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Sandra Booth, Director of Policy and External Relations for the Council for Higher Education in Art & Design (CHEAD), reviews a week of higher education news in which concerns emerged over universities’ financial stability due to Covid-19 and the impact of the crisis on students.
A growing number of higher education conferences and events are being postponed or moved online in response to the Coronavirus restrictions.
Amid predictions that higher education will be changed forever by the current pandemic, Professor James Miller, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Glasgow Caledonian University, suggests the innovative ways the sector is responding to the crisis will make it even more valued in the future.
The UK’s Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, Jo Johnson MP, and Colombia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, María ángela Holguín, have signed a Mutual Recognition of Degrees Agreement on behalf of their governments.
The agreement was signed in the presence of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos at the London School of Economics, as part of the presidential State Visit to the United Kingdom. The Agreement will ensure that Bachelor, Masters and Doctoral degrees in one country are properly recognised in the other. The UK is one of the leading study destinations for Colombian post-graduates.
Francisco Cardona, acting Minister of Education, Colombia, said: “This agreement is based on the recognition of quality assurance systems for higher education in each country. We hope to boost mobility between the two countries and increase academic and research cooperation between institutions, facilitating and encouraging the creation of academic partnerships.”
The British Council was a key facilitator between the stakeholders involved, and supported the development of the agreement between the UK and Colombia.
“The mutual recognition of degrees is expected to strengthen existing links between the two countries, enabling greater academic exchange and benefiting thousands of students from Colombia and the UK’, said Tom Miscioscia, Director British Council Colombia.
“In addition to the potential to increase mobility between the two countries, the agreement recognises the higher education quality assurance systems both in Colombia and the UK. This releases potential for increased academic and research cooperation between institutions, facilitating and encouraging the creation of academic partnerships, which will foster the internationalisation agenda of universities.”
Once the agreement is implemented, students will experience direct benefits from the agreement which will have an impact on bureaucracy reduction as it will speed up the response processes in Colombia through a fast-track recognition criterion.
Joining Mexico and Chile, Colombia is now the third country in Latin America to sign this type of agreement. Brazil, Peru and Argentina are expected to pursue the same negotiations within the coming months, signalling Latin America as a key region to develop UK education and trade links.
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