Institute of Education

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How COVID-19 Has Affected Experiences of University Students

How COVID-19 Has Affected Experiences of University Students

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On April 19, this year’s third session of the Observatory for Higher Education Transformations will host an open expert discussion titled, ‘Experiences of University Students during the Pandemic.’

We are happy to invite you to an online expert session by the Observatory for Higher Education Transformations titled, ‘Experiences of University Students during the Pandemic.’

Monday, April 19, at 17:30 Moscow time

For a link to join the Zoom meeting, please register at

The woes of the COVID emergency have prompted drastic changes in social and academic life of university students worldwide.

Faced with headwinds as strong and disruptive as arguably in no other crisis of recent times, HE institutions just could not help hastening to revise their operational agendas and reinvent much in how the learning process was organized. While some students easily embraced such changes, there were many of those who experienced quite an ordeal struggling to get into the swing of the novel reality.

Also, on the back of a massive shutdown of international travel that halted study and research mobility programs, a great number of students found themselves locked in their home or host locations.

Furthermore, since many strands of the economy stalled amid policies to flatten the pandemic curve, millions of households saw their disposable incomes squeeze and had to cut or even abandon education spending.

As we are stepping into the ‘new now,’ it is paramount that global experts in education and development share at scale about how university students in various nations have been navigating through the challenges of COVID, so we can come up with robust, evidence-based action plans to support universities and the student community going forward.

The upcoming Session will focus on the following:

  • What are the key challenges that students have encountered during the pandemic? Are there any unexpected discoveries? How student experiences differ across countries and types of institutions: Comparative perspectives.
  • What are the emerging practices and policies that are likely to carry over into the post-pandemic reality? Do such practices have a potential to reshape university education in future? If so, then in what respect and to what extent?
  • COVID and changes in the value and reputation of university education, quality of teaching, engagement practices, etc.: Evidence from cross-border research.

The Session will open with three brief talks by the speakers, about 15 minutes each, followed by a Q&A part and a subsequent expert discussion. The Session will last about 80 minutes in total. The working language is English.


Glen Jones

Dean of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada

Mousumi Mukherjee

Associate Professor & Deputy Director, International Institute for Higher Education Research & Capacity Building; Founding Executive Director, Center for Comparative and Global Education, India

Igor Chirikov

Director of the Student Experience in the Research University Consortium, University of California, Berkeley, USA



Evgeniy Terentev

Director of the IOE Doctoral Center, HSE University, Russia


About the Observatory

With its conception and imperatives originally formulated by IOE and Politecnico di Milano, the Observatory for Higher Education Transformation (OHET) was established in late 2020 on the ethos of empowering critical debate to underpin research-informed policy and practice in the university sector. Drawing upon diverse expertise brought by its member institutions that are a superb cohort of globally recognized hubs for social and educational R&D, OHET provides a reinvigorating cross-border venue for various stakeholders and experts to:

  • Share firsthand evidence of how university systems have been steering through headwinds of the altered reality
  • Follow the changes that have been unfolding across the system domains
  • Reflect on best-practice/most likely development scenarios going forward.               

The OHET agenda primarily focuses on the following:

  • Inequality in higher education (a challenge that has persisted through time and has only been growing more acute in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis)
  • Internationalization: hurdles and incentives
  • Student experiences and outcomes
  • Rethinking policies in higher education financing and other dimensions of sector administration
  • Fostering meaningful liaison and high-impact initiatives among stakeholders in academia.         

Check out videos of the past sessions by the Observatory experts on YouTube.