Global Goals

Press Freedom Day



August 13, 2020 Reveals the 100 Richest Universities in North America.

American Universities

FORT WORTH, Texas, August 12, 2020 — At a time when many colleges and universities were already facing cashflow woes, along came a global pandemic. So a significant endowment may be a measure not only of a school’s ability to attract top talent and fund research but also whether it will live to teach another day., who innovated the Influence Engine technology that measures the global influence of institutions and people, has announced North America’s higher education institutions with the most significant financial strength.

The five wealthiest universities in North America:

For the rest of the 100, visit at the link below:

The Richest Universities in North America

“Healthy financials enable better scholarship and more research opportunities, as well as the power to attract the top talent in every field of study,” said Dr. Jed Macosko, academic director of and professor of physics at Wake Forest University.

“Students who want to make an impact need to know which institutions can make their dreams possible. Schools struggling to pay their bills can’t focus on changing the world for the better. The colleges and universities in our analysis have plenty of funds on hand. They can venture beyond basic education and equip students and faculty with what they need to make a lasting contribution to scholarship and to improving our future.”

“For a college or university, strong financials help build and expand influence,” added Macosko. “Those institutions that flourish create opportunities for students, faculty, and even alumni that might otherwise not exist. This ranking of North America’s richest universities from is just the thing for anyone who needs the most out of education.”

Criteria considered for this college ranking include undergraduate tuition costs, professor salaries, research expenditures, and overall endowment. Each of the 100 entries features insights into the school’s strengths and benefits. Additionally, provides a separate school ranking based on the highest annual research expenditures alone.

The Richest Universities in North America ranking spotlights’s commitment to providing unbiased, high-quality data analysis to help learners everywhere reach their fullest potential, the rankings site said. further stated that it is a unique technology-driven rankings site dedicated to students, researchers, and inquirers from high school through college and beyond, offering resources that connect learners to leaders.


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UGC India issues Public Notice on Non-Retention of Certificates of Teachers by Higher Education Institutions.

UGC India

New Delhi, August 13, 2020 — The University Grants Commission (UGC) India has issued a Public Notice concerning Non-Retention of Certificates of Teachers by the Higher Education Institutions.

Source: University Grants Commission

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August 3, 2020

Drugs Controller General of India approves Phase II+III trials of Oxford University vaccine by Serum Institute, Pune.

Oxford University

Oxford Vaccine

New Delhi, August 03, 2020. — The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has allowed the Serum Institute of India, Pune, to conduct Phase II+III clinical trials of the Oxford University-Astra Zeneca COVID-19 vaccine (COVISHIELD). This approval will hasten the development of the COVID-19 vaccine in India, India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare announced today.

Source: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.


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August 2, 2020

Devastating Cost of Failure to Coordinate Economic Re-openings; Immediate need for a Coordinated Policy across States, Regions, and Nations around the world — says MIT Study.

MIT Sloan

MIT Sloan, Crowd

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July 30, 2020 — MIT Social Analytics Lab has published new, peer-reviewed research. The research shows the devastating cost of the chaotic and uncoordinated reopening of states and cities across the U.S. The study uses data from mobile phones and network connections through social media and census data. It estimates that total welfare gets dramatically reduced when reopening is not coordinated among states and regions.

For example, the study showed that the policies and behaviors of people in other, sometimes distant areas significantly influence the contact patterns of people in a given region. When states fail to coordinate significant spillovers, total welfare is reduced by almost 70 percent.

As federal, state, and local governments continue opening businesses and relaxing shelter-in-place orders nationwide, policymakers are doing so without quantitative evidence on how policies in one region affect mobility and social distancing in other areas. And while some states are coordinating on COVID policy at the level of “mega-regions,” most, unfortunately, are not. This lack of coordination will have devastating effects on efforts to control COVID-19, according to the study.

“There have been many calls for a coordinated national pandemic response in the U.S. and around the world, but little hard evidence has quantified this need,” said Sinan Aral, Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy and a corresponding author of the study. “When we analyzed the data, we were shocked by the degree to which state policies affected outcomes in other states, sometimes at great distances. Travel and social influence over digital media make this pandemic much more interdependent than we originally thought. Our results suggest an immediate need for a nationally coordinated policy across states, regions, and nations around the world,” he added.

Governors from all states and territories will convene virtually for the Summer meeting of The National Governor’s Association on August 5. The MIT study assesses the impact of an uncoordinated reopening and gives governors a map to coordinate in the absence of national guidance. The research done for all fifty states shows which regions affect each other the most and maps the areas that should be coordinating. These maps are sometimes surprising because, as a result of digital social media, each state’s success with social distancing gets impacted by the policy decisions of geographically proximate states and socially connected, but geographically distant lands. For instance, Florida’s social distancing was most affected by New York implementing a shelter-in-place policy due to social media influence and travel between the states, despite their physical distance. New Hampshire had a substantial impact on adjacent Massachusetts, despite being a small state.

As the Governor’s Association convenes, this research highlights the need for states across the country to coordinate, even if they are not near one another. The results suggest which regions should be coordinating with which other states based on the strength of the spillovers between them.

Source: MIT Sloan School of Management


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July 20, 2020

Oxford University coronavirus vaccine produces a robust immune response, reveals a new study.

Oxford University

Photo: Balliol College, University of Oxford, Oxford, England. Image Credit: Billy Wilson.

Oxford, July 20, 2020 — A team of scientists at Oxford University’s Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group has taken the next step towards discovering a safe, effective, and accessible vaccine against coronavirus.

The results published in The Lancet confirmed a single dose of AZD1222 resulted in a four-fold increase in antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein in 95% of participants one month after injection. The results indicate no early safety concerns. The vaccine induces robust immune responses in both parts of the immune system.

The vaccine provoked a T cell response within 14 days of vaccination (white blood cells that can attack cells infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus), and an antibody response within 28 days. Antibodies can neutralize the illness so that it cannot infect cells when initially contracted.

During the study, participants who received the vaccine had detectable neutralizing antibodies, which have been suggested by researchers as necessary for protection, and these responses were most potent after a booster dose, with 100% of participants’ blood having neutralizing activity against the coronavirus. The next step in studying the vaccine is to confirm that it can effectively protect against SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Professor Andrew Pollard, Chief investigator of the Oxford Vaccine Trial at Oxford University, said: “The interim Phases I and II data for our coronavirus vaccine shows that the vaccine did not lead to any unexpected reactions. It had a safety profile similar to previous vaccines of this type. The immune responses observed following vaccination are in line with what we expect will be associated with protection against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, we must continue with our rigorous clinical trial program to confirm this. We saw the strongest immune response in participants who received two doses of the vaccine, indicating that this might be a good strategy for vaccination.”

During the Phases I and II trials, Oxford evaluated the vaccine in more than 1,000 healthy adult volunteers aged between 18 and 55 years in a randomized controlled trial. A subset of these volunteers (10 people) received two doses of the vaccine. Between April 23, 2020, and May 21, 2020, 1077 volunteers, received the vaccine ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 or a placebo MenACWY vaccine. There were no serious adverse health events related to ChAdOx1 nCoV-19.

These encouraging results support further evaluation of this candidate vaccine in our ongoing large-scale Phase III program, which is still needed to assess the vaccine’s ability to protect people from COVID-19, the University stated.

The University of Oxford is working with the UK-based global biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for further development, large-scale manufacture, and potential distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine, with plans for clinical development and production of the Oxford vaccine progressing globally. The project has been further spurred by £84 million of Government funding to help accelerate the vaccine’s growth.

“We are encouraged by the Phases I and II interim data showing AZD1222 was capable of generating a rapid antibody and T-cell response against SARS-CoV-2. While there is more work to be done, today’s data increases our confidence that the vaccine will work. It allows us to continue our plans to manufacture the vaccine at scale for broad and equitable access around the world,” said Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President of BioPharmaceuticals Research and Development at AstraZeneca.

Oxford and AstraZeneca are collaborating with clinical partners worldwide as part of a global clinical program for the trial of the Oxford vaccine. The comprehensive plan includes a Phase III trial in the US enrolling 30,000 patients, a pediatric study, and Phase III trials in low-to-middle income countries like Brazil and South Africa.

AstraZeneca remains committed to fulfilling its commitment for broad and equitable access to the vaccine, should late-stage clinical trials prove successful. So far, we have promised to supply more than 2 billion doses of the vaccine to the UK, US, Europe’s Inclusive Vaccines Alliance (IVA), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI), Gavi the Vaccine Alliance and Serum Institute of India.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “Today’s results are extremely encouraging, taking us one step closer to finding a successful vaccine to protect millions in the UK and worldwide. Backed by £84 million Government investment for the vaccine’s development and manufacture, the agility and speed with which the University of Oxford has worked is outstanding. I am very proud of what they have achieved so far.”

Kate Bingham, Chair of the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce, said: “The UK is fortunate to have such outstanding academic innovators working alongside the highly experienced global team at AstraZeneca. This partnership is working at exceptional speed to demonstrate the safety and clinical effectiveness of the vaccine in protecting people against COVID-19 infection.”

Source: The University of Oxford


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July 18, 2020

India's University Grants Commission updates the Press on the Latest Position on Terminal Semester(s)/Final Year Examinations by the Universities.

UGC India

New Delhi, India. July 18, 2020 — University Grants Commission (UGC), India, has updated the Press on the latest position on Terminal Semester(s)/Final Year Examinations by the Universities.

The office of the Secretary, UGC, has provided the Press with the following status report:

• Terminal Semester(s)/Final Year Examinations by the Universities.

Source: University Grants Commission


August 6, 2020.


The University Grants Commission (UGC) is organizing a Conclave on Transformational Reforms in Higher Education on August 7 (Friday), 2020, from 10.00 AM to 04.00 PM in virtual mode. The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, would deliver the Inaugural Address.

View the Programme Schedule.


August 10, 2020.


“If exams aren’t conducted, students can’t get a degree. That’s the law.” — UGC.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the University Grants Commission (UGC) in the Supreme Court on Monday, said students must continue to prepare for the exams. Mehta added, “If exams aren’t conducted, students can’t get a degree. That’s the law.”

Solicitor General Mehta questioned “how can states cancel exams and expect UGC to confer degree” when the UGC “is the only body to confer degrees.”

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July 15, 2020

Trump Administration Revokes Rules on International Students after Court Challenges.

The policy would have barred international students from living in the U.S. while conducting coursework entirely online.

Johns Hopkins, Harvard, MIT

BALTIMORE, July 15, 2020 — In a swift reversal of guidance first shared just eight days ago, the Trump administration on Tuesday abandoned plans to impose new limitations on the conditions under which international students can remain in the country to study at U.S. colleges and universities.

Under a policy announced July 6, students would be stripped of or denied student visas if their coursework was entirely online, an abrupt shift that threatened to impact the lives of the nearly 5,000 international students at Johns Hopkins and more than 1 million across the country.

Johns Hopkins filed a legal challenge to the policy last week and had a hearing on the matter scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. Today’s announcement that the U.S. Administration has rescinded the plan appeared during a trial of a similar complaint filed by Harvard and MIT, a case in which JHU filed an amicus brief. The notification reinstates an earlier policy implemented in March that allows international students with student visas to take all their classes online and remain in the country legally.

Johns Hopkins University (JHU) President Ronald J. Daniels said in a message to the university community Tuesday night that Hopkins would leave its complaint open for now, but acknowledged it might be moot. The return to an earlier policy does, however, cast doubt on the ability of new and transfer students outside the U.S. to come to the country to begin studies.

“For generations, the world’s most innovative and ambitious people have flocked to this nation for the opportunities it offers,” Daniels wrote. “America’s colleges and universities have been a beacon for those whose talent and drive have fueled the discoveries that foster social progress and create economic opportunity.”

Source: Johns Hopkins University

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July 14, 2020

Blackboard to Host First Virtual BbWorld 2020.

Educators, administrators, and thought leaders to attend the Company’s free annual conference on July 21 & 22.


RESTON, Va., July 13, 2020 — Blackboard Inc., a leading education technology company for teaching, learning, and student engagement, will convene thousands of educators, administrators, thought leaders, and EdTech experts from across the globe on July 21 and 22 for BbWorld 2020, its premier global EdTech conference. For the first time, the meeting will be virtual and free, enabling the global education community to gather, learn, share, and inspire one another during this unprecedented time.

“We are thrilled to bring together the global education community to share lessons learned and best practices for driving learner success in this critical time of rapid digital transformation,” said Blackboard Chairman, CEO and President Bill Ballhaus. “We look forward to creating an immersive virtual experience and inviting new voices to join our discussion about the new education paradigm.”

BbWorld will feature more than 100 sessions on the most pressing topics for higher education, K-12, and business and government clients.

Throughout the two-day event, BbWorld would invite the participants into the “Galaxy of Learning,” a 3D, interactive experience, gaining access to:

Blackboard says its mission is to advance learning in partnership with the world’s education community so that more learners, educators, and institutions can realize their goals today and prepare for tomorrow.

Source: Blackboard, Inc.

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July 13, 2020

Johns Hopkins files Lawsuit to block new U.S. rules on International Students.

Johns Hopkins

BALTIMORE, July 12, 2020 — Johns Hopkins University filed suit in federal court Friday to stop a Trump administration rule change that would severely impact nearly 5,000 international students at the University. The decision to abruptly rescind accommodations for online learning during the COVID pandemic is unlawful and fails to consider the many complexities of meeting our educational mission while also protecting our community’s health, the University said.

The University filed the suit in the Federal District Court for Washington, D.C., which has significant expertise in handling challenges against unlawful action by the federal government. Johns Hopkins joins other litigation related to the new rule filed by Harvard, MIT, and the University of California. Johns Hopkins’ plans for a hybrid, online/in-person model for some of its divisions present the broadest array of issues for the court to consider.

“The administration’s decision is gratuitous, cruel and inimical to what this country is about,” said Johns Hopkins President Ronald J. Daniels. “The University was left with no option but to bring an emergency lawsuit in federal court to stop the administration from pushing ahead with an illegal and unconstitutional directive. If the directive is permitted to stand, it would fundamentally undermine the educational freedoms and humanitarian values that animate higher education in our country.”

In the spring, when the pandemic was first taking hold, the universities, including Johns Hopkins, were forced to pivot to online education swiftly. The Trump administration appropriately responded by relaxing visa restrictions so that international students could remain in the United States while taking classes remotely. But on Monday, even as new coronavirus cases were hitting record levels in the United States, the administration reversed itself without warning, saying such students would not be allowed into the country if their course load was entirely online. Those already in the country could be required to leave within ten days of beginning ‘online only education’, a burden under any circumstances but much more so now given the heavy restrictions on international travel.

In its complaint, the University alleges that the administration’s actions are unlawful in several ways:

Johns Hopkins said it spent months meticulously planning for the fall semester based on its leading authorities’ expert guidance in medicine and public health. It said it seeks to balance the best opportunities for its students to continue their education and research with an unwavering commitment to safeguarding their health and safety. “Our approaches vary by program, with some planning entirely online courses and others, including our undergraduate program, planning a hybrid approach mixing online and in-person elements,” the University added.

The Trump administration’s sudden announcement upends that careful consideration, the University explained. It neither accounts for the risks associated with switching to an all in-person approach nor the possibility that we may have no choice but to revert to all online classes if the pandemic takes a turn for the worse. Importantly, the administration’s actions may force students to choose between increased exposure to a deadly virus and maintaining their visa status.

• “Johns Hopkins University has the responsibility to protect its students, faculty, and staff. It has the scientific expertise to determine how it will execute its mission of research and education safely without government intervention,” the institution stated.

“Johns Hopkins has a century-long commitment to international collaboration in scholarship and research. The mix of students and faculty of different backgrounds and outlooks advances knowledge and discovery in our laboratories and contributes to the intellectual growth of all our students.”

“This unjust and discriminatory attack on international students cuts to the core of our education and research mission. It cannot be allowed to stand,” the University concluded.

Source: Johns Hopkins University

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July 8, 2020

Elsevier Announces Finalists of the 2020 Reaxys Ph.D. Prize.

Marking its 10th anniversary, Elsevier would recognize this year’s Reaxys Ph.D. Prize finalists for their innovative and original research in chemistry and associated sciences.

Elsevier, Finalists


Photo: This year’s Reaxys Ph.D. Prize Finalists represent 12 countries and 30 universities from around the world.

AMSTERDAM, July 8, 2020 — Elsevier, a global leader in research publishing and information analytics, has announced the 45 finalists for the 2020 Reaxys Ph.D. Prize.

Launched in 2010, the Reaxys Ph.D. Prize celebrates innovative and rigorous research by ambitious early-career chemical sciences researchers. This year’s competition maintained the high standards of previous years: over 400 entries from around the globe were rigorously examined by the Review Committee to arrive at the 45 finalists.

“This year continues the tradition of excellence of the Reaxys Prize in attracting hundreds of outstanding applications from all across the globe,” said Reaxys Advisory Board member Professor Donna Huryn, a Principal Investigator at the University of Pittsburgh Chemical Diversity Center. “Equally impressive are the 45 finalists, and they represent the breadth of our field in terms of geography and discipline. I am looking forward to what will be an exceptional symposium.”

The 45 finalists would attend the virtual Reaxys Ph.D. Prize Symposium from September 30 to October 2, 2020. While usually an in-person event, this year’s celebratory gathering will be online to ensure that all finalists can attend—regardless of any travel restrictions that may be in place in their home countries. A pre-registration link is available on the symposium page for anyone interested in joining the online event. The event will feature talks, including a keynote presentation from the renowned University of California chemist Professor Bruce Lipshutz and a virtual poster session. The organizers also have specific plans to support networking.

Fellow Advisory Board member Professor Zhaomin Hou, Chief Scientist and Director of the Organometallic Chemistry Laboratory at the RIKEN Research Institute in Japan, added that he was profoundly impressed by the number of high-quality submissions in 2020. “The Ph.D. prize brings together young and enthusiastic scientists to showcase their newest discoveries and test new scientific ideas in open discussions.”

During the virtual symposium, the ten shortlisted finalists will give oral presentations of their research, from which the Reaxys Advisory Board will select the three winners of the Reaxys Ph.D. Prize 2020.

“Innovative young researchers from all over the world entered, and we plan to celebrate their achievements as we do each year,” said Dr. Friedrich Kroll, Elsevier’s Senior Manager of Scientific Affairs and co-organizer of the competition. “We are delighted to see the contest continue to draw this number and quality of submissions.

“The opportunity to establish networks to address current scientific challenges, particularly ones requiring interdisciplinary solutions, is an important aspect of the event. We’re also inviting our largest ever audience, with attendees from all previous years,” Dr. Kroll added.

All finalists will receive lifelong membership in the Reaxys Prize Club, an exclusive international network of chemists from all research areas and career paths. Members also receive unlimited access to Elsevier’s research solutions Reaxys and Reaxys Medicinal Chemistry.

This year’s finalists and their Ph.D. institutions are:

Source: Elsevier

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July 6, 2020

UGC (University Grants Commission), India, issues Revised Guidelines on Examinations and Academic Calendar for the Universities; Ministry of Home Affairs permits Universities and Institutions to conduct Examinations.

India Secretariat, New Delhi

Photo: A Section of the North Block, Central Secretariat, New Delhi, India. The North Block houses the Ministry of Home Affairs.

New Delhi | 06 July 2020 — The Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has, in a letter to the Union Higher Education Secretary, permitted the conduct of examinations by Universities and Institutions.

The final Term Examinations are to be compulsorily conducted as per the UGC (University Grants Commission) Guidelines on Examinations and Academic Calendar for the Universities, and as per the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) approved by the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

• UGC (University Grants Commission) today issued the Revised Guidelines on Examinations and Academic Calendar for the Universities.

In April 2020, the University Grants Commission constituted an Expert Committee to deliberate and make recommendations regarding the issues related to Examinations and Academic Calendar. Based on the Report of the Committee, the UGC issued Guidelines on Examinations and Academic Calendar on 29 April 2020.

The Expert Committee was requested by the UGC to revisit the Guidelines and suggest options for examinations, admissions in the Universities/ Colleges, and also for the beginning of the new academic session as the number of COVID cases is still increasing.

The Commission in its emergent meeting held on 06 July 2020 accepted the Report of the Committee. It approved the ‘UGC Revised Guidelines on Examinations and Academic Calendar for the Universities because of COVID-19 Pandemic’.

The highlights of the Guidelines are as under:

• Click here to view the UGC Revised Guidelines Document.

Sources: University Grants Commission. Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.

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July 3, 2020

Oxford University and Bvlgari announce collaboration to fight COVID-19 and future pandemics.


Oxford, July 3, 2020 — Bvlgari, the Italian luxury brand, has announced plans to support research into COVID-19 and vaccine development at Oxford University.

The new relationship comes as part of the brand’s commitment to preventing pandemics now and in the future, through philanthropic donations. This gift will support Oxford research in two key areas; purchasing boundary-pushing scientific equipment that will help to speed up vaccine development and financing the studies of some of the world’s most talented researchers engaged in the field.

Oxford and Bvlgary announced the collaboration during a live webinar hosted by Jean-Christophe Babin, President, and CEO of Bvlgari and Professor Sarah Gilbert, Professor of Vaccinology at the University of Oxford.

Professor Sarah Gilbert, Professor of Vaccinology at the University of Oxford, said: “For us to continue to make world-leading advances against infectious diseases, we need more excellent young scientists to join us and access the most up to date equipment in our laboratories. This generous gift from Bvlgari addresses these needs, and will continue to have an impact for many years.”

The Bvlgari Scholarship will financially support two students at the postgraduate level within the vaccine development group, the Oxford Jenner Institute. It would enable the University to continue to attract the next generation of top talent to power Oxford’s world-leading position in vaccine research.

The Oxford Vaccine Group and Oxford Jenner Institute have been at the forefront of scientific endeavor to develop vaccines for diseases of primary global importance for more than 30 years. They are currently one of the leading research groups globally in the development of a vaccine against COVID-19.

The Bvlgari Scholarship Beneficiaries will receive full financial support over the four-year duration of their DPhil (Ph.D.) studies in vaccine research. The scholarships will cover the students’ course fees, IT support laboratory consumables, and an internationally competitive maintenance grant. The scholarship awardees will be based at the Oxford Jenner Institute and selected from applicants and offer holders in the Medical Sciences Division at Oxford, across the relevant disciplines of Clinical, Medical and Biological Sciences.

The candidate selection process for the Bvlgari Scholarship would begin as early as autumn 2020.

In addition to the scholarship program, Bvlgari’s donation will also contribute to the purchase of a state-of-the-art flow cytometer by the Oxford Jenner Institute. Flow cytometry is a crucial tool in emergency vaccine development that can rapidly speed up the process, allowing a more detailed understanding of cell response post-vaccination.

Used to measure the number and type of immune cells made in the body after the administration of the vaccine, it helps identify which types of cells may lead to a vaccine being protective and, therefore, successful. Single-cell sorting is a critical component of many sophisticated analysis pathways for both pre-clinical and clinical studies. It allows scientists to separate particular groups of cells of specific interest.

Bvlgari’s generous donation to the University is the latest step in the brand’s philanthropic commitment to improving the world at large, following the devastating coronavirus outbreak earlier this year, which plunged the world into an international pandemic.

Jean-Christophe Babin, President, and CEO of Bvlgari, said: “Over the past few months, we have witnessed the shocking and detrimental effects of COVID-19 on every aspect of our society. We can never let this happen again. Bvlgari vows not only to contribute to the fight against COVID-19 but also to work with the global leaders in Medical Sciences at Oxford University, to nurture the most talented minds of tomorrow. I am honored and proud to have the opportunity to support Oxford in this common goal of eradicating viruses and stopping future pandemics in their tracks.”

Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, said: “We are deeply grateful to Bvlgari for their generous gift and look forward to working together over the coming years. Donations like this allow us to accelerate critical vaccine development research, which will aid Oxford’s response to this crisis and future pandemics.”

Source: University of Oxford


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June 30, 2020

Human Resource Development Minister of India virtually launches World's first-ever Online B.Sc. Degree in Programming and Data Science.

First-ever online degree by an IIT to democratize quality education by removing barriers; Applicants can be from any discipline.

IIT Madras

New Delhi | June 30, 2020 — The Union Minister of HRD, Ramesh Pokhriyal’ Nishank’, today virtually launched World’s first-ever online B.Sc. degree in Programming and Data Science. The program has been prepared and offered by the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras), which is ranked No.1 in India Rankings 2020 by NIRF. This program is open to anyone who has passed Class XII with English and Maths at the Class X level and enrolled in any on-campus UG course. Dr. Pawan Kumar Goenka, Chairman, IIT Madras Board of Governors; Director, and the faculty of the IIT Madras; Chairman, AICTE, Prof. Anil Sahasrabudhe; Additional Secretary, MHRD, Rakesh Ranjanand, and other senior officials of the Ministry were also present during the launch.

Data Science is one of the fastest-growing sectors predicted to create 11.5 million jobs by 2026. Online education is a rapidly embraced trend for high-quality education on a large scale. Faculty from IIT Madras addresses the need for this sector using online education processes and presents an inclusive and affordable education model that will significantly extend IIT’s reach.

While addressing the participants, Mr. Pokhriyal congratulated the IIT Madras team for the launch of the World’s first-ever online B.Sc. degree program in Data Science and Programming. The Minister informed that the current batch of students who are completing their Class XII in 2020 are eligible to apply. Graduates and working professionals can also take up this program. Mr. Pokhriyal added that this unique offering removes all barriers of age, discipline, or geographic location and provides access to a world-class curriculum in data science, which is in massive demand for skilled professionals.

The Minister said that IIT Madras has a rich history of continuous innovation and success. Its emergence as rank 1 in the NIRF rankings consistently underscores the team’s talent, mission, and vision. Analysis reveals that every year 7 to 7.5 lakh Indian students go abroad in search of better education, and our expertise and revenue go outside the country. Institutions such as IIT Madras have the vision and mission to help the nation move forward on its path to self-reliance by bringing such quality education and unique courses right here in India.

Mr. Pokhriyal said that the students currently enrolled in a different on-campus program anywhere in India could pursue this degree program without needing to switch careers or courses. Even employers who want to upskill their employees can consider this option without losing productive time on the job. He further said that the program brightens up job prospects for students in a lucrative field, provides opportunities for working professionals to switch careers, and provides learners a chance to get a degree from a recognized institution such as IIT Madras.

The program will be delivered on a state-of-the-art online portal and attract learners from even remote parts of India where outreach of digital literacy is minimal and will help them stay ahead in their career journeys. The program will have videos from the faculty, weekly assignments, and in-person invigilated exams, just like any other regular course. It would ensure that the online learning platform is closest to a classroom learning experience. The program will hone students’ skills in managing data, visualizing patterns to gain managerial insights, modeling uncertainties, and building models that help produce forecasts to make effective business decisions.

This unique online presentation will be offered in three different stages - Foundational Programme, Diploma Programme, and Degree Programme. At each stage, students will have the freedom to exit from the program and receive a Certificate, Diploma, or Degree, respectively, from IIT Madras. Based on eligibility, interested candidates will have to fill a form and pay a nominal fee of Rs. 3,000 for the qualifier exam. Learners will get access to the four weeks of the course content of 4 subjects (Mathematics, English, Statistics, and Computational Thinking). These students will go through the course lectures online, submit online assignments, and write an in-person qualifier exam at the end of 4 weeks. It is in contrast to the typical admission processes of IITs, where there are a limited number of in-campus seats. In this program, all students who clear (with an overall score of 50%) the qualifier exam will be eligible to register for the foundational program.

Source: Ministry of Human Resource Development, New Delhi, India.

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June 27, 2020

Chandigarh University Launches Financial Aid Program for the Meritorious and Deserving Students to Overcome Financial Crisis During COVID-19

The institution would provide students with 48 crore financial assistance under the newly launched scheme.

Chandigarh University


Photo: Satnam Singh Sandhu, Chancellor, Chandigarh University, launching the Rs. 48 Crore CU Financial Aid Scheme for meritorious and deserving students at Chandigarh.

CHANDIGARH, India, June 27, 2020 — Chandigarh University has launched the Financial Aid Scheme worth Rs. 48 Crore to help the deserving and meritorious students from any part of India so that they can fulfill their aspiration to get quality higher education. The CU Financial Aid Scheme was today launched in Chandigarh by the University’s Chancellor, Satnam Singh Sandhu.

While launching the Chandigarh University Financial Aid Scheme, Satnam Singh Sandhu said, “Getting access to quality education is a fundamental right of every student. Financial constraints should not pose any hindrance in the path of deserving and meritorious students. The newly launched scheme follows the financial assistance policies extended by top Universities in Western Countries like the USA, UK, Canada, to attract the best of talent across the world.” Chandigarh University Financial Aid Scheme is the first of its kind in India. It would offer Financial Aid on merit on first-come-first-serve basis applicable to all the 109 Under-Graduate and Post-Graduate programs provided by the University for 2020 academic batch. CU Chancellor further added that “Currently the world is going through challenging times due to COVID-19 crisis. It has resulted in massive job losses or salary cuts across the sectors, which may impact students’ education.” The 48 crore Financial-Aid Scheme will offer financial assistance up-to 100% to the deserving students who have the zeal to learn, but their parents do not have enough funds to support them, added Sandhu.

Chandigarh University Chancellor also launched an online portal where the students can apply for financial assistance. Explaining the process, Satnam Sandhu said, “The student needs to register with his or her credentials through the online portal. A committee comprising of senior authorities of the University would scrutinize the application and recommend the quantum of financial aid. The institution would, through the online portal, automatically communicate to the student the recommended amount of financial aid.”

Chancellor Satnam Singh Sandhu further said, “In addition to above, Chandigarh University has signed MoUs with a consortium of Public and Private Sector Banks which will offer collateral-free education loans to the students. Chandigarh University will offer all possible support to get the banks’ education loan processed in the shortest possible time for which the University has established a new department of Financial Assistance.”

Chandigarh University, located near Chandigarh, is a NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council) A+ Grade institution. CU offers more than 109 UG and PG programs in engineering, management, pharmacy, law, architecture, journalism, animation, hotel management, commerce, and other disciplines.

Source: Chandigarh University

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June 23, 2020

Class of 1940's Benjamin Ferencz, aged 100, is City College of New York's "Virtual Salute" speaker, June 30.

City College of New York

City College of New York

City College of New York

Photo: Benjamin Ferencz, Class of 1940, is CCNY’s 2020 Virtual Salute keynote speaker.

NEW YORK, June 22, 2020 — Centenarian Benjamin B. Ferencz, a distinguished 1940 alumnus and the last surviving prosecutor from the post-WWII Nuremberg trials, is the keynote speaker at The City College of New York’s first-ever “Virtual Salute” on June 30. Mr. Ferencz, who turned 100 on March 11, will receive the honorary degree Doctor of Laws from his alma mater. He’s believed to be the oldest honorary degree recipient from City College.

Other speakers during CCNY’s 50-minute virtual salute, include:

Also, New York State Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodriguez will offer greetings.

A physically active man who does 100 pushups daily, Mr. Ferencz is still an advocate for human rights and the rule of law. In his address to CCNY’s latest graduates, he will share some of his remarkable experiences in the 80 years since his graduation from CCNY in 1940. “Experiences, which I hope will be inspirational and will guide the Class of 2020 during difficult times now and in the future,” he said.

Mr. Ferencz, whose family came to the United States from Romania when he was 10-months-old, attended Harvard Law School after CCNY. He earned his law degree in 1943 and fought in World War II.

At the end of the war, the young lawyer got recruited for the Nuremberg war crimes trials in Nuremberg, Germany. Once the International Military Tribunal’s prosecution of German Field Marshal, Herman Goering, and his associates concluded, the United States tried a broad cross-section of Nazi offenders.

He said of the experience: “Nuremberg taught me that creating a world of tolerance and compassion would be a long and arduous task. And I also learned that if we did not devote ourselves to developing effective world law, the same cruel mentality that made the Holocaust possible might one day destroy the entire human race.”

The City College of New York (CCNY) is a public college of the City University of New York (CUNY) system in New York City. Founded in 1847, City College was the first free public institution of higher education in the United States.

Source: City College of New York. Office of Institutional Advancement and Communications.

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June 19, 2020

UGC India extends the Deadline for Submission of Applications for the Administrative Training Programme for Public University Registrars.

UGC, Universities, India

UGC, Universities, India

New Delhi, June 19, 2020 — The University Grants Commission has extended the Deadline for the Submission of Applications for the Administrative Training Programme for Public University Registrars.

In a Public Notice dated June 16, 2020, the commission has announced that because of the COVID-19 pandemic and consequent lockdown, the deadline for submission of applications under the UKIERI Higher Education Leadership Development Programme for Administrators is now July 15. Those institutions which have not yet applied to UGC in the prescribed format may do so by this date.

The ‘Higher Education Leadership Development Programme for Administrators’ is a joint initiative of the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the British Council under the auspices of the UK India Education and Research Initiative.

The program includes two workshops to be conducted by UK trainers, which will train about 300 academic administrators in the level of Registrar and Joint/Deputy/Assistant Registrar to enable them to bring about professional transformation in the higher education institutions.

Further, to make the program sustainable, 30 potential future leadership development program trainers from among the 300 participants will be chosen and will be given additional training to train others.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) will conduct this program in collaboration with Advance HE, the training partner with globally recognized institutional expertise and leadership excellence from the UK. The British Council in India would coordinate the arrangement.

For any further query, universities may write to the UGC or directly contact Mr. Mriganka Sekhar Sarma, Education Officer, International Cooperation, UGC.

Following is the original UGC Notification:



F.No. 184-3/2019(IC) — Date: 26.02.2020



UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) is a bilateral partnership between the UK and India which aims to promote institutional excellence through academic/research linkages and leadership development program.

University Grants Commission (UGC) and British Council under the auspices of UKIERI are going to deliver a Higher Education Leadership Development program focusing on the training of mid and senior-level educational administrators in Universities in India.

In addition to leadership training provided to top-level leaders like Vice-chancellors and academic faculty, the higher education sector also needs leadership development for mid and senior-level functionaries to bring about a professional transformation of our Universities.

British Council has identified Advanced HE, a UK-based not-for-profit institution, specializing in governance and leadership development of higher education for delivering the program.


• Train the academic administrators to enable them to bring about systemic changes with renewed approaches, capacity, tools, and skills in the higher education institutions.

• Identify and train potential future leadership development program trainers to provide a framework for dissemination and cascading of leadership training to other HEIs.

• Create and Strengthen the sustainable relationship between the UK and Indian Higher Education Institutions and utilize UK’s expertise in the field of Higher Education Administration and leadership.


• Central Universities funded by University Grants Commission.

• State Public Universities included under section 2(f) & 12B of the UGC Act.


• Administrative functionaries at the level of Registrar and Joint/Deputy/Assistant Registrar of the eligible Universities.


• Eligible Universities shall apply in the prescribed format.

• Eligible Universities shall nominate 3-5 functionaries in order of preference at the level of Registrar and Joint/Deputy/Assistant Registrar.

• To ensure gender diversity in the program, at least one of the top three nominees should be a female.

• The application may be duly forwarded and signed by the Vice-Chancellor/authorized signatory of the university.

• The last date for receipt of applications is March 16, 2020.


• The application shall be assessed based on criteria such as Participating Institution’s commitment to the program; Experience, achievements, and potential of the participants; Clarity of program goals; Potential impact of the program; and Sustainability and transferability beyond the curriculum.

• The selected universities and participants, along with the schedule of training, shall be announced by the end of March 2020.


• Participants will attend two 5-day blocks of development workshops between April and December 2020 in various locations in India.

• UGC would select 30 potential future leadership development program trainers from amongst the participants.

• UGC will bear the expenditure related to the travel, boarding, and lodging of the Indian participants.

- Full notification and the prescribed format for application are available from the UGC.

Sources: University Grants Commission; Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.

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June 16, 2020

691 Multinationals make 6.117 Offers to Batch 2020 Students During Campus Placements at Chandigarh University

Chandigarh University


Photo: Placed students of Chandigarh University of 2020 passing-out batch celebrating their success along with Chancellor Satnam Singh Sandhu.

CHANDIGARH, India, June 16, 2020 — Students of Chandigarh University have bucked the fears of an economic slowdown as the university has registered a record number of recruitments by top-notch multinationals during the campus placements for the batch 2020. The recruiters have made more than 6,617 offers during the campus placements for Engineering, MBA, Hotel Management, Pharmacy, Biotechnology, Media, and students of other programs. Chandigarh University Pro-Chancellor informed this during a media interaction. “Some of the multinationals which participated in the recruitments for batch 2020 students included Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Flipkart, IBM, Nutanix, Capgemini, Cognizant, Accenture, Wipro, Walmart, Deloitte, and others. About 106 multinationals this year were common recruiters for fresh talent at IITs, NITs, and Chandigarh University,” added the Pro-Chancellor.

“There has been a quantum jump in the number of offers made by Fortune 500 Companies and Top 100 Companies of India in the first phase of campus placements for batch 2020 in comparison to last year,” the university said. More than 1500 students have bagged multiple offers to date.

“Companies like Cognizant, Capgemini, Wipro, and Mindtree have made the highest number of offers made by the respective multinationals across North India,” the university added. Chandigarh University has been able to maintain good perception as the top-notch companies keep recruiting new talent year after year.

Giving details about the stream-wise companies which visited Chandigarh University for campus recruitments of 2020 batch, the Pro-Chancellor said, “There were 350 multinationals for the placements of engineering students while 180 companies recruited MBA students of different specializations.”

“Students passing-out from Chandigarh University will have no shortage of job opportunities. The university continues to engage with the corporate sector to update the course curriculum as per the industry expectations. It offers new-age programs in the emerging areas such as Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Business Analytics, Machine Learning, Internet of Things, Cloud Computing, and others,” said Satnam Singh Sandhu, Chancellor, Chandigarh University.

Some of the Fortune 500 Companies as recruiters for Batch 2020

Fortune 500 Companies India as recruiters for Batch 2020

Chandigarh University, located near Chandigarh, is a NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council) A+ Grade institution. CU offers more than 109 UG and PG programs in engineering, management, pharmacy, law, architecture, journalism, animation, hotel management, commerce, and other disciplines.

Source: Chandigarh University

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Team Hollo from the University of Hong Kong wins 2020 Microsoft Imagine Cup World Championship, Indore Student part of the Team

University of Hong Kong

University of Hong Kong

Photo: Hollo Team members Cameron van Breda, Ajit Krishna Namakkal Raghavendran, and Piyush Jha from the University of Hong Kong (HKU).

HONG KONG, June 16, 2020 — Team Hollo, from the University of Hong Kong (HKU), won the 2020 Microsoft Imagine Cup World Championship. The Team presented a mental health platform connecting a mobile app for users and a web application for mental health professionals. It is the first Team from Hong Kong to have won the World Championship since the launch of the Microsoft Imagine Cup in 2003.

Hollo Team members, Cameron van Breda (Final Year, Bachelor of Science), Ajit Krishna Namakkal Raghavendran (Year 3, Bachelor of Engineering), and Piyush Jha from India (Final Year, Bachelor of Engineering) met at HKU. The Team noticed that mental health aid was not reaching the younger generations in their communities effectively. The Team envisioned a future of tech-based, accessible, and comprehensive mental health management tools. With this in mind, Team Hollo developed a mental health companion web application leveraging Azure analytics and AI services to advance youth therapy practices.

Over 28,000 students from more than 200 counties registered to participate in the Microsoft Imagine Cup. Only ten teams got selected for the Asia Regional Final. Earlier in February this year, Hollo had won the title of World Finalist in the Asia Regional Final with its impactful solution. In winning the World Championship, the Team won USD100,000, a mentoring session with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and USD50,000 in Azure grants.

The Microsoft Imagine Cup aims to empower students to use their imagination and passion for technology to develop innovative and inclusive solutions that tackle critical societal issues. Held online this year due to the pandemic, it is the first time a Hong Kong team took home the Cup, often called the “Olympics of student tech competitions.”

Piyush is an HKU Final Year Engineering student from Delhi Public School, Indore, who majors in Computer Science and minors in Finance. With a 97% score in the All India Senior School Certificate Examination, Piyush received the HKU Foundation Scholarship with a full tuition fee waiver and living allowance, which is renewable for his entire undergraduate study at HKU. With HKU’s extensive global exchange network, Piyush was able to go on a summer exchange program at the University of British Columbia in 2017. His outstanding GPA also won him the HKSAR Government Scholarship Fund - The Reaching Out Award for the exchange in Vancouver, Canada. On top of that, Piyush is a two-time recipient of the HKSAR Government Talent Development Scholarship for his extraordinary performance in international competitions involving technological innovation challenges and computer science hackathons.

Ajit is currently a Third Year Engineering student who majors in Computer Science at HKU. Originally from Chennai, he was raised in Hong Kong from a young age and has always been curious and innovative growing up. Since studying at HKU, he participated in various international competitions. He was a Finalist in the Global Legal Hackathon for which he went to New York City to pitch in the finals. He is also a recipient of the Funding for Experiential Learning Projects from the Tam Wing Fan Innovation Wing of HKU. He has recently completed a 1-year internship in Asia’s leading digital asset company, BC Group.

HKU Chief Innovation Officer Dr. Yiwu HE congratulated Team Hollo, “The Team demonstrated the growing culture of innovation and entrepreneurship on campus among academics and students here at HKU. We should think not only in terms of pursuing a new idea or concept for discovery but to facilitate excellent research that results in products that impact the world. We hope HKU will incubate many successful companies with innovative products to help grow the high-tech industry and provide the younger generation with more opportunities in Hong Kong.”

Source: The University of Hong Kong

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Ranking for Innovative Universities: World Universities With Real Impact

University Rankings

How should universities evolve and innovate as the world enters a new phase with the fourth industrial revolution, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic? World’s Universities with Real Impact (WURI) invited educators, researchers, data scientists, and professionals of diverse fields to address this complex question at a virtual conference held on June 11.

WURI is a new university ranking system developed last year at the 2nd Hanseatic League of Universities (HLU) Conference held at Incheon National University, South Korea. It strives to overcome the limitations of existing methods of evaluating and ranking universities.

According to WURI, the existing university rankings heavily weigh on research performance, measured by the number of research papers, and traditional methods of knowledge-transfer. Therefore, they do not correctly assess active and innovative programs of universities in the current era of change.

The society has long voiced the need for a new approach to evaluating the institutions of higher education. Particularly with the advent of the 4th industrial revolution that shifted our perspectives on human talent and management, educators and institutions have been gearing efforts to change school programs and curricula to meet the demands of the corporate world and society, WURI elaborated.

The existing rankings provide essential insight into universities’ research efforts; however, they inadequately represent the universities’ overall social impact as active educational institutions. WURI, an alternative system for extant university rankings, examines the innovative programs of universities. WURI ranking has four evaluation categories:

  1. INDUSTRIAL APPLICATIONS. Not the traditional ways of counting research papers and lecture-type teaching.
  2. Value-creating startups and ENTREPRENEURSHIP. Not the traditional focus on the number of jobs filled.
  3. SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, ETHICS, and INTEGRITY. Not a focus on knowledge and skills just for material success.
  4. STUDENT MOBILITY and Openness for Exchange and Collaboration between Schools. Not an independent yet closed system.

The WURI evaluation system adopted the Text Informational Analysis (TIA), based on expert surveys from the university presidents, chancellors, and representatives.

The following four global institutions have created and released the inaugural World’s Universities with Real Impact (WURI) Ranking.

The ranking shows Stanford and MIT in the first and second place, with Aalto University following close in third place. The Arizona State University of the U.S. is on the 7th. It is an excellent case of an innovative university in the U.S.

In Ethical Value, Harvard University is at the top with the University of Pennsylvania, Ecole 42, Duke University, and Columbia University, following the noted order.

For Industrial Application, Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are ranked first and the second, respectively. Minerva Schools at KGI follows as the third, and California Institute of Technology (Caltech) is ranked fourth.

For Entrepreneurial Spirit, Aalto University of Finland is ranked first, followed by Hanze University of Applied Sciences of the Netherlands and Princeton University of the U.S.

In the Student Mobility and Openness area, the National University of Singapore, Seoul National University, University of Copenhagen, Boston University, and the Free University of Berlin made the top five.

In the global 100, 32 universities from the U.S., eight from the U.K., seven from China, six from South Korea, five from Japan, four from Germany, three from France, and three from India appear in the list.

From India, the University of Delhi, and Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women are listed in the Global 100, while Chitkara University is ranked 45 in the Entrepreneurial Spirit category.

ICFAI University, Dehradun, has secured 44th place in TOP 50 in The World’s Universities with Real Impact (WURI) Rankings 2020 under the Industrial Application category.

Source: IPSNC

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June 11, 2020

Back to Campus for Whom? New Infographic Shows Ongoing Uncertainty about Higher Education this Fall.

Cengage’s Analysis of Public Data Shows Many Higher Ed Leaders are Considering a Range of Scenarios while Many Faculty are Planning for Online Learning.

Back to Campus


Photo: Infographic. Cengage’s Analysis of Public Data Shows Many Higher Ed Leaders are Considering a Range of Scenarios while Many Faculty are Planning for Online Learning.

BOSTON, June 11, 2020 — The COVID pandemic continues to wreak havoc on higher education. Eighty-six percent of institutions have yet to announce their plans for the fall semester, and when factoring in enrollment, more than half (62 percent) of college students are uncertain about how to plan their lives when fall arrives.

The data appears in a new infographic from Cengage, an education and technology company. The data includes information gathered from a public listing of fall campus plans tracked by The Chronicle of Higher Education and open data from the federal IPEDS system aggregated with an ongoing Cengage faculty survey.

Of the four-year schools that have announced plans, the majority (68 percent) are planning for in-person courses. 3.5 percent are planning for online-only; 5 percent are proposing a hybrid model; 11.5 percent are “considering a range of scenarios,” while 10 percent have announced they are “waiting to decide.”

While data from schools that have announced their fall plans show a majority plan to hold in-person courses, only 18% of instructors surveyed think sessions will be entirely in-person. 70% of instructors believe they will be doing all or some instruction online.

“There is still a lot of uncertainty about what ‘back to school’ will look. Still, we know that America’s higher education system must be more prepared this fall to handle virtual learning than they were in March,” said Michael Hansen, CEO of Cengage. “Whether online or in-person, institutions should focus on making learning more flexible for the needs of their students and the needs of the times.”

Cengage is an education and technology company built for learners. It provides teaching and learning materials for higher education.

Source: Cengage

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