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COVID-19: Higher Education challenges and responses

The International Association of Universities continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation globally.

The IAU Report on the Second Global Survey on the Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education is available here.

The Report offers you global and regional perspectives, from both public and private HEIs with replies coming from 496 HEIs in 112 countries and territories. Institutional responses highlight the impact of the pandemic on higher education governance, teaching and learning, research, and community/societal engagement. The survey results generate concern about the future for some institutions but also stress several positive outcomes, where the crisis has brought about new opportunities and possibilities.

Please use the Report for your institutional and sector planning purposes and for research, T&L and even community engagement initiatives. We thank you for citing and sharing the Report. JackpotCity - rassemble le meilleur du casino mobile et en ligne.

IAU has published several reports on the impact of COVID-19:

IAU also published a joint paper in collaboration with the Erasmus Student Network on COVID-19 Impact on Higher Education: Institutional and Students Perspectives.

Below are resources pages compiled by IAU, offering information about: developments regarding the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on universities, recommendations and initiatives, opportunities to engage or exchange, and a selection of recent country-based and international news items on the subject.

HEIs and organisations from around the world engaged in developing responses to COVID-19 are invited to share these through this channel as well.

Follow us on Twitter @IAU_IAU and tweet about your institution/organization’s initiatives to fight COVID-19 using: #IAUcovid19


On this page, please find some of the recommendations for higher education institutions to carry on with teaching and learning activities during this socio-economic, cultural and health crisis and also on how to address the future.



United Nations launches the UN Secretary-General Policy Brief ‘Education during COVID-19 and beyond’(August, 2020). OECD has released Education Responses to COVID-19: Implementing a Way Forward. The paper proposes a framework and recommendations to help governments form and implement strategy for education responses to COVID-19 (July, 2020). World Bank published the report The COVID-19 Pandemic: Shocks to Education and Policy Responses (July, 2020).


Association of Indian Universities published a COVID-19 response Toolkit for Indian Higher Education Institutions: Institutional Resilience for academic planning and continuity. Educause has created a resource page to help higher education institutions plan for possible campus disruption by COVID-19. Pakistan Higher Education Commission has posted a Strategy for Gradual Reopening of HEIs. The document outlines a reopening plan that draws on strategies adopted by universities worldwide (September, 2020). New Policy Guidance for the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), following the Government’s decision regarding continuation of education during the 2nd wave of COVID-19 (November 2020) Seven Seas Worldwide regularly updates An International Student’s Guide to UK University (COVID-19) to help share useful advice and information on the impact of COVID-19 on young people’s mental wellbeing.
The Maldives Qualifications Authority (MQA) has issued the Covid-19 and aftermath: Guidance for Higher Education Providers on Standards and Quality.United States Agency for International Development released the Higher Education Response to COVID-19: A Landscape Map of USAID Partner Countries (October 2020).United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regularly updates a resources page on Colleges, Universities, and Higher Learning Plan, Prepare, and Respond.Universities UK regularly updates a portal on Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Information for universities.
UK Department for Education has updated its Guidance for universities to help universities make campuses as safe as possible for students and staff as part of their wider COVID-secure measures (December, 2020).

  • ON-IT consortium
    The report Experiences of Virtual Internship in Europe presents the results of the mapping activity of online internship experiences provided by EU universities during COVID-19 pandemic. It shows the great potential of virtual internships and includes a set of recommendations aimed at improving them.

  • Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO):
    On the occasion of the international Day of Education - 24 January 2022 - SEAMEO, organized a special webinar themed Changing Course, Transforming Education to discuss the educational transformation brought by COVID- 19 pandemic, especially in the implementation of internationalization programmes, internship programmes and academic mobility. A video recording is available here:

  • USA
    The consulting firm EAB has released the white paper The Pandemic Ripple Effect: Four Potential Long-Term Impacts on College Enrollment and Student Success. It offers data and recommended action steps to prepare for the long-term impacts that the pandemic may have on higher education due to: Social disengagement; Student mental health; Transfer availability; Unfinished K-12 learning. It can be downloaded from this page.


In this tab you will find information on how organizations monitor the impact of COVID-19 on the higher education community. A selection of survey reports on the impact of COVID-19 is also presented.




The IAU survey report on the impact of Covid-19 on higher education showed that one of the key challenges encountered by higher education institutions was the sudden shift to distance learning. This challenge comes with different dimensions, most particularly the technical infrastructure, the support tools to use for distance learning, assimilating online teaching pedagogies and finally how to organize and manage exams and student assessments from distance. IAU has made a selection of useful resources in order to respond to these challenges.



  • UNESCO International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (IESALC):
    UNESCO IESALC released a report entitled Moving minds: Opportunities and challenges for virtual student mobility in a post-pandemic world. Based on 14 case studies, it examines the possibilities that virtual student mobility presents, its advantages and limitations, and provides a series of recommendations on how incorporating it as an additional form of student mobility that can play a critical role in reshaping higher education internationalization in the post-pandemic landscape.
World Bank : Remote Learning, Distance Education and Online Learning: A Resource List >


Conference of Principals of Spanish Universities (CRUE) in collaboration with the distance learning universities UNED and UOC, has launched a portal with a series of recommendations and advice for planning and structuring teaching by distance (the portal is in Spanish). Commonwealth of Learning (COL) has released “Guidelines on Distance Education during COVID-19” with policy advice and practical tips on the use of distance-education methods, tools and appropriate technology as a response to the COVID-19 crisis and a Guide to Blended Learning. Deaking University (Australia) offers a free online course: Transforming Digital Learning: Learning Design Meets Service Design (estimated time required: 6 hours). European Maturity Model for Blended Education (EMBED) is a framework which can be used to assess conceptual or implementation issues regarding blended learning, teaching and education. It indicates which dimensions are relevant for lecturers and educators, but also institutions, policymakers and educational centres.
Indiana University proposes a page with resources for assessments and final exams from distance. It includes examples for moving exams online as well as developing alternative assessment forms during this time of crisis.
  • American Council on Education (ACE):
    The brief 2021 Fall Term Pulse Point Survey of College and University Presidents, Part II
    Summarizes key findings of the November 2021 survey, conducted among 113 college and university presidents to identify their most pressing current concerns and share their views about the impact of political discourse on their institution’s ability to implement COVID-19 mitigation measures.


This tab contains a selection of recent news on actions taken around the globe to respond to the current health crisis.


- UNESCO held a GEM meeting on 13 July
From recovery to accelerating SDG 4 progress: 2021 Global Education Meeting - Ministerial Segment

- UN High-Level Political Forum on "Sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that promotes the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development: building an inclusive and effective path for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda in the context of the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development". IAU is actively participating in side events (July, 2021)

- A time for innovation in international HE post COVID-19 (February, 2021).

- Mental scars caused by on-campus teaching in pandemic may not heal (February, 2021).

- Unión de Universidades de América Latina y el Caribe (UDUAL):
Union of Universities of Latin America and the Caribbean (UDUAL) presented number 14 of the Cuadernos de Universidades collection, entitled “Universidades en Pandemia”, a collection of articles addressing the different ways in which universities from the region dealt with the pandemic.


Select region of interest: Africa - Arab States - Asia and the Pacific - Europe - Latin America - North America

- Africa

International students stranded online (February, 2021).

- Arab States

- Asia and the Pacific

Asian Development Bank published the note COVID-19 and Education in Asia and the Pacific. It provides guidance to help developing countries address the disruptions caused by COVID-19 pandemic but also identifies critical policy reforms and concrete actions - framed as the three Rs - Response, Recovery, and Rejuvenation (January, 2021).

- Department of Education, Skills and Employment of Australia/Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education
Sessions recordings of the five-part webinar series “Australia-Malaysia webinar series: Education & Research in the COVID-19 Era” - hosted 23-25 August 2021 - are now online. Topics addressed included: quality assurance in online education; assessment evaluation and integrity in online education; teaching VET online during COVID-19; research collaborations during COVID-19 pandemic; Professional Development and Employability in the Post-COVID-19 Era.

Private universities losing money ‘hand over fist’ (February, 2021).

- Europe

Universities look to EU’s €800B COVID-19 recovery fund to upgrade campuses

- Latin America

  • Unión de Universidades de América Latina y el Caribe (UDUAL):
    The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)’s School of Medicine received the UDUAL “Ciencia e Innovación en el combate contra la Covid-19” Award - given in recognition to higher education institutions that contributed during the 2020-2021 period to face the situation.

- North America

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This tab contains information on calls for application and webinars to support and learn how universities are addressing the challenges posed by the pandemic.


The International Association of Universities, in collaboration with several partners and Members, is pleased to offer a series of free webinars on the Future of Higher Education.


Rescheduled to take place on March 25, 2022, the UNESCO Youth as Researchers (YAR) Policy Conference on COVID-19 will discuss priority commitments and policy solutions that respond to the ways that COVID-19 has impacted youth. It aims to launch a multi-stakeholder global coalition to address the impact of the pandemic on youth and to secure tangible commitments to a Global Grant Scheme to sustainably support youth-led research and youth-led solutions to the crisis.

- Association of Arab Universities and Gulf Conferences
Digital transformation of the higher education sector in the time of COVID is one of the themes to be addressed at the “Middle East Education Thought Leadership Forum” organized virtually, on 25-27 October 2021 by the Association of Arab Universities and Gulf Conferences. (September 2021)

- Contact North, Tuesday, September 21, 2021 11:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. (Eastern Time): The Spark of Online Learning: How Technology and Emotion Science Invigorates Every Class.


Unión de Universidades de América Latina y el Caribe (UDUAL)
A call for participation has been launched for the UDUAL’s “Science and Innovation in the Fight against COVID-19” Award in recognition of the Higher Education Institutions that have contributed to face this critical social and health situation, Deadline for proposals: December 15, 2021.

International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) has launched the OER4Covid initiative which comprises a diverse group of almost 900 participants from 69 different countries. They are requesting help from educators to identify and prioritise local needs for open educational resources. To access the survey, please follow the link.

Institute of Applied Linguistics (University of Warsaw) invites to take part in a research investigating how language and linguistics teachers/instructors and students/learners have been coping with the transition to remote instruction. The survey is anonymous and will solely serve scientific purposes. It should take no more than 25-38 minutes to complete; around 85% of the questions are of the quick multiple-choice type.

There are different versions of the questionnaire:

for Language Teachers
for Linguistics Instructors and TAs
for Language Learners
for Linguistics Students
for Educators in subjects other than language

QS Quacquarelli Symonds invites to take part in a new survey for university staff as part of its commitment to providing the higher education sector with data-driven insights. To access the survey please follow this link.


Recordings and presentations from IAU’s webinars are available here.
May 3, 2021 Economic and Social Council: Partnership Forum, 2021 session

Theme: Partnership as a game changer for a sustainable recovery from COVID-19.

Offered by UN Economic and Social Council: Partnership Forum
See video

February 22, 2021: Access and Equity: what have we learnt from the pandemic and what should we be doing about it?

Offered by Magna Charta Observatory

January 18, 2021: Adapting to the New Reality – The Public Purpose of Universities in a Post-Covid19 World

Offered by Open Society University Network – Talloires Network Educational Partnership

December 7, 2020: The what, the how and the why of the pandemic

Offered by International Sciences Council

September 25, 2020: What happened during the Corona crisis?

Offered by Nordic Webinar Series


September 18, 2020: What are we learning from Covid 19?

Offered by Magna Charta Observatory

August 18 and 19, 2020: Impact of COVID-19 on Education

Offered by the RUDECOLOMBIA Doctorate in Educational Sciences of the University of Cartagena, Colombia.


August 18, 2020: Strategies and actions for returning to academic activities (Estrategias y acciones para el regreso a las actividades académicas)

Offered by UDUAL.

August 11, 2020: Choosing a Technology that Makes a Difference to Learning - Getting Past the Hype

Offered by Contact North/Contact Nord


July 20, 2020: Building Anti-Surveillance Ed-Tech! In Conversation with Audrey Watters

Offered by Contact North/Contact Nord.


July 14, 2020: Help your Students Succeed in Their Online Courses


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