Nearly a third of Europe HEIs have no Coronavirus response plan, finds EAIE study

Nearly a third of Europe HEIs have no Coronavirus response plan, finds EAIE study

Nearly a third (30%) of higher education institutions (HEIs) in Europe have yet to put in place a response plan to the Coronavirus outbreak, a study by EAIE has found.

While 14% of the respondent institutions are attempting to develop a specific response plan, 16% of institutions have no plans to develop a specific response, and 12% of respondents do not know whether they are developing a plan.

A new study by the European Association for International Education (EAIE), “Coping with COVID-19: International Higher Education in Europe”, has outlined the intended plan and responses of HEIs in Europe to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The institutions’ response plans and overarching considerations were sought, and the dominating comments identified.

Just over half (58%) of the respondent institutions stated that they are currently implementing a response plan. However, there was considerable uncertainty expressed by the remaining institutions.

12% of Europe HEIs do not know whether they are developing a response plan

Alongside these statistics, the study provides an insight into their prevalent concerns, immediate responses and key points being considered.

From the perspective of developing response planning as the nature of the virus continues to shift, the most frequently desired support by the institutions (stated by 19%) was the need for improved communication.

This included better or faster coordination, guidance, or information from national, local or regional authorities, from which to frame their responsive work.

The study noted: “Survey respondents expressed a strong desire for better guidance at the national level as they work to navigate the many dimensions of this situation. They are also seeking access to good practices modelled by other HEIs.”

Discriminatory behaviour is a rising concern

The study also identified other factors that were concerning the institutions following the Coronavirus outbreak in Europe.

Although 70% of the institutions stated that they had not received any reports of discriminatory behaviour, 13% of the respondent institutions, across 21 different countries, have.

They received reports of individuals being targeted because they were from countries affected by the virus, and the prevalent response to this was to ‘double down on awareness raising and information dissemination.’

Almost a fifth of the institutions also mentioned outbound mobility for specific countries or regions as a major concern for their longer-term contingency planning.

China and Asia were the overwhelming focal points, whereas Italy was far less frequently mentioned.

Pic: Suzy Hazelwood

Josephine Walbank - Reporter, Global Education Times (GET News)

Josephine Walbank is a reporter for Global Education Times (GET News) with a focus on education in the UK, Asia-Pacific, and Americas, and student experience and lifestyle news.

Josephine is an experienced journalist who previously served as the Editor-in-Chief of The Falmouth Anchor. She is also the former Deputy Editor of Voices, the Falmouth & Exeter Students’ Union’s publication, and has written for various food and lifestyle publications.

You can reach her at

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