COVID-19 is bringing about a whole set of new challenges in every possible realm; higher education being just one. Given the rapidly evolving situation around the pandemic, has this forced shift from offline to online mode of teaching-learning given us a peek into the reality ahead? How will COVID-19 transform the future of teaching-learning?
Technology-enabled teaching is definitely the future we are looking towards, but will it be easy to make this transition? How should different stakeholders contribute to ensure a smooth transition?
It is important to identify key challenges for students and teachers in the current scenario. Once identified, academic leadership and the government can address these through innovations in focus areas.
Some companies are rescinding job and internship offers after being negatively impacted by COVID-19. Junior students are finding it harder to find internships, especially foreign research opportunities, which play a key role in interdisciplinary research and exposure to global research facilities.
New project opportunities by universities and within government institutions should be floated and due recognition given. In the long run, leadership within universities and government institutions should push policies to motivate and support an entrepreneurial ecosystem within colleges by setting up more innovation and incubation centres, grants/ fellowships to pursue start-up ideas and flexible policies for deferred placement for start-up enthusiasts.
The private institutions are finding it difficult to provide placement assistants to students. Many firms have withdrawn or deferred their offers given to students. It’s been hard times for many institutions in this crisis.
In the case of technical courses as well as in commerce and management disciplines, students have to do internships with industry as part of course requirements. How would students be fruitfully able to undergo internship when academic institutions and industries are closed due to lockdown. Some industries may reopen in course of time, but would they be able to comply with internship requirements, concerned as they are with productivity and sales?
There have been no comparable breakthroughs from Indian universities, and to the extent that studies on India have been done, most have been carried out by scholars based in foreign universities rather than those working in Indian universities.
Coming days will be hard for many institutions and students as the economic slowdown looms over the globe.