Dear Reader,

This newsletter carries a selection of curated articles from India, South Asia, South East Asia, Latin America and the UAE that are of interest to higher education institutions from around the world with respect to student recruitment, partnerships, scholarships/grants, student/faculty mobility, and the regulatory landscape. We also showcase key knowledge initiatives that Sannam S4 conceives of and delivers for the sector around industry practices, SDGs, and advocacy.

The next edition of this newsletter will be published in the second week of September 2021.

Stay Safe.

Editorial Team

Sustainability Goals

Stanford University creates new school for study of climate and sustainability

The strategy, which has been co-created with the University’s students, staff, partners and stakeholders, outlines how the University will meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In a major development for climate science, Stanford University announced that it was forming a new school focused on climate and sustainability. The school, which will absorb several of the university’s existing units and departments and add others in the future, will begin operations in fall 2022. It will help establish Stanford at the forefront of universities recognized for excellence in the study of global climate challenges and solutions. The still-unnamed school is the first created by Stanford in 70 years. It’s based on a plan developed by a faculty Blueprint Advisory Committee that worked for about a year to draft options and recommendations for how the new unit should be structured. In addition to the faculty committee, a nine-member student group convened numerous meetings that led to a report laying out their vision for the school. Staff in the merging units also participated in the planning process. The new school will house the School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences, the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, the Pre-court Institute for Energy, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (joint with the School of Engineering) and the facilities at Hopkins Marine Station. It’s anticipated that the scholars in those units will be augmented in the future by both new faculty hires as well as by numerous faculty who will join the new school from other schools and departments. Read More.

Georgetown University Launches STEM Master In Sustainable Business

Georgetown University is looking to promote sustainability in business with a new Master in Environment and Sustainability Management (MS-ESM). The specialized master’s degree will be offered through a collaboration between the McDonough School of Business, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the Georgetown Environment Initiative (GEI)—a university-wide pledge to improve environmentalism and sustainability. The Georgetown MS-ESM is scheduled to begin in August 2022. The curriculum features 16 courses and will be taught over 11-months in Georgetown’s Washington DC campus. The curriculum is split between skill-building and science-oriented courses. The large scientific focus means the programme is STEM-designated, allowing international students the opportunity to extend their optional practice training (OPT) by 24 months, giving them the chance to stay and work in the US for up to three years after graduation without needing an H1B visa.  Read More.

Digital Future

Purdue project will help bring leading-edge digital agriculture teaching and learning to secondary schools

Purdue University is retooling its online Precision Agriculture course and adding a target audience – high school agriculture teachers who prepare students to go on in what’s increasingly an information technology-centric field. The revamped course with a focus on digital agriculture, developed with a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will be made available at no charge to high school agriculture teachers, starting in Indiana and then around the country. The course also will be offered for a fee through the Purdue Agronomy e-Learning Academy, which presents online courses aimed at working professionals in agriculture, agribusiness and agricultural consulting. The overall goal of the three-year project is to provide resources for educators in secondary schools that enrich their knowledge of digital agriculture and its application, including curriculum they can integrate into their classrooms and labs. A series of learning modules packaged into a course will become part of the continuing education offerings promoted by the Indiana Department of Agriculture. The course will be built on the foundations of the Purdue Agronomy e-Learning Academy’s Precision Agriculture course. Read More.

Super Stats

New UNESCO global survey reveals impact of COVID-19 on higher education

In the wake of the unprecedented COVID-19 education disruptions which affected more than 220 million tertiary-level students around the world, UNESCO conducted a global survey aimed at providing an evidence-based overview of the current situation of the higher education system at national and global levels. The results provide insights on how some countries were able to transform challenges, brought by the rapid digitalisation of education, into opportunities through strong government support and international cooperation. The survey attempts to assess the varying impact the pandemic had on higher education systems in terms of access, equity and quality of teaching and learning, university operation, national challenges, emerging issues, and strategic responses. The key findings for the various assessment dimensions are:

Mode of teaching and learning: The major impact of COVID-19 on teaching and learning is the increase in online education. The hybrid mode of teaching has become the most popular form.

  • Access: The impact of COVID-19 on enrollment varies by regional and income levels. High income and Europe and North American countries are better able to cope with the disruption due to government funding support and increase in domestic enrollment.
  • International mobility: Mobility took a major hit, affecting international students significantly, but virtual mobility could compensate or even replace physical mobility.
  • University staff: Despite the closure of many universities, the impact of COVID-19 on university staff compared to the previous academic year is limited.
  • Disruption of research and extension activities: COVID-19 caused suspension and cancellation of teaching and research activities globally.
  • Widening inequality: The mixed impact of the pandemic on university finance shed a light on the exacerbation of inequality in higher education. Financial support from the government and external sources are crucial to the survival of HEIs.
  • University operations: The strong impact of the pandemic on HEIs operations caused reduced maintenance and services on campus and campuses closures worldwide.
  • National challenges: Health and adaptation to new modes and models of teaching are the top concerns for students and institutions.
  • Transition from higher education to work: The significant reduction of job opportunities makes the transition from higher education to the labor market more difficult. Employers are also seeking applicants with higher technology skills.
  • National priority: Strategic options for country-specific response are to improve infrastructure and availability of digital devices for online or distance learning as well as support for teachers and more international collaboration in research and policy dialogues.

Read more.


85% university students in India faced learning loss during COVID-19 pandemic

Universities and students feel that COVID-19 has led to a learning loss for students. Deep-dive research shows that such loss stems from five main sources: the digital divide, slow governance at government institutions, pre-existing capacity deficits, longer lockdowns than most countries, and weak online teaching/learning content. According to the ‘COVID-19 Learning Loss in Higher Education’ survey by TeamLease, students’ estimated loss of learning is between 40-60 per cent, university leaders state that the loss has been 30-40 per cent. However, this learning loss is twice the estimated learning loss in G7 countries. More painfully, the survey finds that it may take 3 years to repair this gap. In a comparison between India and G7 countries such as Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom and the United States, India has an estimated learning loss of 40-60 per cent while other countries range from 9.84 per cent (France) to 31.16 per cent (Italy). The survey also found 10 steps to reduce this learning loss. First, the learning loss must be blunted by immediately allowing all universities and colleges to open with necessary precautions. Second, all universities must be immediately and automatically licensed for online learning. Third, Digital India must be accelerated to blunt the digital divide among the poor, rural areas, and disadvantaged communities. Fourth, the higher education sector must be financially supported by government funds and banks (like healthcare has been) for a one-time COVID driven capital expenditure in digital infrastructure, training, and transition. Fifth, the implementation of the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP) must be accelerated from 15 years to five years. This will accelerate digitisation, erase regulatory barriers between employability and education, and accelerate innovation in higher education. Read More.

Sannam S4 Initiatives

Sannam S4 Annual SDG conclave 2021

India, home to one-sixth of all humanity, contributes to 20 percent of the global SDG gap in 10 of the 17 goals. As a nation, it has a global responsibility to adopt, implement and monitor the goals to ensure a sustainable future for our planet. At Sannam S4, we believe that the 17th SDG, namely ‘Partnerships for the Goals’ is the critical backbone for achieving the SDGs in India by 2030. Multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilise and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources are needed to leave no one behind. Register now.

Click here to know more about the conclave.

Sannam S4 SDG Podcast Series— Season 2: India’s Young Changemakers

  • Episode 1: Reimagining Cigarette Buds Wastage
  • Episode 2: Solving Plastic Pollution
  • Episode 3: Promoting Solar Power in India

Click here to listen to all episodes.

Sannam S4 High School Counselling Excellence Network

  • Webinar: Creating Avenues for SDG Awareness Amongst Youth Know more.

Pathways: Set the foundation for the future Know more.

Global Leadership League & Sannam S4 – India Chapter. Know more.

EdTech Developments

Go1 raises $200M at a $1B+ valuation to boost its curated enterprise learning platform

Go1, which provides curated online learning materials and tools to businesses using “playlists” that tap content from multiple publishers and silos, has closed a round of $200 million, a Series D that the company’s CEO and co-founder Andrew Barnes confirmed values the startup at over $1 billion. Barnes added that the funding will be used to expand further in existing markets. Based out of Brisbane, Australia, Go1 has offices in London, the U.S., Singapore and Malaysia, so it wants to go deeper into Europe more broadly and into more of Asia Pacific, he said. Go1 will also continue expanding its suite of services in the wider areas of learning and development training, he added. Read More.

Singapore EdTech firm Nas Academy bags $11m series A led by Lightspeed Ventures

Online education platform Nas Academy has closed a $11 million Series Around led by Lightspeed Venture Partners. The academy will allow content creators to create new courses and market them to students who say want to learn from them. The online leaming platforms can help address the concerns, such as scams and half-baked offerings that consumers face when signing up for online courses. Last year, Nas Academy had partnered with Southeast Asian ride-hailing giant Grab to roll out a programme to identify and groom 100 budding content creators across Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Read More.

KnowledgeHut buy to help upGrad overseas

Edtech platform for higher education upGrad has acquired upskilling platform KnowledgeHut to mark its entry into the short-duration course segment. The acquisition will also allow upGrad to double down its presence and offerings for the international geographies of North America, West Asia and Southeast Asia. At present, these markets contribute to 65% of KnowledgeHut’s overall revenues. The current acquisition is part of upGrad’s $250 million corpus, which it recently earmarked for acquisitions to drive its inorganic international growth over the next 7-9 months. The KnowledgeHut deal is estimated to be about $35 million, said persons in the industry who are aware of the development. KnowledgeHut will continue to work independently as a wholly-owned subsidiary of upGrad. KnowledgeHut helps corporates upskill their employees and provides 200 professional certification courses on its platform across 10 segments of web development, machine learning, artificial intelligence and data science, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. upGrad plans to scale course offerings on KnowledgeHut’s platform to 400 in the coming year. Read More.

Education Fairs –  India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan

Our Education Team compiles all the education fairs that are happening in South Asia. Click here.

Regional News

Latin America

Costa Rica – Augustana University to open a campus in Costa Rica

Augustana University plans to open a campus in Costa Rica by the spring of 2023. The university will offer a semester-long study abroad programme in Central America, with a physical campus in Costa Rica as the mainstay for students there, according to a press release. Read More.

South Asia

Bangladesh: United International University signs MOU with University of Portsmouth

A memorandum of understanding was signed virtually between United International University in Bangladesh and University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom on July 27. Under the agreement, the universities will cooperate as partners on academic, research and global issues through exchange of graduate and undergraduate students and teachers and exchange of information. Read More.

Pakistan: Queen Mary launches partnership with Rotary International to improve education and research in Pakistan

Queen Mary University of London has entered into prestigious partnership with the Rotary Club of Karachi. In signing the Memorandum of Understanding, Queen Mary will jointly improve access to education in Pakistan and help young people improve not only their lives, but potentially those of generations to come. The partnership will help to establish new programmes of study and events around areas of shared importance. These include international education, public policy studies and policy implementation, sustainability, health, business development, innovation, languages, arts and sciences. The partnership will also provide scholarships for students from Pakistan to study at Queen Mary. Other activities may include joint teaching and research opportunities, as well as mobility for staff, research fellows and students. Read More.

Sri Lanka: Hsenid partners with the University of Moratuwa, to empower undergraduates towards the digital corporate

Hsenid Business Solutions, a leading Human Resources solutions provider in Sri Lanka, partnered with the University of Moratuwa (UoM), a prestigious state higher education institution in the delivery of Human Resources Information Systems as part of its Bachelor of Business Sciences degree programme. This partnership further amplifies the scope of the programme, adding strategic value to the study of Human Resources by capturing the essence of HRIS, encapsulating the complete automation of HR with Analytics and Artificial Intelligence-driven HR Tech advancements. A partnership aimed at grooming future minds in the pursuit of building a strong business landscape in Sri Lanka that moves ahead globally with technology. Read More.

South-East Asia

Malaysia: CNN and University of Nottingham Malaysia partner to empower the next generation of storytellers

To empower the next generation of storytellers, CNN Academy and the University of Nottingham Malaysia (UNM) presented a two-week virtual summer camp on multiplatform storytelling. The summer camp provided training and academic courses for aspiring students and professionals to develop best practices in multiplatform journalism, production and storytelling. Through live interactive seminars with CNN award-winning journalists, feedback sessions with editors and virtual lessons on The CNN Academy Hub, the programme provided students with comprehensive knowledge and practical skills in multiplatform journalism and an understanding of how modern newsgathering organisations operate. Students also had the opportunity to apply their learning into real-time practice by producing their own multiplatform content with guidance from the CNN Academy trainers and presented their projects at the end of the programme. In addition to live seminars, workshops and recordings of the sessions, students also had access to hours of self-learning modules on a wide range of topics including covering breaking news, crafting engaging narratives and storytelling using digital techniques and tools. All resources are available on The CNN Academy Hub, an e-learning platform that allows students to learn and study anytime and anywhere. Read More.

Singapore: LSBF Singapore partners with The University of Law to offer postgraduate programmes

The London School of Business and Finance in Singapore and The University of Law announced their partnership and the launch of three new postgraduate programmes in law. The postgraduate programmes offered are Master of Law in International Corporate Finance, Master of Law in International Business Law and Master of Science in Legal Technology. The programmes will be delivered online or in-person at LSBF Singapore’s campus to offer more flexibility to students. LSBF Singapore’s new programmes aim to promote a learner-centered method. Each module is divided into several units, using the prepare, engage, consolidate approach to ensure students can complete a complex set of tasks and activities autonomously. Students with a non-law background are also welcomed to apply and will be invited to follow a two-weeks comprehensive induction, covering the key principles of the common law system in England and Wales before progressing to the programmes. Through these new programmes, LSBF Singapore’s School of Business and Law aims to provide its students with valuable practical insights as well as theoretical knowledge in the different areas of law. Read More.

Japan: University Of Tokyo advances Quantum Computing in Japan with IBM partnership

The University of Tokyo and IBM signed an agreement to promote an industry-academia partnership to make Japan a leader in quantum computing. Based on the Japan-IBM Quantum Partnership, UTokyo and the technology giant launched the IBM-UTokyo Laboratory to carry out their goals. From the development of novel drugs and new materials, to the creation of financial models and optimisation of supply chains, quantum computers, which excel at calculating equations containing many complex combinations, are expected to play a key role in the future of an advanced information-oriented society. UTokyo has been in the forefront to implement quantum computing and other quantum technology applications in society. Through the establishment of the IBM-UTokyo Lab, three projects are getting into full swing. Read More.

Country News


Amity University and University of the Fraser Valley sign agreement to create new international opportunities

Students and faculty can look forward to increased opportunities in North America as Amity University (AU) signed a new partnership, with University of the Fraser Valley (UFV). As part of MoU, AU and UFV will collaborate jointly on various Projects like student exchange programmes, joint research opportunities, internship programmes, and more. The agreement is intended to promote opportunities of common interest. Administrators at both institutions are now working together to explore opportunities for academic collaboration and intercultural understanding. Read More.

Monash University and Tata Institute of Social Sciences sign strategic agreement

Educational ties between Australia and India have been bolstered with the signing of a strategic partnership between Monash University in Melbourne and Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai. The TISS-Monash Strategic Partnership Agreement will involve a number of initiatives including research collaborations, educational programmes, industry partnerships and a joint PhD programme between the two institutions. Focus areas of the partnership will include collaborative research in the humanities and social sciences across topics including the impact of COVID-19 on family violence, as well as criminology, gender, human rights and sustainability. Read More.


UAE universities aim to empower 20,000 students under coding skills push

They will also explore the capacity to build and expand academic and professional development of Jamjoom Pharma Academy’s faculties and staff. Eight universities have joined the UAE’s National Programme for Coders to empower 20,000 students with coding skills as part of the first phase of partnerships. The list of participating universities includes the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), Khalifa University, Zayed University, University of Dubai, Abu Dhabi University (ADU), Mohammed bin Zayed University for Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI), American University in Dubai (AUD) and the University of Sharjah (UoS). The programme will also launch three digital libraries in collaboration with Amazon, Huawei and IBM to give undergraduates in the UAE the opportunity to learn how to use various programming applications and apply them practically, state news agency WAM reported on Wednesday. The universities will launch special clubs for coders on their campuses, with the goal of refining their skills and providing them with the opportunity to participate in Hackathon competitions specialised in programming, both locally and globally. In the next phase, these universities will also organise several training workshops and academic lectures with top experts and specialists from the UAE and abroad. Read More.

© 2008-2021 Sannam S4 | Sitemap | Privacy Notice