Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to understand the key challenges, approaches and lessons of the higher educational institutions (HEIs) in the context of COVID-19.
Design/methodology/approach – A survey was conducted to understand the key challenges being faced by the HEIs around the world during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 150 responses were collected from 65 universities, located in 29 countries.
Findings – The results show that 47% of respondents with defined universities believe their institutions lacked a permanent or dedicated emergency management office, and 41% said their HEIs lacked a general business continuity plan for an emergency. In universities with BCPs, 33%of the plans do not cover biological hazards and pandemic risk management, and 60% of the plans did not include conducting any advanced simulation exercises. More than 70% the responded said their instruction, information sharing and decisionmaking process were timely and open. The major challenges identified were a lack of adequate preparedness for pandemic and of pandemic-specific advanced simulation exercises. The next major challenges were the change in the mode of teaching to online lectures and working from home. Based on these challenges, a set of short- and long-term recommendations were proposed.
Originality/value – This was the first survey in academic institutions in post COVID-19 context. The findings will be useful for preparing for biological and other related hazards.