Weekly news roundup: Stakeholders highlight major role of global education in climate change crisis

By Lily Martin• Last updated: Mar 28, 2022
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This week’s news is dominated by the aftermath of evacuations from Afghanistan and new research on student prospects.

A study has also shown the impact of students’ career aspirations in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and stakeholders in higher education have pledged their support for change after a recent report on global warming.

Here’s your weekly higher education news roundup. 

Study shows career aspirations have “radically altered”

A new study by international education partnering organisation INTO University Partnerships has highlighted the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on career aspirations in under 25-year-olds.

The study showed that 55% of those under 25 surveyed had reconsidered their career paths due to the pandemic.

Moreover, half of the 1200 students surveyed said they want a career that offers a better work-life balance. The students were from 93 countries and are all classed as part of ‘Gen Z’.

Olivia Streatfeild, CEO of INTO, said that “The Covid-19 pandemic has radically altered the attitudes and career aspirations of Gen Z.”

“This change will come to define the world of higher education and work. It is absolutely critical that governments, universities and the industry are primed for this shift among young people.”

Within the 55% of those surveyed that said their career aspirations have changed, 29% indicated their aspirations have changed a little, with 26% saying that they had changed a lot.

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Chevening Scholars arrive in the UK after Afghan evacuations

Students and Chevening Scholars from Afghanistan have arrived in the UK after mass evacuations by many European countries and the United States.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson previously said that the government was doing “whatever we can” to ensure that the government-sponsored scholars' visas would be issued as a priority.

Previous plans by the UK government in relation to the Chevening Scholars had included deferring all offers until 2022/23. This was widely campaigned against both in the UK and abroad.

Mr Johnson told reporters last week that an “overwhelming majority” of those eligible for evacuation from Kabul had been evacuated, with around 15,000 people being flown out of the country. The deadline for foreign troops in the country was August 31.

Priority groups for visas included those eligible under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy scheme, current or former Chevening Scholars; those with existing leave or an open application for student, work and family visas; journalists and those who worked with British news agencies; and members of women’s rights groups.

Stakeholders highlight major role of global education in climate change crisis

With the release of an IPCC report in August 2021, stakeholders in the global education community have pledged their support for the sector to become more sustainable.

The report, published by UN scientists, highlighted that the world will face extreme heat waves, droughts and flooding. It also provided new estimates on the chance of crossing the global warming level of 1.5 degrees celsius in the next decades.

Scientists have said that without immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting global warming to previous targets will be impossible.

Melissa Lee, founder and CEO of The Green Program, said that higher education must “urgently” address issues such as mobility to help fight climate change.

“The higher education industry has a responsibility and opportunity to play a positive role in the fight against climate change,” she added.

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