COVID-19 Effect: A change in Higher Education

Aditya Berlia

Most colleges are not looking to open properly until the end of the year, and many in the United States, Europe, Australia and Canada are even considering waiting till early next year, says Aditya Berlia, Co-Founder and Pro Chancellor, Apeejay Stya University in a conversation with Elets News Network (ENN).

The Covid-19 pandemic in many ways will completely change how higher education is delivered and received. With an economic contraction across the world now more than ever people will require better credentials to take up 21st Century jobs. Regulators as well have been jolted and progressive ideas long left dormant or thought not possible will become available. It remains to be seen if this will lead to lasting reform or if they will try to bounce back to old outdated ways as soon as possible.

At the same time, we will witness in the next years the greatest number of closures and bankruptcies of institutions across the world. In India, particularly there has been an oversupply of education institutions which have not been set up with the right intention or foundation.

Covid-19 has lifted the veil of many even “well known” institutions which kept insisting on their marketing materials they were “innovative” and “world-class” but struggled even to deliver simple online learning through video conferences.

Also read: COVID-19: Delhi govt teachers demand better safety measures

Apeejay Stya University and Colleges were lucky on that note to have been able to in a few days start full online classes with the entire timetable and even conduct examinations without pause. It is the testament to grit and training of professors and administrators to have been able to stand up to the challenge presented.

For students who were looking at foreign education over the next year, it will be a challenge. Most colleges are not looking to open properly until the end of the year, and many in the United States, Europe, Australia and Canada are even considering waiting till early next year. Now is the time to search for local options that can give excellent foundations with an international academic system that allows easy transfers in the second year and beyond.

There shall also be a job crisis which will cause countries to pare down their acceptance of immigrants and work permits will be hard to come by for several years.

It is essential thus for students to ensure they can gain practical experience through not only traditional internships and projects but also through freelance work. Those who are able to use this valuable time to bolster their CV will stand apart from other graduates as well as even older candidates demonstrating their adaptability to the situation.

The good news is students who are just entering college will enter a better more robust job market two to four years from now, but the skills required would be fundamentally different.

It is therefore vital to focus on an education that encourages through a demonstrated system lifelong learning empowering students to face dramatic changes in the world with confidence.

Picking the correct institution, therefore, is more important than ever and students and their parents who embark on this journey should look beyond the facade of marketing and truly try and understand how the academic system and design of their course will allow them to reach their true potential and meet their aspirations.

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