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 August 2021.

Stay Safe.

Editorial Team

Sustainability Goals

University of Sussex releases plan to become one of the world’s most sustainable universities

A newly published sustainability strategy, called Sustainable Sussex, details how the University plans to overhaul its heating, transport and supply chains over the next decade in order to become one of the world’s most sustainable universities. Ambitious and comprehensive sustainability strategy aims to: 

  • Reach net zero by 2035 – including both direct and indirect carbon emissions 
  • Embed sustainability into all aspects of student learning and experience  
  • Recycle 50% of waste by 2025 – and reduce the waste produced per student by 10% by 2025 
  • Create the UK’s most biodiverse campus – setting aside up to half of the site for nature 
  • More staff and students volunteering in their local community – including through a new charity partnership with Surfers Against Sewage

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. Read More.

Seattle University Earns STARS Gold Rating for Sustainability

As Jesuit institutions in the U.S. increasingly deepen their commitment to environmental sustainability, Seattle University has earned a Gold rating through The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) for its ongoing work. This marks the third time SU has received a Gold rating. Other Jesuit colleges and universities holding STARS ratings include, with Gold ratings, Gonzaga University, Loyola Marymount University, Loyola University Chicago, and Santa Clara University, with Silver ratings, Boston College and Marquette University, and with Bronze ratings, Creighton University and Saint Louis University. Seattle University improved its score from 75.64, when it was last rated in 2018, to 79.38 this year, placing SU second only to Santa Clara (79.45) among Jesuit institutions. The university’s score puts it within about 6 percentage points of achieving STARS’ highest rating, platinum, a distinction held by only 11 institutions. SU’s score ranks #26 among all STARS reporting schools and 14th among those earning a Gold rating. Read More.

University Of Bristol: 990 Laboratories Receive Green Status

The Each of their 990 laboratories have gained certification, through The Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF) Programme which mobilised staff and students and the wider STEM community to consider the direct impact of research, rather than the broader benefits of research outputs. Laboratories are essential workspaces for science research and learning but they have five times more environmental impact compared to office spaces. At the University of Bristol, laboratories occupy only 6% of the university’s space but account for 40% of the energy usage. LEAF reduces the environmental impact of laboratories by promoting actions that save water, plastic, energy and other resources through better waste management, equipment efficiency, chemical management and procurement. In addition to criteria that cover environmental aspects, there are also those that consider business travel and research quality, addressing important issues around what’s known as the ‘reproducibility crisis’.

With the help of integrated calculators, laboratories can also determine their financial and carbon savings following the implementation of LEAF. Depending on the criteria completed, laboratories are awarded a bronze, silver or gold certification. Benefits of gaining Green Lab certification include reduced utility costs and environmental footprint, increased research efficiency, chances of gaining additional research funding and enabling a bottom-up sustainability movement. Read more.

Digital Future

HEART/NSTA Trust and Digicel enter partnership to build digital skills and job opportunities

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will usher in a new era of skills training and development for the digital future, HEART/NSTA Trust and Jamaica’s digital operator, Digicel, have forged a partnership that will foster mutual training, industry knowledge exchange and internship opportunities for trainees and employees of both entities. The collaboration comes out of the need to rapidly upskill Jamaica’s workforce that must keep pace with our new digital world. The three-year agreement will see HEART offering upskilling and certification in training programmes for up to 2,000 Digicel employees. In support of this, Digicel will play an integral role in designing HEART’s training modules that will foster digital training for the company’s employees. Afterwards, HEART will provide National Vocational Qualification Jamaica certificates for all participating Digicel staff members. Digicel will also facilitate the provision of apprenticeship/traineeship opportunities for up to 75 HEART trainees. Another reciprocal aspect of the MOU will see Digicel’s team of industry experts assisting HEART with designing courses that prepare the human capital development agency’s trainees for the new digital era. Read More.

Super Stats

Preparing for the Future: The Path Forward for International Educational Exchange

The vast majority of US universities (86%) who took part in a new snapshot survey from IIE are planning some type of in-person study in fall 2021.  The fourth report in IIE’s Covid-19 Snapshot Survey Series examined the impact of the pandemic on US international student enrolment and US study abroad one year since it began. Key findings were that 43% of institutions reported an increase in their international student applications for the 2021/22 academic year, almost double the increase reported by institutions a year ago. IIE sent the fourth survey to US higher education institutions from April 15 to May 5, 2021, with some 414 institutions completing the survey. The institutions represented 44% of all international students at US institutions in 2019/20 and US study abroad students in 2018/19. In the survey, universities were asked what they expected to have in terms of the mode of instruction for both home and international students. The report said that these findings were in line with the American Council on Education’s recent snapshot survey of college and university presidents that found approximately 12% of institutions will require the vaccine and 44% will not require the vaccine for students. While vaccines may not be a requirement, more than half (64%) of the reporting colleges and universities plan to offer Covid-19 vaccines for students, faculty, and staff on campus. Other findings of the survey were that 43% of institutions reported an increase in their international student applications for the 2021/22 academic year. The report said that the figure is in “stark contrast” to this time last year, when only 22% indicated growth. Read the report here.


Ministry releases All India Survey on Higher Education

Number of institutions of national importance have increased by 80 per cent to 135, according to the survey the Ministry of Education released in the latest edition of the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2019-20. The report mentions that the number of institutions of national importance have increased to 135 in 2020 from 75 in 2015. The number of students pursuing PhD in 2019-20 was 2.03 lakh as against 1.17 lakh in 2014-15. The total number of teachers stands at 15,03,156 comprising 57.5 percent male and 42.5 percent female. The total enrolment in higher education stood at 3.85 crore in 2019-20 as compared to 3.74 crore in 2018-19, registering a growth of 11.36 lakh (3.04 per cent). The total enrollment was 3.42 crore in 2014-15. The Ministry of Education has been conducting an annual web-based AISHE since 2010-11 in which it provides key performance indicators on the current status of higher education in the country. Data is collected on several parameters such as teachers, student enrolment, programmes, examination results, education finance and infrastructure. Indicators of educational development such as Institution Density, Gross Enrolment Ratio, Pupil-Teacher ratio, Gender Parity Index and Per Student Expenditure will also be calculated from the data collected through AISHE. 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 High School Counselling Excellence Network

  • Webinar: Experiential Opportunities to Engage with SDGs Know more.
  • Webinar: Creating Avenues for SDG Awareness Amongst Youth Know more.
  • Podcast: Season 3 – School Counselling in the Time of Coronavirus Know more.

MIU – University of Portsmouth MoU Signing Ceremony Know more.

EdTech Developments

Edtech startup Birla Brainiacs plans to raise up to $10 million, to hire 1500 teachers in the next two years

Mumbai-based edtech startup Birla Brainiacs is looking to raise $5-10 million in an external round of funding and is in talks with investors, according to the founder of the company. The e-learning startup, which was launched last year in April, is also planning to hire 1500 teachers in the next two years, according to Birla. At present it has around 50 staff members onboard with a mix of research and development, subject heads and experts, counsellors, and sales and marketing teams. The platform caters to the needs of students from grade 1 to 12 with live sessions, video content in the form of “Flip Tales” — using cartoons and action heroes to explain the concepts. Other than that, there are also added skill development courses like vedic maths, coding, and communicative English. Read More.

Edtech startup upGrad set to join unicorn club with USD 4-billion valuation

Temasek-backed edtech startup upGrad is in talks with global private equity and venture capital investors to raise $400 million at a valuation of $4 billion, according to sources close to the development. This would mean almost a five-fold jump in the valuation of the Mumbai-based startup from the last fund-raise round earlier this year. The company is also planning to close two significant acquisitions—a global short-form course player and another in the executive education space–in the next two to three months.  Read More.

Edtech platform Oliveboard raises over USD 3 million led by IAN Fund

Oliveboard, an edtech platform focused on competitive exams, has raised pre-Series A funding of ₹23 crore led by Indian Angel Network (IAN) Fund with participation from Education Catalyst Fund (ECF) and Yukti Securities. This funding will enable Oliveboard to expand its number of national-level courses and exams, and to add state-level categories. The Bengaluru-based startup will further focus on investing in technology for interactive data-driven products which will lead to customised learning at a more granular level for individuals. Oliveboard has over 8 million users spanning across 2,500 cities and towns in India, the statement claimed. The edtech platform currently supports 50 government exams. In the coming years, Oliveboard is planning to add over 100 various national and state-level exams to its bouquet of offerings. Read More.

TiE Bangalore launches EdTech Special Interest Group in collaboration with AWS

TiE Bangalore, in collaboration with AWS EdStart, has launched an EdTech Special Interest Group (SIG) to promote, mentor and creator new opportunities for entrepreneurs in the EdTech space. As part of this collaboration, the Edtech SIG will host an array of new and existing events as an exclusive offering for EdTech start-ups. Together, TiE Bangalore and AWS EdStart will also engage actively with the broader EdTech ecosystem and enable meaningful connections to EdTech start-ups through their networks. The EdTech SIG will also nurture selected 20-30 EdTechs annually from this community via AWS resources and TiE’s Bangalore’s mentoring programme, and help these start-ups scale up their impact. 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- Costa Rica to resume in-person school

Costa Rica on July 12 will resume in-person learning across the country’s public schools, the Education Ministry said. The school will return to a mixed modality in which students will combine in-person and virtual learning in order to reduce crowding in the classroom. All public schools in Costa Rica have been closed since May 24 due to a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations. COVID-19 cases, hospitalisations, and deaths have all registered slow but steady decreases over recent weeks. In addition, according to the Education Minister, 96% of teachers have now received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Read More.

Cuba- University link with Cuban productive sector advances

The link between the Marta Abreu University, in central Cuba, with the product and services sector, distinguishes the Society Interface of Science and Technology (SICTE SA), Gilberto Quevedo highlighted here. Headquartered on the university campus, in the central province of Villa Clara, SICTE SA is the first experience of a Cuban commercial company that has two universities as shareholders: Marta Abreu (95 percent) and Tecnológica de La Habana José Antonio Echeverría ( 5.0 percent). The creation of SICTE S.A. has allowed the commercialisation of goods, services, and technology transfer to different sectors of the Cuban economy, stressed Quevedo, its director. It has also strengthened the university-business link and stimulated the scientific community to carry out new research tasks to meet the demands for the socio-economic development of Cuba.  Read More.

South Asia

Bangladesh: World Bank supports Bangladesh to benefit from regional collaboration in higher education

The World Bank has approved a $191 million credit to Bangladesh to help strengthen higher education and respond better to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Higher Education Acceleration Transformation Project — the first World Bank-supported regional education project in South Asia — will support regional collaboration in the higher education sector. This includes student mobility through equivalence programmes, credit transfer schemes, and university twinning arrangements within the region. It will also help more women access quality higher education, which will result in increased female labour force participation. The covid-19 pandemic has hit hard the higher education sector in South Asia, causing more dropouts and fewer enrolments. Female students are likely to be disproportionately impacted, further exacerbating the existing gender gap in higher education. The project will support pandemic and emergency response and build systemic resilience in the higher education sector with a specific focus on digitisation.  Read More.

Pakistan: OIC institute offers scholarships to 500 Palestinians at Pakistani universities

The Pakistani chapter of COMSTECH, an institute established by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), will provide 500 fully-funded scholarships to Palestinian students over the next two years. The scholarships were first announced on Tuesday by the COMSTECH coordinator general in Islamabad. The new scholarships are separate from the Pakistani government’s annual provision of 100 scholarships. COMSTECH has launched this new programme to cover research fellowships, technician training, and workshop grants for all disciplines. The initiative was supported by 24 private and 14 public sector universities in Pakistan. Read More.

Sri Lanka: Dialog Axiata is setting up 5G Innovation Centres in Sri Lankan Universities

Dialog Axiata PLC, in collaboration with the University Grants Commission established ‘5G Innovation Centres’ located at the Engineering Faculties of certain leading universities in order to create as well as incubate interest-driven learning, combined with innovation and entrepreneurship for the upcoming future leaders. These Innovation Centres are made to empower students with the goal to make them interdisciplinary, computational, and entrepreneurial which will be achieved by giving students a first-hand experience in relation to 5G connectivity and many of the technology’s cutting-edge use cases. This list comprises artificial intelligence or AI, computer vision, ML or machine learning, blockchain, robotics, and the internet of things (IoT) coupled with related emerging technologies that, as per the company, will allow for national innovation combined with economic diversification. Read More.

South-East Asia

Malaysia: Collaboration between Fourier Intelligence and the University Malaya Medical Centre 

Global rehabilitation technology organisation, Fourier Intelligence is now in collaboration with the internationally recognised University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) on advancing research on rehabilitation technology to make it more clinically applicable with localisation. This collaboration will further develop current solutions to be more effective and versatile within the rehabilitation technology industry. The MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) signing event with Fourier Intelligence, aligns UMMC’s mission towards driving excellence in clinical research, empowering human capital, and uplifting healthcare-related institutions. With this joint effort, more innovative solutions will be developed. The partnership will focus on combining the ExoMotus™ X2 and ArmMotus™ M2 with FES (Functional Electrical Stimulation) technology. Ultimately, the partnership will collaborate on multi-centre trials that will involve Fourier Intelligence’s extensive global network of researchers and laboratories. Read More.

Vietnam: The University of Economics and Finance Signs MoU with Keuka College

The University of Economics and Finance (UEF) in Vietnam joins the roster of overseas universities offering joint collaboration partnerships with Keuka College. The agreement will see the College’s Bachelor of Science in Management major offered on the UEF campus. The four-year programme, whose first classes begin this fall, will be open to students in Vietnam, the United States (once international travel resumes), and other eligible international students. Students are required to meet the admissions standards of both Keuka College and the UEF. Read More.

Philippines: Mariano Marcos State University inks pact with Canada’s Dalhousie University

Canada-based Dalhousie University (DAL) has formally agreed with Philippine-based Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) to promote international collaboration in the field of agriculture, aqua-fisheries, aquaculture and supporting sciences starting this year. DAL and MMSU have agreed to cooperatively work together in the development of these areas through academic, research, and community engagement exchanges. DAL and MMSU will jointly conduct faculty and student exchanges, delivery of courses, and capacity-building programmes; provide technical expertise in instruction, research and extension; and deliver development transformation and reforms. Read More.

Japan: OMRON Healthcare and Kyoto University collaborative research programme “Healthcare Medical AI” to prevent the events of cardiovascular diseases with AI and Home Measurement Data

The first study in the Collaborative Research Programme will explore how AI can derive new personalised blood pressure improvement methods based on both day and nighttime blood pressure fluctuation, home electrocardiography recordings, and lifestyle data. The aim is to achieve further improvement of high blood pressure management. The study will investigate how AI can accurately predict cardiovascular diseases at an early stage. The collaboration between Kyoto University and OMRON Healthcare focuses on two research themes: The development of a novel blood pressure management method and blood pressure analysis for early detection of cardiovascular events using AI. Regarding the novel blood pressure management method, the joint team will use AI technology to develop personalised blood pressure management by analysing biological data sets (body weight, body composition, volume of activity and Na/K ratio*4), and habits (smoking and drinking) daily. The team will develop a detection system of abnormal home measurement data of symptoms of cardiovascular events at an early stage. Since events occur unpredictably, early detection of the disease is one of the key challenges. By analysing changes in various biological data set points measured at home using AI technology, it will be possible to detect signs of events faster and with higher probability so that treatment can be adjusted, realising the prevention of cardiovascular events. Read More.

Country News


Arizona State University to partner with six Indian varsities

Arizona State University (ASU), a leading US varsity, is ready to partner with 6 universities to offer joint degrees, make twinning arrangements, and share its vast faculty and research resources. The first such tie-up is happening with the NorthCap University (NCU), formerly ITM University, in Haryana and is being executed through US education consulting firm Cintana Education. The move could bring down the cost of education for those looking to study in the US as part of the course can be offered at the Indian partner university. Read More.

Great Learning announces International UG Programmes in collaboration with Deakin University and Great Lakes Institute of Management

Great Learning, a leading global ed-tech company for professional and higher education announced the launch of two International undergraduate programmes from Deakin University, Australia’s largest university in collaboration with Great Lakes Institute of Management, one of India’s premier B-Schools. These 3-year full-time programmes provide learners with an opportunity to experience world-class education, hands-on practical projects and dedicated placement assistance. Upon successfully completing the programme, students will also receive a post-study work permit to work in Australia, which will help them gain international work experience. As a part of this collaboration, the first year of the programme will be conducted at Great Lakes Institute of Management, at their Gurgaon and Chennai campuses in India. Students who successfully complete the first year would then progress into either of the degrees and complete years 2 and 3 on-shore in Australia. The partners will further explore developing similar pathway programmes in other emerging study areas with an aim to expand innovative learning options for the students in India. Read More.


Cambridge University, UAE in talks on partnership

The University of Cambridge is in talks with the United Arab Emirates, and according to media reports, their partnership will provide for the university’s biggest donation and the creation of a joint innovation institute. UAE has pledged to commit USD 430.62 million, the biggest single donation by far to the university. The UAE-Cambridge Innovation Institute will begin as a virtual entity and culminate in “a physical footprint” in the UAE with its own staff and joint UAE and University of Cambridge branding. The partnership will focus on education, Arabic literacy, Islamic art, culture and research on a post-fossil fuel economy. Read More.

© 2008-2021 Sannam S4 | Sitemap | Privacy Notice