Dear Reader,

This newsletter carries a selection of curated articles from India, South Asia, China, 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 July 2021.

Stay Safe.

Editorial Team

Sustainability Goals

The University of Sydney launches Sustainable Investment Strategy

The University’s Sustainable Investment Strategy 2030 forms part of our broader commitment to climate action and our vision to create a more sustainable future. Building on progress made over several years to decarbonize their share portfolio, the University will continue working with the portfolio managers to align their investment practices with their goals under the updated strategy, and seek to influence the higher education sector and society more broadly to improve sustainable investment strategies. The actions and targets in the strategy will enable the University to meet the overall goal: to ensure its portfolio is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, and Net Zero by 2050, making it among the first universities globally to make such a commitment. The new strategy provides an initial roadmap with underlying targets and milestones, which will be further refined. By the end of 2021, the University will have established and communicated clear milestones and methodologies to assess their performance, using carbon transition methodology based on the Transition Pathway Initiative, a global initiative driven by the London School of Economics (LSE). Read More.

Wageningen University: WUR Approach for Effective Sustainability Programmes in the Agri-Food Sector

Wageningen University & Research (WUR) has developed a five-step approach that could help food-producing companies create effective sustainability programs together with supplying farmers. The approach is aimed at transparency between all parties regarding the efforts required to achieve sustainability goals. The researchers state that many companies are searching for sustainability. They recommend (international) cooperation and the adoption of existing experiences and practices. It is important to avoid reinventing the wheel over and over again. In the dairy industry, for example, modes of operation are exchanged within the networks around the Dairy Sustainability Framework and within the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform. The researchers indicate that they also partly regard organizing this exchange as a public task because accelerating sustainability is a public interest and companies’ competitive interests sometimes stand in the way of exchange. Read More.

University of Dayton sustainability expertise contributes to Vatican Laudato Si’ Action Platform to track progress on environment goals

The University of Dayton provided sustainability expertise to the Vatican in the development of the Laudato Si’ Action Platform to help track goals from Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical on the environment. The online platform’s soft launch is May 25, with a full launch in early October. The encyclical’s goals include: work toward carbon neutrality; defend human life; engage in sustainable production, fair trade, ethical consumption and investments; reduce use of energy and resources; redesign education around integral ecology. Read more.

Digital Future

Future of School: Hybrid Learning Models are Here to Stay Post-Pandemic

As schools across the US wrap up another unusual school year, most K-12 education is still being facilitated with remote learning. However, educators are beginning to see the long-term value in a hybrid approach to teaching, according to AT&T’s* 2021 Future of School Report.

  • 94% of teachers are open to the idea of hybrid learning with the proper resources, curriculum, and support
  • 71% of teachers support virtual days for inclement weather
  • 78% of teachers are in favor of virtual tutoring sessions or enrichment programs
  • 60% of teachers are open to live-streaming their classrooms for students who are homesick

These sentiments are consistent across teachers of all grade levels and low- and high-income schools, as well as parents:

  • 83% of parents support virtual school days for inclement weather
  • 84% of parents support virtual tutoring or enrichment programs
  • 85% of parents want the option for their kids who are homesick to join class virtually

Today, 66% of teachers and parents say that students are still learning either fully remote or in a hybrid format. While remote learning got off to a rocky start, with 43% of teachers noting their experience a year ago was challenging, many have adapted to this new environment and learned tips, tricks, and best practices to navigate virtual classrooms. Additionally, 48% of teachers voice a need for curricula better suited for hybrid or online teaching. Assistance from administrators was widely acknowledged by teachers with 83%. Read More.

Super Stats

Report – Education & Training Sector in India

India’s education sector offers a great opportunity with ~26.31% of India’s population in the age group of 0 to 14 years. The education sector in India is expected to reach US$ 180 billion in FY20. India’s higher education segment is expected to increase to Rs. 2,44,824 crore (US$ 35.03 billion) by 2025. India was ranked 34 among the 100 countries in English Proficiency Index 2019. Increasing internet penetration is expected to help in education delivery. India has over 250 million school-going students, more than any other country. It also has one of the largest networks of higher education institutions in the world. The number of colleges in India reached 39,931 in FY19. The number of universities in India reached 967 in FY21 (until December 2020). India had 37.4 million students enrolled in higher education in 2018-19. Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education reached 26.3% in FY19. Higher education institutes in India are focussing on creating online programmes due to the increasing demand from consumers. In India, the online education market is forecast to reach ~US$ 11.6 billion by 2026.

Key insights from the report:

  • As per the Union Budget 2021-22, under the NISHTHA training programme around 5.6 million teachers are to be trained in 2020-21.
  • According to the Union Budget 2021-22, the government allocated US$ 7.53 billion for the Department of School Education and Literacy, compared with US$ 8.56 billion in Union Budget 2020-21.
  • The government allocated an expenditure budget of US$ 5.28 billion for higher education and US$ 7.56 billion for school education and literacy. The government also allocated US$ 413.12 million under Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA).
  • Under the Union Budget 2021-22, the government has placed major emphasis on strengthening the country’s digital infrastructure for education by setting up the National Digital Educational Architecture (NDEAR).
  • On January 15, 2021, the third phase of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) was launched in 600 districts with 300+ skill courses. Spearheaded by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, the third phase will focus on new-age and COVID-related skills. PMKVY 3.0 aims to train 800 thousand candidates.

Read the report here.


Survey suggests US higher education will bounce back in 2022

Funding is top of mind for prospective international students when selecting higher education courses in the US while access to admissions departments at institutions is “pivotal”, research carried out by marketing specialist Keystone Academic Solutions has found. Of the 5,851 visitors to Keystone websites surveyed, 48% were interested in master’s programmes, 21% bachelors, 13% doctoral and 12% certificate or diploma programmes. Similarly, an IDP survey of 800 prospective students earlier this year, suggested that 76% of prospective students said the election of Biden improved their perception of the US as a study destination. The survey also found that 80% will apply to two or more institutions which Keystone said indicates a competitive market – a recent Navitas survey also revealed that agents have been recommending clients to prepare alternative backup study options. Key motivations for studying in the US the 8,500+ prospective students was led by 38% nodding to the ability to live & work in the US after graduation, 37% highlighted the reputation of degree/institution in the US followed by 32% saying the experience of studying in the US. Career opportunities in the home country after graduation and flexibility in studies (part-time work, internships) followed thereafter with 30% and 28%, respectively. The survey also found that primary concerns were around the costs of studies. 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. Know more.

Sannam S4 High School Counselling Excellence Network

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

Sannam S4 & ASSCU Scholarship Workshop Know more.

EdTech Developments

Edtech startup upGrad to hire 1000 people in India in next 3 months

Global online higher education provider upGrad said it will onboard 1,000 employees in the next three months in India from more than 100 campuses, including metros and tier 2 and 3 cities, as the pandemic hits the job market in the country. The opportunities are available across departments like a learning experience, delivery, marketing, and programme, along with sales which will remain predominant. The edtech startup said that it will also hire people from its own learners’ talent pool through its subsidiary upGrad Rekrut, which is a recruitment and staffing solutions firm. Read More.

Edtech Startup Ringle Raises US$18 Million

As Edtech startups continue to rake in investment with the newfound demand for remote learning, Ringle, the South Korea-based provider of one-on-one English tutoring lessons and a member of Born2Global Centre, has raised US$18 million Series A funding led by Must Asset Management. The company started the round with US$9 million funding in late March and closed the round in early June with a total amount of US$18 million, the second-largest Series A funding amount in the history of English education startups. The company is valued at US$90 million. Participating investors also included One-asset management, Xoloninvest, and MoCA Ventures. Over 90 percent of the funding came from investors that participated in previous rounds. Ringle’s revenue has grown three times every year since its founding and currently, the company has over 700 manually vetted tutors and 100,000 users, 30% of whom are based outside of Korea. Lessons bookings increased by 390% in comparison with the previous year. Ringle will utilize series A to develop original educational content and grow teams at its headquarters in Seoul, Korea, and San Mateo, CA. The company is keen to diversify revenue sources by providing a subscription option to access premium content. Ringle will push for client expansion both globally and to different age groups. It will drive growth in the U.S. and other countries with large student bases such as the U.K., Japan, Australia, and Singapore. With its junior program launching in the second half of the year, the company will also seek growth in the younger student base, aged 10 and above. Read More.

Edtech startup Leverage Edu raises US$2 Million in debt round from Trifecta Capital

New Delhi-based foreign university admissions platform, Leverage Edu on announced that it had raised $2 million in a debt financing round from venture debt firm Trifecta Capital. According to the official statement, the funds will be used to fuel the company’s growth and make further inroads into the interiors of India, apart from accelerating product innovation in line with their student-first approach. This is Leverage Edu’s first debt raise. The startup has so far raised over $10 million with the closure of this round of investment. Earlier this year, the company had raised $6.5 million as part of its Series A funding, which was led by Tomorrow Capital and backed by existing investors Blume Ventures and DSG Consumer Partners. 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 Rican Schools and Universities Become Vaccination Centers against Covid-19

Accelerating the vaccination process and ending with some priority groups, is the reason why universities and schools have become provisional vaccination centers against Covid-19 in Costa Rica. The headquarters of the Universidad Latina and the Universidad Americana (UAM) in Heredia and Guápiles are also operating as vaccination centers during the month of June. In these universities, health personnel will be vaccinating people between 40 and 57 years old. Read More.

Cuba- Three Cuban universities among the most prestigious in the world

Three Cuban higher education centers are today among the 1,300 most prestigious centers in the world, according to the latest QS World University Rankings by the British company Quacquarelli Symonds. The best-ranked university is the University of Havana (UH), which occupies the range 501-510. It is followed by the ‘Marta Abreu’ University of las Villas (UCLV, located at numbers from 521 to 530, while the Technological University of Havana José Antonio Echeverría (Cujae) is on the thousand scales.  Read More.

South Asia

Bangladesh: University of Asia Pacific inks deal with Turkish university

The University of Asia Pacific (UAP) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for increased partnership with Ondokus Mayis University (OMU), Turkey, through an online ceremony. The MoU has several objectives, including administratively and within academics, research collaboration, exchange programmes, and other educational, scientific, and cultural projects, including joint-degree programmes. Read More.

Pakistan: MoU signed between Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Sichuan University of China for coop in research

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan and the Sichuan Agriculture University of China for cooperation and collaboration in research activities and faculty exchange. The two universities agreed to set up a China-Pakistan Crop Research Center to conduct research on high quality and high yielding crops. Under the exchange programme, teachers and students of both universities will visit each other and conduct teaching and research activities. Both the universities will hold joint conferences and training workshops and publish research journals. Read More.

Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka to sign MoUs with foreign universities to improve local universities global ranking

Sri Lanka plans to enter into memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with foreign universities with a view to building educational partnerships and improving the international ranking of local universities. According to a statement from the cabinet office, MoUs between the following local and international universities/institutes have been proposed: The University of Sri Jayawardhanapura and the Manipal Life Science Academy of the Manipal Higher Education Academy of India, The University of Peradeniya and the Agricultural Centre of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) on consolidated technology associational activities, The University of Colombo and the University Malaya in Malaysia, The University Grants Commission (UGC) of Sri Lanka with the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency of Australia for exchanging information, cooperation and institutional networking when standardising certification, The Agricultural Extension Studies Department of the Agriculture faculty of the University of Peradeniya and the Extension faculty of the University of Alberta, Canada. Read More.

South-East Asia

Malaysia: Research Partnership and Academic Collaboration between Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman and Toga Limited

TOGL Technology Sdn Bhd (TOGL Technology) participated in a virtual Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing ceremony with the Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), wholly owned by UTAR Education Foundation. The MOU provides both parties an opportunity to initiate joint projects such as research and development (R&D); organizing academic-based programmes such as short courses, seminars, talks, conferences and workshops; and other university-industry collaborative efforts, including collaborative projects, industry advisory ventures, industry visits, curriculum development, training, and consultancy. It will also facilitate industrial placement of UTAR students. The MOU also includes facilitating and supporting UTAR students to conduct research on Toga Limited’s exclusive technology, Toga Resonance Technology (T-RT), explore the T-RT effects on human well-being, and document any findings in a research report. Read More.

Singapore: NUS and NTU named Asia’s best universities in annual ranking

Globally, NUS has come in 11th, keeping its spot from last year, while NTU has moved up a notch to 12th place in a league table comparing 1,300 universities. This is the fourth consecutive year NUS has held the No. 1 position among Asian universities in the Britain-based company’s rankings. After NUS and NTU, the highest-ranked Asian universities on the chart are China’s Tsinghua and Peking universities, placed 17th and 18th, respectively. Read More.

Vietnam: Uniba Balikpapan Signs International Cooperation with BAC Lieu University

The agreement aims to promote and develop academic, cultural and cooperative research based on equality and mutual benefit. International collaboration between universities is needed to motivate universities to develop strong connections that can assist student research, give students the advantage to expand their experience of traditions and cultures of people from other countries, as well as partners in conducting research programs and academic activities. The cooperation between Uniba and BAC Lieu University can exchange information in order to develop teaching, students and research that leads to improving the quality of each higher education institution. Read More.

Philippines: Seven universities ink cooperation pact with Canada’s ‘USask’

The Philippine Consulate General (PCG) in Calgary has welcomed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between seven Philippine universities dubbed as the “Magic 7” and one of Canada’s most prestigious educational institutions, the University of Saskatchewan (USask). Under the MOU, the parties will collaborate on several areas, including in the exchanges and internships for students, faculty, and staff, and in joint research and development projects. The Philippine universities that form part of the Magic 7 are Benguet State University; Central Luzon State University; Central Mindanao University; Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University; Mariano Marcos State University; Mountain Province State Polytechnic College; and University of Southeastern Philippines. Read More.

Japan: Mariano Marcos State University, Seirei Christopher University, Japan partner for international exchanges

Seirei Christopher University has partnered with Mariano Marcos State University to promote international exchanges particularly in the field of health sciences instruction, research and community development starting this year. Citing the MoU both universities have committed to enhance their health sciences programs through the exchange of faculty and scholars, academic information and materials and periodic academic publications. Read More.

Country News


Chandigarh University inks MoU with New York Film Academy 

World’s leading film school New York Film Academy (NYFA) signed an academic MoU with Chandigarh University. As a part of agreement, Indian students can now pursue globally recognised Under-Graduate 3 years degree in Film Making from New York Film Academy by studying first year of the programme at Chandigarh University while studying the remaining two years at the New York Academy, USA. Read More.

World University of Design Signs MOU With Top UK University For Research & Academic Collaboration

World University of Design has further widened the horizons for its students to delve deeper in getting first-hand experience with one of the top universities in the UK and the world – University of Reading. The agreement will apply to a whole range of collaboration areas ranging from Arts, Film & theatre to Communication Design, Architecture & Management. By way of collaborative research, teaching is expected to become multi-faceted and much more enriching. The understanding between the two universities will promote staff and student exchanges and ensure mobility of qualified students from one institution to the other for the purpose of enrolling in undergraduate and graduate programmes. With research at its core and rigorous academic work by affiliated teachers in their respective domains, the exchange programme will help opening newer avenues for students. Read More.


Novelis Inks Memorandum of Understanding With China’s Tsinghua University On Automotive Aluminium R&D

The Atlanta’s rolled aluminium firm Novelis said that its operations in the Peoples Republic of China has linked up with one of the country’s top universities in an agreement to collaborate on increasing the use of aluminium in the country’s automotive industry. Novelis’s Shanghai Customer Solution Center (CSC) will be working with the Tsinghua University Suzhou Automotive Research Institute (TSARI) on the task of increasing the industry’s already-rapid acceptance of aluminium in production. The agreement will have the organizations partnering on body-in-white applications for the entire range of automotive products, both electric and conventionally powered varieties. Read More.

UNITAR, Tsinghua University and University of Geneva to Join Forces to Set Global Stand-ards for SDG Education and Open Innovation

The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the Geneva School of Economics and Management of the University of Geneva and the School of Economics and Management of Tsinghua University have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set global standards for SDG Education and Open Innovation. The Agreement formalizes and enhances the ongoing collaboration between the signatory parties towards promoting the education and practice of open innovation for the SDGs and developing relevant standardization and governance models for the Global Goals and the Agenda 2030. Read More.


American University of Sharjah (AUS) signs research and exchange MoU with leading European technical university

More universities in the UAE have eased admission procedures, much to the relief of incoming freshmen who have been anxious about their board exams that are either delayed or cancelled due to the pandemic situation. Offering provisional admissions, universities have started taking in students for the upcoming session in September. Premier institutions are also extending financial support and scholarships to achievers who deserve them. Through the  BITS Pilani Dubai Campus scholarship scheme, almost 80 per cent of all enrollees could avail of some sort of scholarship that would apply not only to tuition fees but also to hostel fee concessions. Capital College has also started sending out offer letters to prospective students, based on their provisional results along with other certifications and extracurriculars. Read More.

Tel Aviv University, UAE to set up a joint initiative for water research

Tel Aviv University and an unnamed university in the UAE have signed a memorandum of understanding to set up a joint Israeli-Emirati Water Research Institute. The institute will have researchers focusing on finding water resources and solutions for desert areas and will also enable student and faculty exchange programmes. This is a first agreement between Tel Aviv University and an entity in the UAE, she said, calling it significant in scope and in content. The new institute will be working in close collaboration with the Moshe Mirilashvili Institute for Applied Water Studies at Tel Aviv University. Read More.

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