Impact of Covid 19 on Indian Higher Education

Coronavirus has proven to be a – “war against an invisible enemy”, it is still unknown that the world has seen the worst, or is it yet to come. 25th March’2020 India came up with the lockdown declaration for 21 days to deal with this unseen foe, then came the 2.0 version, and later due to the flare-up of this novel threat the economy was forced to impose a 3.0 phase of the lockdown. By the end of 2019, most of the leading economists were expecting a slowdown in the current year i.e. 2020 and the major economies were already heading southward. Corresponding to an economic downturn, Covid-19 broke-out and impelled the world to a standstill. It has been proving lethal not just to the human population but also to the global economy. This global crisis has already been declared worse than World-War II and it’s claimed that the world has not witnessed such a baleful pandemic in the past 100 years.

The Pandemic has been proven to be crucial and assertive to mankind and the economies worldwide at various levels, it has ordained a cincher on the GDP. This also has grossly grieved the key macro and micro-economic indicators like- M2(money supply), consumer price index, oil prices, inflation, employment, spending power, housing, etc. The United Nations, Europe, and China wrote about its worldwide spread and impact on developing economies. This explosion of the virus has left the world unprepared about several facets in general and has distressed the world globally, which has pushed mankind to be contained at home. Healthcare, infantry & security, medicine, education, agriculture, businesses of all scales, nothing is spared and thus it is termed as worse than the world war itself. As many as 4,196,784 cases have been identified as on 11th May 2020, the numbers are alarming and appalling.

Social-distancing, Social-isolation, and Lockdown are the only known ways of precaution of this pandemic, countries have dived into the research related to the procurement of this malignant virus. The education sector is one aspect which is considered to remain unaffected by the recession in general, simply because people don’t tend to barricade themselves from learning rather, they focus more on the education and grasping knowledge during these hard times. But this time, the unprecedented virus has brought the recession to the education sector as well leaving the campus premises vacant, blocking the students for & from abroad, scrunching the mode of imparting education, leaving the industry workforce and students bewildered. It is estimated that as many as1.725 billion learners have been affected due to school and institution closures. This had made this sector vulnerable and uptight.

Current Status and newfound challenges

The education sector was one of the very first sectors coming under the radar of Pandemic precaution and lockdown. Initially, the board exams were delayed and later the entire education system aligned with the government declaration and decided to keep its functioning, on hold for an unknown tenure. Ultimately, the entire exams, admissions, job-placements, work-force recruitment everything got delayed, the sudden lockdown took away any possibility of the leeway for the institutions to prepare themselves for the changing mode of the education. Pandemic like this was never estimated, India and several other nations will certainly have some major after-effects of this lockdown in the future. Herewith, below we have listed the issues India is facing or will encounter as an after-effect of the pandemic. We will look through the major challenges at both the macro and micro levels in detail.

The objective of the article

COVID-19 has perplexed the world and forced the nations to deal with a fathom of primary and secondary requisites, shifting the world’s functioning as a whole. This has created an environment of uncertainty and delay across the sector. So, to encounter such aspects we have taken the step and have tried to structure a series of articles to acknowledge and register the current status of Indian Higher Education and its comprehensive impact. This particular article will consist of three further compositions. The three up-coming segments will be published with-in the due course of time and the content will come under the subheadings of: –

  1. Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education at the Macro level,
  2. Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education at the Micro level,
  3. Impact of COVID-19 on the industry workforce and major findings/conclusions.

Major challenges for Indian Education- 2020 (Due to COVID-19)

Indian education has always been considered conventional and traditional in its core approach, however lately, with the technological advancement our education system has managed to endure and become acquainted with modes like- online learning, LMS, asynchronous and synchronous methods of learning. Withal, the usage of these modes was very limited and the percussion was quite apprehending, also the lockdown has shifted the course of several processes, almost overnight. So, the very first facet that came into account of the sector was to put the regular on-campus classes on hold. This leads to begetting the E-learning classes to the mainstream and later the regular exams along with the competitive once got either delayed or suspended, similarly, annual convocations of various institutions, new admissions, their recruitments were kept on hold. International student exchange programs have already taken an all-time dip and placements may also face a major disruption, students hoisting education loans or under debt running are in a tight spot.  Challenges are not only prevalent for the learners rather, but it is also affecting the workforce, admin, and the entire management of the domain. The digital gap in India has made the online penetration test plus the deprivation of technology and resources has made the situation even more strenuous. Access to the laptop, desktop, internet, and other resources is not something that everyone is facilitated with and the workforce is in the ordeal to prepare with the study material, putting it across different channels and mediums, collecting assignments. The entire process has become lengthy and thus faculty is left with more work to do before-hand. There is also an expected dip in the number of Indian students applying to foreign universities and vice-versa.

 Findings and Recommendations

  1. Online teaching has never been proven more important, as millions of students are relying on the e-learning platform during this pandemic-lockdown.
  2. Those who work and research in the education sector are in the safest space, and that makes them confident concerning the future aspect.
  3. There may exist different opinions for different sectors on how COVID-19 is going to affect them, but when it comes to the education sector- more or less the responses are similar. Coronavirus has affected the India Education System but the intensity can be rectified only once the intensity of the virus will fade down.
  4. As per the reports, AICTE has cancelled the summer internships in the companies, which was earlier mandatory for most of the higher education professional courses.
  5. Exchange programmes, which are designed for exposure and experiential learning have been kept on hold for un-definite time frame.
  6. Campus recruitments and placements will take a huge dip this year
  7. Campus proximity may stand over the overall offering of the institution/university
  8. Online Education needs a lot of attention in India. We need to be more prepared in terms of technology and efficient utilization of resources, for any future threat

As in any other industry, the education industry also will face a concentration of power among the small number of brand names and the flight for the quality will prevail. Universities and corporates can collaborate more in the future to exceed the stakeholder value. How will the world look and function post-corona? Well, no matter how many times we would be questioned to understand this upcoming phase of the future, we are left with some vague and blur imaginations. It’s a crisis and must be having an end at some point or other but till then the world has to learn to make peace with it. We need to accept the fact that at the moment staying safe is the top-most priority and challenge for any society and nation. Whatever the future maybe, but the current slowdown will provoke to have a more accelerated future, for sure.