Challenges, Opportunities and Responses to and by Higher Education Institutes Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic


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Universities and other tertiary education institutions are closed in 175 countries and communities, and over 220 million post-secondary students—13% of the total number of students affected globally—have had their studies ended or significantly disrupted due to COVID-19 (WB, April 2020). Many countries across the different regions of the world adopted with the need of closure of physical teaching to distance learning using online platforms, though issues of equity, arrangement, internet capacity, and instructional capacity immediately emerged as challenges in remote delivery. Other forms of distance learning such as email delivery/return of assignments, to utilising mail, TV, radio, phones and mobile applications where broadband is limited, to independent study—are being experimented with off-site learning potential and modalities (WB,2020). Very inadequate research is done in relation to the field of education on how COVID-19 affected the educational system (Bao, 2020; Sintema, 2020; Yan, 2020).

Hence, this paper aimed to explore the challenges (diminished resources, personal and academic challenges both from students and faculties perspectives, demand for improved infrastructure to support continued distance and blended learning models etc.) that educational institutes specifically the higher educational institutes are facing, the opportunities created and how the pandemic is bringing a lot of changes in the nature of working of the educational systems and their responses to mitigate the crisis in the entire world using secondary data. Subsequently, this paper recommended the educational system, especially higher education to prioritise literacy for the world to proficiently deal with a future virus outbreak.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2020
EventThe 3rd Conference for Higher Education Research - Hong Kong 2020: Innovations of Higher Education Amid the Pandemic: Institutional Management, Teaching, and Research Perspectives - Lingnan University, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Duration: 13 Nov 202014 Nov 2020


ConferenceThe 3rd Conference for Higher Education Research - Hong Kong 2020
Abbreviated titleCHER-Hong Kong 2020
Country/TerritoryHong Kong
CityHong Kong
OtherHeld at Lingnan University in Hong Kong, The Conference for Higher Education Research – Hong Kong is a multidisciplinary conference co-organised by Lingnan University (Hong Kong) and the Asia Pacific Higher Education Research Partnership (APHERP), and in collaboration with University of Bath and Durham University.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in school or university closures all across the world, triggering unprecedented challenges for education systems. According to UNESCO, 1.5 billion learners are out of the classroom globally, from pre-primary to higher education. Of the 195 countries that had closed schools in April 2020, 128 have yet to announce plans for their reopening.

It is clear that the future of higher education needs rethinking in many ways amid the pandemic. The International Association of Universities (IAU) Global Survey on the Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education finds, among other things, that (i) COVID-19 has had an impact on international student mobility at 89% of HEIs; (ii) at almost all HEIs, the shift from face-to-face to distance teaching did not come without challenges; and (iii) 80% of HEIs reported that research has been affected by the pandemic at their institutions.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world’s higher education will be long lasting. We in higher education must accept the reality of a paradigm shift. The crisis situation created by the horrible pandemic has served to jolt us out of the trap of yesterday’s status quo and make necessary changes.

The CHER – Hong Kong 2020 aims to foster dialogue on the staggering impact of COVID-19 on the future of higher education and the innovations required to meet the global challenges, with special focus on the following topics:

- Institutional Management
- Teaching and Learning Innovations
- Emerging Higher Education Research Directions
- Impact on Finance and University Governance
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