EduChat March 2020 Edition 1

Dear Reader,

We are happy to present EduChat—the first edition of March 2020—to apprise you of key developments in the higher education space.

As scientists and researchers across the globe are trying to develop an anti-coronavirus vaccine, an increasing number of universities aim to develop innovative solutions to address local and regional problems.

Technology and innovation have been a ray of hope to higher education amidst the spread of coronavirus outbreak to 77 countries apart from China restricting global mobility. Digital platforms have provided an opportunity for students to continue with their studies at home through virtual lessons and graduates to secure employment through online job fairs.

Higher education institutes continue to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability to compete in the ever-changing external environment. The universities are working individually or in a consortium to meet their sustainability goals of generating clean energy and building sustainable infrastructure and communities.

Thank you in advance for your feedback which would help us to improve the quality and impact of the forthcoming issues.

Happy Reading!!

Sannam S4 Annual SDG Conclave 2020

India, home to one-sixth of all humanity, contributes to 20% 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. Sannam S4 recognises that the discourse on SDGs cannot be complete without universities, non-profits and corporates playing a leading role since they serve as critical hubs of innovation, research, and capacity-building across borders. To kick-start the conversation, Sannam S4 is organising a two-day conclave convening the leading Indian and International organisations who are working together to make an impact on the SDGs.

Sustainability Goals

The University of Pittsburgh commits to carbon neutrality 

The University of Pittsburgh is accelerating its sustainability plan by aiming to become carbon neutral by 2037—through partnerships, increased building and infrastructure efficiencies, expanded use of renewable energy sources and other measures on the campus.

Centennial College, Canada to have first zero-carbon, mass timber higher-education building

Centennial College is collaborating with EllisDon, DIALOG and Smoke Architecture on a USD 105 million expansion—based on the concept of “two-eyed seeing”—to reflect its commitment to sustainable design.

Solar Partnership will help Lehigh offset 100% of electric emissions

Lehigh University, Lafayette College, Muhlenberg College, and Dickinson College have signed a 15-year virtual power purchase agreement to buy renewable energy that will be generated by a newly-constructed 200-plus-acre solar farm in Texas. The action illustrates a collaborative approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to meet individual climate goals and to support the transition to clean energy.

Practitioner Series: Volume 6

Coronavirus Crisis and Digital Education Preparedness

The global coronavirus epidemic has significantly disrupted the International Higher Education Sector. With student and faculty movement mobility being brought to a halt, many university campuses have closed down completely. As a result, fully-online courses quickly have taken center stage as an alternative for teaching and learning. As the coronavirus began spreading from China to more countries including the US, important questions have surfaced for leaders, faculty, and administrators of universities with an international operation. In the latest volume of Practitioner Series  Ms. Hongxia Liu, Director (Non-Executive) at Sannam S4 details what to expect and how to prepare in terms of opportunities and challenges as associated with digital education, and how best to support faculty and students in such a crisis situation

Digital Future

How technology is changing the future of Higher Education 

With artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and other innovations that could improve learning and lower costs for Generation Z, the future of universities is not lined with falling enrollment, financial challenges and closing campuses. Rather it paves the path for a subscription instead of enrollment, a linguistic study in VR foreign streetscapes, AI teaching assistants and control of digital transcripts that record student-life achievement.

Funding Opportunities

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a funding opportunity to establish a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in security technology transition

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is seeking proposals from accredited US universities to educate and build the capabilities of DHS employees. The DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has announced a funding opportunity for a new DHS Center of Excellence (COE) to develop a Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme focused on transitioning security technology from research and development to operational use. The US universities with existing high-quality MBA programmes are eligible to apply. The Request for Proposal (RFP) has a deadline for submitting a Phase I Proposal by 5 March 2020. The Phase II proposals should be submitted on or before 26 March 2020.

Super Stats

Higher education spotlight on Asia report—2019-20

The international higher education landscape is typically characterised by west-bound student mobility outflow from the East. This trend might change as students in the East increasingly looking to study intra-regionally, suggesting that mobility patterns may become more reciprocal in the coming years. This report will delve into these emergent trends, exploring the key destination choices and study motivations of Asian applicants in Indonesia, Malaysia, and China. The report investigates how destination choices are influenced by a variety of factors, delving into the process students undertake when selecting a degree, as well as applicant motivations and the impact of subject choices. Some of the key highlights are:

  • 61% of applicants have chosen friends as their key influencer, followed by employers (53%) and family (50%)
  • The university’s career support (41%) and the university’s reputation amongst employers (38%) were cited as the most important factors for prospective applicants when selecting a university
  • Business and management is the most popular subject choice in Shanghai (78%), followed by Beijing (71%), and Jakarta (70%) 


Five lessons for the future of universities

The World Economic Forum shares its thoughts for universities striving to keep pace with rapid changes around it. These are forward-looking views on the following topics for universities to ponder as they look towards their future:

Skilling || Social mobility || Sustainability || Ranking and evaluation || Reconciliation of past with the present

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

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

Regional News

Latin America

NEOMA business school opens an office covering the whole of Latin America in Colombia

NEOMA, a French B-school is opening a new office in Colombia, to facilitate the recruitment of students from Latin America. Leveraging its partnerships in Latin America, NEOMA is focusing its recruitment strategy on the principal LATAM markets to double the student sourcing results over the next four years.

Chile teacher training programme brings green science to life in indigenous regions in a university

A teaching programme in Chile is leveraging indigenous knowledge to use science and education for sustainable development. The programme began in 2013, backed by Siemens Stiftung and developed by the Centre for Local Development (CEDEL-UC, the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile) to make science more pertinent to social good in the region.

South Asia

More Pakistani students now opting to study in the US universities

Compared to the previous year, the number of Pakistani students at US universities has increased by 5.6% in the year 2019–20 due to the rising trend of studying abroad among Pakistani youth. Nearly 8,000 Pakistani students study at universities and colleges across the United States and the number is expected to rise further. According to the Institute of International Education’s 2019 Open Doors report, Pakistan was among the world’s fastest-growing emerging market places of origin for students in the United States.

MoU signed between parliament of Sri Lanka and UGC Sri Lanka for research and data mobilisation

A Memorandum of Understanding is signed between Parliament of Sri Lanka and the University Grants Commission (UGC, Sri Lanka) for research and data mobilisation. The main objectives of this MoU are…

…to develop a repository of research findings of state universities for the past 10 years from the date of this agreement with access to the parliament

…to enable UGC to present the latest findings every six months to the parliament and table it as public information.

International Rice Research Institute and the Agriculture and Forestry University in Nepal signed an MoU to further research

International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Agriculture and Forestry University (AFU) in Nepal signed a Memorandum of Understanding to further research and academic cooperation in the agriculture and forestry sectors of Nepal. To MoU proposes joint training programmes, collaborative research projects, access to agricultural research and educational facilities, and exchange of knowledge and expertise by way of faculty, researchers, and students.

Country News


Ministry of Education vows to help graduates find jobs amid COVID-19

The Chinese Ministry of Education vowed to mobilise more efforts to ensure the employment of college graduates affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The Ministry of Education has shifted to a virtual recruitment fair approach with 12 online fairs completed and 18 more scheduled. The Ministry has also been working on plans to provide special services for graduates from Hubei Province whose graduation might be affected for an even longer time.

UCA (University of Creative Arts) campus aims to enhance China’s creativity drive

The UK-based University for the Creative Arts (UCA) has set-up its new campus in Xiamen. Despite the coronavirus epidemic, the institute in Xiamen is on track to start its inaugural term this September—although there may be slight delays depending on the status of the outbreak. About 300 undergraduates are expected to enrol in programmes in digital media technology, visual communication design, advertising and environmental design.


Human Resource Development Minister launches UKIERI-UGC Higher Education Leadership Development Programme

The Union Minister for Human Resource Development launched ‘Higher Education Leadership Development Programme for Administrator’—a joint initiative of UGC (University Grants Commission) and British Council under the auspices of the UK India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI), which aims to deliver a leadership development programme for middle and senior-level administrative functionaries in Indian Universities.

Tezpur University focuses on rural transformation

As part of the Unnat Bharat Abhiyan (UBA), an initiative undertaken by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India which is aimed at bringing about rural transformation by engaging the knowledge, skill, and expertise of higher educational institutions across the country, Tezpur University held a village meeting to facilitate development of sustainable communities.

Indian edtech upGrad aims USD 100 million in annual revenue

upGrad, Mumbai-based edtech start-up, is planning to expand its base by focusing more on tier III towns. The online HE platform presently gets 60% of its users from tier I cities and plans to capture the tier 2 and 3 markets through local university partnerships to achieve USD 100 million revenue in 2020.

Indian students offered attractive scholarships by Sydney University

To strengthen the university’s relationship with India, Sydney University has invited applications from Indian students under the Sydney Scholars India Scholarship Programme 2020. A total of 28 scholarships ranging between AUD 10,000 to AUD 50, 000 will be awarded across the UG and PG study level.


Department of Higher Education is reshaping Malaysia’s tertiary education system

The tertiary education system in Malaysia needs an overhaul to skill its workforce with expertise relevant in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In 2019, the Department of Higher Education dropped 38 irrelevant programmes in 19 public universities. This is done to ensure that all academic courses in public universities are completely relevant to the in-demand jobs in the future.


The UAE University launches innovation lab ‘My Idea Space’

The UAE University has launched ‘My Idea Space’ for students, faculty members and staff to find innovative solutions to modern-day challenges. The lab organises workshops, lectures and events to grant students access to the latest technologies and innovative methods for creative thinking and development of realistic innovative solutions to local and regional challenges.

UAE ministry inks partnership deal with Arizona university

The Ministry of Economy, UAE has signed a memorandum of understanding with Arizona State University (ASU) in the field of innovation and small and medium enterprises (SME). The MoU presents an important opportunity for business leaders and owners of SMEs in the country to benefit from the pioneering experiences of the University and its partners in the private sector in various fields related to innovation.

More than 1,000 students apply for study at the Mohamed bin Zayed University in Abu Dhabi

More than 1,000 students are applying for study at the world’s first dedicated artificial intelligence university in Abu Dhabi—Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI). The university will provide all admitted students with a full scholarship, plus benefits such as a monthly allowance, health insurance, and accommodation.


Project to better research and education at Vietnam Japan University (VJU) inked in Hanoi

An agreement to enhance the education, research and university management capacity of Vietnam Japan University (JVU) was signed between the university and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Hanoi. The newly-inked project—also known as TC2—is expected to be conducted in a five-year period i.e. March 2020–March 2025. Under the scope of the TC2 project, several activities are slated to be held, including the development and implementation of high-quality training programmes for the university and master and PhD levels based on strengths of Japanese partner universities and Vietnam’s needs.

© 2008-2021 Sannam S4 | Sitemap | Privacy Notice