The impact of COVID-19 on higher education: a review of emerging evidence

02/06/2021

The European Commission's Network of Experts on the Social Dimension of Education and Training (NESET) has published an analytical report entitled The Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education: A Review of the Emerging Evidence. The report provides a synthesis of the emerging evidence from 64 surveys, articles and reports on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on teaching and learning, on educational inequality and on student mobility. 

The impact of COVID-19 on higher education: a review of emerging evidence

The report concludes with policy recommendations on actions to be taken at the level of higher education systems and by higher education institutions themselves. The publication and its summary are available at: https://bit.ly/3uCUUMA.The report provides a synthesis of the emerging evidence from 64 surveys, articles and reports on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on teaching and learning, on educational inequality and on student mobility. The report concludes with policy recommendations on actions to be taken at the level of higher education systems and by higher education institutions themselves.

The NESET analytical report examines both the current impact of COVID-19 on higher education and its likely impact in the medium term (till 2025). The report concludes that the following actions should be taken at the level of higher education systems (by transnational, national or regional authorities) to address the identified challenges caused by COVID-19:

• support higher education institutions to upgrade and redesign their curricula for online delivery and ensure the necessary infrastructure for such delivery.

• set up system-level schemes to further support access, retention and completion of underrepresented, vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in higher education.

• stimulate the goal of international collaboration in higher education by redirecting funds originally intended for physical mobility to solutions such as ‘internationalisation at home’ strategies, and high-quality virtual mobility.

The report also identifies actions to be taken and actions to be taken at the level of higher education institutions (by university leaders, teaching staff and student support services):

• support both academic staff and students to better adapt teaching/learning in an online environment; ensure more flexibility to enable students to successfully achieve their learning outcomes.

• provide additional academic, psychological and financial support to vulnerable groups of students to prevent their disengagement and drop-out.

• set up support measures to ensure that international students receive appropriate academic and psychological support and that they have equal access to online learning tools.

Authors:
Thomas Farnell, Higher Education Policy Expert, Institute for the Development of Education (Croatia)
Ana SKLEDAR MATIJEVIĆ, Higher Education Project Manager, Institute for the Development of Education (Croatia)
Ninoslav ŠĆUKANEC SCHMIDT, Executive Director, Institute for the Development of Education (Croatia)

PEER-REVIEWERS:
Josep M. VILALTA, Director, Global University Network for Innovation (GUNi) and Executive Secretary of the Catalan Association of Public Universities (ACUP)
Dragana AVRAMOV, NESET Scientific Coordinator

Summaries of the report are available in English, French and German here. For further information about the report, please contact Thomas Farnell tfarnell@iro.hr

Partners

  • UNESCO. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
  • The Catalan Association of Public Universities (ACUP)

Sponsored by

  • Generalitat de Catalunya