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UNESCO Survey on COVID-19 and Tertiary Education

UNESCO Survey on COVID-19 and Tertiary Education

UNESCO recently conducted a global survey on COVID-19 and higher education systems. The survey was addressed to 193 Member States and 11 Associate Members. Sixty-five countries submitted responses, fifty-seven of which were used for the analysis. As per the landing page for the report, key findings are as follows:

  • 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.