooke Wylie for ABC News.
South Africa’s University of Pretoria awarded 11,000 degrees, diplomas and certificates during a virtual graduation ceremony on Monday 6 April, writes Chelsea Ntuli for Pretoria News.
For some scientists, the shutdowns have made it more challenging for them to complete their work. But for others, they come at a critical juncture in the scientist’s career, threatening to derail or delay a major event along their professional path – a small slice of the human suffering and inconvenience that COVID-19 has caused, writes Wudan Yan for Science.
Vietnamese universities have devised flexible plans to ensure final-year students can graduate despite the extended closures due to COVID-19, reports Viet Nam News.
In the kingdom’s mostly gender segregated education system, expanding department offerings to female students means needing to hire women professors – a scarcity in STEM fields in Saudi Arabia, writes Andy Tay for The Scientist.
Sarah Bonner-Proulx, an undergraduate student leader at the University of Manitoba, recently addressed a meeting of senior administrators from her kitchen table, determined to persuade them to overhaul changes to the grading system the university had made in response to the COVID-19 crisis, writes Joe Friesen for The Globe and Mail.
A majority of university and postgraduate students in Japan are willing to participate in interactive online lectures as many institutions delay the start of classes amid the coronavirus epidemic, reports Kyodo News.
Third-level students in Ireland will not have to sit traditional end of year exams, with alternative arrangements being put in place by colleges and universities, writes Mark Hilliard for The Irish Times.
Nanyang Technological University will be cancelling all undergraduate on-campus exams, quizzes and tests scheduled between 6 April and 8 May following the COVID-19 developments in Singapore, writes Ang Hwee Min for Channel News Asia.
The management of the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital in Nigeria has suspended Kazeem Salami, the professor and senior consultant accused of concealing vital information about a suspected COVID-19 case in Kwara State, writes Alfred Olufemi for Premium Times.
As the health crisis drags on, Canadian colleges and universities are asking the federal government to allow international students, who contribute an estimated CA$6 billion (US$4.3 billion) a year in tuition at universities, to do online courses while in their own country, write Nicholas Keung and Isabel Teotonio for The Star.
Some Chinese universities are beefing up efforts to build schools related to public health management amid the novel coronavirus epidemic, reports Xinhua.
With elementary, middle and high schools around South Korea set to begin their spring semester online in phases starting on 9 April, universities that have already been holding classes online have some big decisions to make. As they face increasing pressure to extend the online phase of the semester, more students are calling for their tuition to be refunded because of the decreasing quality of their education, writes Choi Won-hyung for Hankyoreh.
Colleges across the United States are scrambling to close deep budget holes and some have been pushed to the brink of collapse after the coronavirus outbreak triggered financial losses that could total more than US$100 million at some institutions, reports CBS News.
A human resource audit report on Uganda’s Makerere University has urged the institution’s top administration to establish a new company to manage accommodation in halls of residence, arguing that the proposal if adopted would generate revenue to a tune of UGX5.3 billion (US$1.4 million) annually, writes Xanthia Leni for PML Daily.
Colleges and universities would have an easier time rolling out new models for online programmes, while a wider variety of higher education providers would have access to federal student aid dollars under regulations advanced on Wednesday by the United States Education Department, writes Danielle Douglas-Gabriel for The Washington Post.
As many provinces in China lowered their emergency response, some students have already gone back to school. There are more schools and colleges preparing for reopening. But are they ready? asks CGTN.
Universities across Australia will grant an academic amnesty to students who fail subjects during the coronavirus crisis, as students struggle with disruptions and the transition to online learning, writes Natassia Chrysanthos for The Sydney Morning Herald.
Higher education is COVID-19-positive. And in the parlance of triage, the patient needs emergent care. At many institutions, that means getting just enough instruction and support online to be able to operate tomorrow, and having enough money to do so. Everything else can wait, including faculty hiring. Already, scores of colleges and universities have announced hiring freezes for this year fiscal year and the next one, writes Colleen Flaherty for Inside Higher Ed.
All six autonomous universities will freeze tuition fee hikes for Singaporeans enrolled in government-subsidised undergraduate and postgraduate programmes for the academic year 2020, even as the coronavirus situation develops, writes Clement Yong for The Straits Times.
La Trobe University senior executives in Australia have cut their own pay to grapple with “a very significant loss of revenue” as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, writes Rachel Eddie for The Age.
In Egypt mid-term university exams have been cancelled but second-semester exams are still on, although study will not resume until the end of the coronavirus outbreak, Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, minister of higher education and scientific research, said last Monday, writes Bassant Mohammed for Daily News Egypt.
The National Union of Students (NUS) in the United Kingdom has called on universities to cancel or postpone this summer’s exams to avoid further stress and disruption to students’ lives during the coronavirus pandemic, write David Batty and Sally Weale for The Guardian.
Grades may seem trivial in the middle of a pandemic. But for undergraduate university students who’ve spent countless hours studying in the hopes of getting into competitive graduate programmes, COVID-19 has thrown an unexpected twist into those plans, writes Graham Slaughter for CTV News.
The UAE government decided last Monday to extend the e-learning programme currently underway in all educational facilities across the country until the end of the academic year in June, writes Varun Godinho for Gulf Business.
Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission (HEC) has directed all universities and accredited institutions with sufficient resources to start online classes, reports INP.
The Turkish Council of Higher Education (Y"OK) announced on 1 April that students studying in undergraduate and graduate programmes will be able to defer their registrations in the spring semester of the 2019-20 academic year, reports Anadolu Agency.
The University of California (UC) announced that it will greatly ease some admission requirements for fall 2020 and beyond by eliminating SAT scores and letter grades for required courses, saying that “grave disruption” to schools during the coronavirus crisis calls for maximum flexibility in evaluating students, write Teresa Watanabe and Nina Agrawal for Los Angeles Times.
The Council of International Students Australia, the peak body representing international students in Australia, has called for welfare packages with financial support for international students in the country, writes Abhas Parajuli for SBS Nepali.
China’s education authority has asked universities to provide online courses for international students who are currently outside the Chinese mainland, reports Xinhua.
The universities regulator in the United Kingdom has said it will use “any powers available” to prevent institutions from switching students’ offers to unconditional in the wake of the government’s cancellation of this summer’s exam series, writes Freddie Whittaker for FE Week.
The Sindh government in Pakistan extended the closure of all educational institutions in the province until 31 May to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus and later declared the break as the summer vacation, but university students have been left in a state of confusion, write Safdar Rizvi and Sarah B Haider for The Express Tribune.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is urging any post-secondary education institutions that may be able to provide assistance during the coronavirus outbreak to contact the federal government, reports City News.
Universities and schools in Nepal have announced their willingness to allow authorities to use their rooms for quarantine facilities in view of a possible outbreak of COVID-19, writes Binod Ghimire for The Kathmandu Post.
Taiwan’s education ministry said last Wednesday it would provide a subsidy of TW$400 million (US$13 million) to colleges and universities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, writes Jake Chen for Radio Taiwan International.
Universities across Europe are grappling with digital problems, after the COVID-19 pandemic forced campuses to shut down and move research and teaching online, but digital capabilities are not distributed equally across European universities, and deficiencies have delayed implementing systems for online teaching. Bandwidth and student access to computers are also an issue, writes Florin Zubascu for Science|Business.
Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Ghana’s minister of education, has announced government plans to acquire distance education technology and the technical ability and capacity for all Ghanaian universities for free, reports Modern Ghana.
About 300 indebted students at Walter Sisulu University (WSU) in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa will be able to graduate in two months’ time, thanks to the intervention of a good Samaritan, writes Yoliswa Sobuwa for Sowetan Live.
University scientists in the United Kingdom are being urged by the National Health Service (NHS) to volunteer in overstretched coronavirus testing facilities which are coming under strain as they try to meet surging demand, write Nathalie Thomas, Camilla Hodgson and Donato Paolo Mancini for the Financial Times.
Health authorities have privately asked Australian universities to search their campuses for material that could be used to prevent COVID-19 testing shortages, writes Christopher Knaus for The Guardian Australia.
Examinations at many universities across Myanmar, which started on Thursday 19 March and were scheduled to continue until 1 April, have been suspended after two COVID-19 cases were confirmed by the government on Monday 23 March, reports The Irrawaddy.