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University and School Collaborations during a Pandemic

Sustaining Educational Opportunity and Reinventing Education

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  • Open Access
  • © 2022

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  • Examines how twenty universities around the world engaged with school systems during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Shows how to mitigate the learning crisis in schools by integrating outreach
  • Describes innovations that supported school education during the pandemic, such as deploying digital assets
  • This is an Open Access book

Part of the book series: Knowledge Studies in Higher Education (KSHE, volume 8)

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About this book

Based on twenty case studies of universities worldwide, and on a survey administered to leaders in 101 universities, this open access book shows that, amidst the significant challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, universities found ways to engage with schools to support them in sustaining educational opportunity. In doing so, they generated considerable innovation, which reinforced the integration of the research and outreach functions of the university.

The evidence suggests that universities are indeed open systems, in interaction with their environment, able to discover changes that can influence them and to change in response to those changes. They are also able, in the success of their efforts to mitigate the educational impact of the pandemic, to create better futures, as the result of the innovations they can generate. This challenges the view of universities as “ivory towers” being isolated from the surrounding environment and detached from local problems.

As they reached out to schools, universities not only generated clear and valuable innovations to sustain educational opportunity and to improve it, this process also contributed to transform internal university processes in ways that enhanced their own ability to deliver on the third mission of outreach.

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Table of contents (22 chapters)


“The book’s main strength lies in the expertise of diverse contributors from various universities and private institutions. … The book will be of value to students, teachers, educational institutions, and policymakers who want to understand developments in education during and after the pandemic, and how universities were involved in it. This book reminds us that overcoming educational problems during the pandemic could not be achieved alone but required collaboration between all parties concerned in maintaining education in a crisis.” (Tanzilal Wanda Rizki, Educational Review, Vol. 74 (3), 2022) 

Editors and Affiliations

  • Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA

    Fernando M. Reimers

  • Qatar Foundation, Doha, Qatar

    Francisco J. Marmolejo

About the editors

Fernando M. Reimers is the Ford Foundation Professor of the Practice of International Education and Director of the Global Education Innovation Initiative and of the International Education Policy Masters Program at Harvard University. An expert in the field of Global Education, his research and teaching focus on understanding how to educate children and youth so they can thrive in the 21st century. He is a member of UNESCO’s high level commission on the Futures of Education.

Francisco C. Marmolejo is Higher Education President at Qatar Foundation (QF), where he leads QF’s support and coordination activities to the unique ecosystem of eight prestigious universities offering in Education City in Doha, Qatar, more than 70 undergraduate and graduate programs to students from 60 countries. Previously (2012-20), he worked at the World Bank, where he served as the Global Higher Education Coordinator, based in Washington, DC., and more recently as Lead Higher Education Specialist for India and South Asia, based in New Delhi. From 1995 to 2012, he served as founding Executive Director of the Consortium for North American Higher Education Collaboration, a network of more than 160 universities mainly from Canada, USA and Mexico, based at the University of Arizona, where he also worked as Assistant Vice President, Affiliated Researcher at the Center for the Study of Higher Education, and Affiliate Faculty at the Center for Latin American Studies. Previously, he has been American Council on Education Fellow at the University of Massachusetts, Academic Vice President of the University of the Americas in Mexico, and International Consultant at OECD in Paris. He has received honorary doctorate degrees from his Alma Mater, the University of San Luis Potosi, and the University of Guadalajara in Mexico.

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