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The impact of COVID 19 on Higher Education
A college is a conglomeration of minds, a constellation of ideas and a quarry of queries. But above all, it is a confluence where students and teachers come together through interactions and intersections. To a student, the university is their second home. It’s where they meet their extended family and wrestle with the issues of the day, grapple with the problems of the century. This image of a vibrant campus life is under attack. Our classrooms have been invaded by a virus. A pernicious pandemic has compelled us to abandon our academic cohorts. Learning in the times of covid 19 is a dismal, isolating exercise, devoid of the warmth of human touch and companionship. But is that the only thing that has changed? Here’s a glimpse into the landscape of higher education during a worldwide pandemic. Don’t forget to seek the advice of your overseas education consultants before making the big leap.
How feasible is the new normal?
Social distancing and quarantine have left the education sector in dire economic straits. Almost 33.7 per cent of the foreign students visiting the US consist of aspiring candidates from China. India accounts for 18.4 percent of the total foreign entrants. Travel bans have undoubtedly contributed to the slowing down of viral contamination. But it has also resulted in many students being stranded, cut off from their institutions for an indefinite period. The survey conducted by the Institute of International Education cites examples of as many as 830 Chinese academics who have been unable to return to their US campuses. The numbers pose a sobering question. What will the future of education programs look like if such restrictions are to continue? What impact will it have on the economy?
Connected at a distance
While virtual classrooms and online curricula have managed to keep academic pursuits going, they need to be optimised to suit the needs of students and faculty alike. Institutions like Stanford, Hofstra and Princeton have completely shifted their focus to troubleshooting student problems in virtual chat rooms. While that solves the problem of space, it does not effectively address time related troubles. Time differences between two nations can often result in disrupted sleep patterns and lifestyle disorders – an unfortunate consequence of the new normal.
A new course on health habits
While the idea of virtual classrooms addresses short-term crises, it is not a practical solution for each and every university. Not every institute is reasonably endowed with infrastructural and logistical advantages. Needless to say, most institutions will need to work out a combination of safe practices to ensure a speedy restoration to normal. Best practices include awareness of sanitizer, hand wash and maintaining communal hygiene. The future of academic curricula includes a thorough grounding in these daily habits.
Minding mental health
2020 is not a good year for mental health. Instances of anxiety and depression have become more widespread than ever before. With our economy in shambles and unemployment at an all time high, student morale has naturally gone down. The new normal has made psychological evaluation and counselling of paramount importance. Every educational institution is expected to provide its students with necessary psychiatric succour. Your overseas education consultants in Kolkata should be able to bring you up to speed with all the new changes, physical and psychological.
But this too shall pass. Through the course of human history, plagues, pandemics and pathologies have populated dreams, discourses and daily lives. The only way out of the doldrums is through positive thinking and vitality of spirit. Sometimes the best foot forward is a step towards health and well-being.