No aspect of life has remained untouched from the effects of the Coronavirus. It has altered the way we live, the way we work, and the way we teach and study, too. The way education is imparted has undergone a drastic, and of course, an unplanned change. The universities abroad are managing this crisis by following different approaches.
The universities in UK haven’t changed much as they already have a sturdy online teaching format. So, they have simply transferred the offline lectures and study materials to the online mode. Universities are adopting a “students first” approach, keeping in mind the students’ future, to ensure there is no delay in the completion of various courses. Faculty members are leaving no stone unturned to help students complete all their coursework and projects. In place of the standard examination, students will now be assessed on the basis of their assignments and project work. Currently, the plan is to resume on-campus classes in autumn. Online teaching can only be a temporary replacement for classroom teaching, as despite its many advantages, it cannot provide the essential face-to-face interactive experience in its entirety.
On the basis of the data available through surveys and other sources, it is evident that students have not given up on traveling abroad for pursuing their higher education. The decision is based not only on the study purpose but also on the enriching experience one gets by living in a different country. It goes without saying that the campus life is in for a major reshuffle in a post-Covid world. Social distancing will be the new normal of campus life and there will be a number of other changes pertaining to the way we meet and greet classmates. Other than the lifestyle changes, there will also be a closure of some scholarship programmes.
Once the on-campus classes begin, it will be imperative to practice all precautionary measures. For instance, a lecture or a seminar with a number of participants will be best shifted to an online medium. Also, since the syllabus cannot be cut short, the amount of time lost will have to be recovered by adjusting regular breaks and holidays. Whatever approach a university decides to take, it will definitely be influenced by the government’s exit strategy, both from the pandemic and from the lockdown. However, the utmost important thing for universities will be to ensure it poses no difficulty for students in the middle of a session.
In fact, some universities have already started taking pro-student actions. The University of Portsmouth has given an option of refund to the students, allowing them to get admitted at a later session. The universities in UK have September and January intakes. In fact, some even have a June intake. Thus, it makes it easier for students to reapply.
If we talk about the job prospects, they are definitely going to be slim and bleak. It will be a few years before it regains strength. However, the positive side of this grim scenario is that it is just the best time to invest in education. This is because, by the time students will graduate, the global economy will have come out of this crisis to a significant extent and the same skills will be needed that are needed now.