Session highlights

What we have realised is that sending students to Asia, or to America, for the same courses they could follow with us at EDHC in France is a nonsense and if we are able to provide our students with on-line learning for these courses then we can send them abroad for other educational purposes, whether it be an internship or a mission for an NGO.” Emmanuel Métais, Dean of the business school EDHC in France 

  • Despite the fears of a slump in applications, domestic and adult learner university enrolments have held steady while international ones decreased, according to a survey by the International Association of Universities (IAU). Another survey by the French business school EDHEC found shared concern across many countries about widening access and climate change.
  • Most institutions surveyed by the International Association of Universities said on-line teaching and learning would continue but Giorgio Marinoni, its manager, HE and internationalisation, described a lot of what has happened as “an emergency shift” to remote teaching. “Real online teaching and learning needs much more training of professors and teachers, which will take some time,” he said.
  • Responding to a question on the impact of Covid-19 on teachers and teaching, Emmanuel Métais, Dean of the business school EDHEC in France, thought the most striking thing is that people are really aware that the role of teachers is going to change tremendously in the coming years. “Education will be less about repeating the same thing to classes of students. Standardised knowledge, such as basic courses in maths or finance, might be delivered online or by robots, whilst professors will need to be focused more on providing very specific knowledge,” he said. 

Session summary

This session presents a conversation around original survey research findings from the International Association of Universities (IAU), a UNESCO-affiliated global membership and advocacy organisation, and from EDHEC Business School, both based in Paris. An IAU survey on the impacts of Covid-19 on higher education around the world was conducted in early 2020. It was followed by a further compilation of IAU member organisation perceptions later in 2020 and a second global survey on Covid-19 impacts in early 2021.

The IAU survey is based on replies from 424 universities and other HE institutions in 111 countries and territories. It covers:

  • impacts on enrolments and international student mobility
  • impacts on methods of teaching, learning and assessment
  • impacts on research, community engagement, and communications infrastructure
  • the extent to which governments consulted with senior management in devising policy responses to Covid-19, and the extent which governments declared support for mitigating disruption.

The survey from EDHEC Business School was conducted in early 2020 in collaboration with l'Institut Montaigne, a think tank in Paris. Responses were received from 5,000 people from the general population in France, UK, US, India and South Africa. The survey addressed the following trends in higher education:

  • The rise of digital as a driver of transformation and agent of equal opportunity
  • The changing role of teachers in this evolving context
  • The internationalisation of higher education as a lever of success, with reference to international campuses, student exchanges, and professional experience
  • The role of higher education in addressing the growth of concerns over the conditions of student life, and equality and access to higher education
  • The development of entrepreneurship

The EDHEC survey enables better understanding of how HE stakeholders on different continents foresee the development of higher education over the next decade in the context of these large-scale transformations. The survey was updated in June 2020 to accommodate the impacts of the pandemic on these broad trends. Contrasts between respondents in different countries regarding the challenges that educational systems need to overcome is highlighted.

The post-Covid-19 relevance of higher education is common to both surveys. The IAU found that while higher education communities were in crisis management mode in 2020, many adaptations implemented by HEIs around the world during the pandemic may well last and have the potential to be transformative in the longer term.

Rather than focus on slides, the session chair will conduct a conversation with both speakers to pull out highlights from the survey data and findings. The conversation will include questions and comments from delegates.

Join us to discover these new survey findings and to see how they may inform the strategy discussions at your own institution as it defines its path towards a post-Covid-19 landscape.


  • Chair: Dr William Lawton, Higher Education Consultant, William Lawton Consultancy, United Kingdom
  • Emmanuel Métais, Dean, EDHEC Business School, France
  • Giorgio Marinoni, Manager, HE and internationalization, International Association of Universities (IAU), France

External links