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Life after high school in a post-Covid world

Nearly every aspect of human life has been affected by the spread of coronavirus pandemic. Businesses, big or small, across all types of industries are grappling to resume normalcy in their day-to-day operations. The impact is large and widespread – layoffs and salary cuts have soared; unemployment is rising at an unprecedented pace and household finances have been thrown into uncertainty.

Among others, one area hugely impacted by Covid-19 is higher education. The fresh academic session of graduation is upon us. However, high school students today face a challenge that is radically different than many of us imagined.

There is no clarity as to when they will be able to explore the exciting life ahead of high school as colleges and universities have been forced to switch to online courses while struggling with a myriad of other issues, especially technology.

Preparing them for a post-Covid-19 world requires adaptability, resilience and flexibility.

Challenges in college experience due to Covid-19

The crisis has forced educational institutions across the country to re-imagine how to deliver an engaging and holistic learning experience to students in the absence of physical learning infrastructure.

Colleges and universities, as well as, schools have made an enormous shift towards online courses which will undoubtedly impact the success and retention of students. This requisite change has been challenging for most colleges, especially the ones which emphasise an intimate college experience.

Moreover, with campus closures, colleges have lost the opportunity to actively engage with students through on-campus experiences.

Colleges might be mounting a ton of webinars, but on-campus events remain the most impactful events for most of the students.

The dynamics of a physical class are completely different from an online class, but academicians have pitched in innovatively and enthusiastically so that the challenges posed by the pandemic to the education can best be minimised.

Digital technology and faculty determination are making sure that students are able to adhere to their academic calendars without any interruption.

Read also: How to manage mental health during exams Top tips from a psychiatrist

Opportunities brought by the pandemic challenges

Though the situation is challenging, it is also a massive opportunity to break out of old habits and take advantage of technology to create new, impactful and relevant modes of learning. If there is any good thing about the crisis, it is the realisation of the significance of technology.

The companies and educational institutes who were technologically equipped found it relatively easier to switch to remote work and classes respectively.

It is expected that the pandemic will result in colleges and universities becoming more tech savvy and make education more accessible by automating mundane tasks and day-to-day operations like counselling, student life, career development, etc.

Moreover, the ability to attend classes while living at home may become a much more palatable option for parents afraid to send their children to live in densely populated campus dorms.

Study abroad plans

Despite the pandemic, South Asia study abroad interest remains high. According to a survey by counselling organisation Global Reach, a mere 2% of prospective students in South Asia would totally drop the idea of studying overseas due to the pandemic.

Similar to this, a Yocket survey revealed that close to 70% of the respondents still had an interest in studying abroad in the July-September 2020 session despite Covid-19.

The limitations of the study are quite evident since the unprecedented situation has resulted in overnight changes in the socio-political realities of the world.

A recent study, ‘Indian Students’ Mobility Report 2020 – Impact of Covid-19 on Higher Education Choices’, gauges the future trends in the higher education domain. According to the report, 47.73% of students agreed to have prior plans of moving abroad for higher education with a marginal difference of 2.98% between STEM and non-STEM students aspiring for higher education abroad.

However, Covid-19 impacted the decision of 48.46% students who aspired to study abroad and the majority of them are non-STEM students.

Summing it all up

Tough times don’t last forever. As industry veterans are fast engaging to interact virtually with the students to contemplate the effects of the pandemic on education, students will have access to a road map for a career that is rewarding and impactful.

Though it is too early to judge how the pandemic will affect the education system in the long term, these experimental alterations can bring a lasting impact on the trajectory of learning innovation and digitisation.

Article by Shveta Raina, Founder and CEO, Talerang

Courtesy: India Today

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