Impact of Covid-19 on Higher Education in India

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Because of the ongoing Covid-19 or Coronavirus pandemic, all schools, colleges, and educational institutions across the country are temporarily closed until further notice. As per the present scenario, there is uncertainty looming large regarding when colleges and other educational institutes will reopen. Undoubtedly, this is a very crucial time for the education sector as the entrance tests of various universities and other competitive examinations are usually held during this period. Besides that, the board examinations, college admissions, etc are stuck too.

The COVID-19 has jolted everyone and is causing a lot of anxiety and stress to students who were scheduled to appear in professional entrance exams such as JEE for getting admission in B.Tech Engineering courses, B.Com Programme, etc. Some exams that were scheduled in April 2020 like KCET, MHT CET, GUJCET are not postponed. Considering the state of affairs, it is a matter of concern on how this pandemic will affect higher education in India.

As per a report of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the Government of India has done a survey on higher education and seen that there are a total of 39931 Colleges, 993 universities, and approximately 10725 Stand Alone Institutions on their portal contributing to education. These colleges and institutions also reflect the student density of India as the total number of enrolments in higher education each year is about 37.4 million, which proves the expanding prospects of the education industry. This sector was really catching pace until Coronavirus impacted India and the world intensely.

Impact of COVID-19 on Indian Education Sector

  • All major entrance examinations like engineering, medical, agriculture, law, fashion and designing courses, etc are postponed. This situation is like an alarming bell particularly in private sector universities as the jobs and salaries of faculties and employees could be affected.
  •  The lockdown in the country has given rise to uncertainty about the exam cycle. The colleges and universities may also face impact as there could be a slowdown in student internships and even placements could be affected. There also could be a lower fee collection which would be a big roadblock in managing the working capital.
  • It will also affect the paying capacity of various people in the private sector, which is catering to a sizable fragment of the students in the country.
  • Student counseling functions are also affected.
  • Various institutions may stop faculty hiring plans.
  • Technology is playing an important role in the lockdown period as online classes, study from home, and work from home are being encouraged. In India, only some private schools could begin online teaching methods as it requires enough finances and technology. As a result, some places are experiencing a complete shut down as they have no access to e-learning solutions.
  • Higher education sectors are completely disrupted in the country. Thousands of Indian students who took admissions in colleges abroad like in the UK, US, Australia, etc are not able to go and join their courses. There is uncertainty and if the situation persists, then there will be a huge decline in the demand for such international higher education too.
  • Another major challenge will be employment opportunities. Students who have completed their graduation or higher education are fearing that they wouldn’t get apt offers or withdrawal of job offers due to the current situation. AS per the data given by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, there is an unemployment shortage from 8.4% in mid-March to about 23% in early April, whereas the urban unemployment rate stands at 30.9%.

Will the 2020 Academic Year Suffer?

With the grade 10, 12 board exams, college entrance tests, university exams, higher education entrance tests like B.Tech Engineering being postponed, it will be a major challenge for the universities to complete their schedule on time without compromising on the training quality. Due to colleges being shut down and postponement in national-level entrance exams, this academic year could suffer. For instance, JEE Main is the ticket to getting engineering education in India, and that exam has been postponed due to the Coronavirus outbreak. This will further postpone or delay the beginning of academic sessions of the majority of the engineering colleges in India and the various universities will also follow that postponement. Because of all this, the students who are seeking admission in this academic year are currently clueless and stressed about how and where they should apply and how they should proceed further.

College Placements: COVID-19

The Covid-19 outbreak has also prompted various colleges in India to allow their GD/PI process. There is a likelihood that the 2020 placement season may also witness a dip as the global economy is experiencing a gigantic decline. There is an ever-increasing number of multinational and other companies talking about an ‘outplacement’, wherein support administration is offered by some associations to allow previous representatives to go for new openings or are conceding their joining dates. It won’t be false to expect that across the world, we are moving towards a major recession in 2020. In case of such uncertainty and vulnerability, the students who were planning to go abroad can consider this year as a lucky break and utilize this time to hone some skills.