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Dr Indu Rao, Professor and Director-ASC, VIT University, Vellore: Lockdown a blessing in disguise for students

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Dr Indu Rao

There are two major categories of students affected by corona lockdown during these days. The ones who are enrolled in study program and the ones who have applied for a new program of study. Given the extensive connectivity through internet, there is no need for a panic. The students enrolled in a program will be taken care of by the schools/colleges through online study, examination and assessment. In a way, given the inflow of assignments and tests and compulsory classroom attendance that students are subjected to today, it has come like a breather and a sigh of relief. For learning purposes, there are plenty of study courses and material provided by the government as well as the institutions in the country. For those who have applied for study in a new program within India or abroad, there has been a delay in the entrance tests as well as in the decisions of applications.

None of this should be a cause of worry for the students as it is a universal phenomenon and universities around the world are well aware and well-concerned for this cohort of students. Many Indian students had a dream of going abroad example to USA, Australia and Europe during next Fall, i.e. September 2020. But their admissions are either deferred to Spring, or converted for online classes. Foreign universities are having a tough time recruiting their own undergraduate and graduate students to fill up seats for Fall 2020 and are considering waiver of tests like SAT. Since student visas will not be issued until corona scare is cleared, international student admissions are not a priority for the foreign universities at this time due to uncertainty that exists for international travel, despite the assurance of heavy fees that comes from international students. The corona threat and precautions have forced universities to go completely online for the ongoing classes in USA and it all “depends” on how things shape up in the coming months. It is noteworthy that USA and Germany have recorded 3,67,758 and 1,03,375 of the total 1,348,628 confirmed cases of corona infected patients in the world.

For Indian students, it is summer break time, and those not yet admitted to foreign study programs, it is a blessing. They can choose from good Indian universities to pursue their studies for next year. For students who think that their dreams are shattered, it is time to re-think if they had misplaced dreams and assumptions that life can be good only when one goes abroad. India with a huge population has only 4,426 corona cases as of today and as compared to other countries, situation is much under control. Additionally, events like the COVID-19 crisis can help the students pause and reflect about what they would like to do with their lives and why ?

In the hectic schedules of current education system, students have found it hard to find time to do this otherwise. Students can also pursue their passion for reading, writing, music and other extra-curricular options. In a world that was increasingly characterized by intense competition, rat-race and materialistic pursuits, students should not think they have been left behind or harmed by this lockdown. Instead, such students have got more time to spend with their parents, to witness and reflect on the true nature, meaning and purpose of life, to develop a higher empathy towards humanity and to set their priorities right. The current lockdown is a blessing in disguise !

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