Education during COVID-19 era: Challenges, Steps, and a Way Forward

The first quarter of 2020 brought an unpleasant surprise for the whole world with COVID-19, and while we are learning to adapt ourselves to the new lifestyle, there’s a sector which probably took the maximum toll- Education. The nationwide lockdown led to the closing of educational institutions and restricted students and teachers to their homes. The sudden disruption of all physical interaction and discontinuity of classes has hampered the learning curve of students.

March to July is the admission season in Indian colleges, and the current situation has led to an unprecedented delay in the process. In this article, we will discuss the types of challenges that the COVID-19 lockdown has brought, steps taken to curb them, and what we can expect in the following months.

Challenges With COVID-19 in education system

1. Cancellation of classes:

With the nationwide lockdown, all public places, including schools and colleges, had to be closed down as the risk of infection was very high. Since there is no physical interaction between the teachers and the students, a majority of students are facing issues in coping with their subjects. 

2. Postponement of exam dates:

Many entrance exams including the ones which are conducted by reputed universities for courses like BCom program and other management courses have been postponed without any intimation of a later date for the exam.

Candidates who applied for different courses such as B.Tech Engineering and BBA Admission are also facing the same issues as some entrance exams couldn’t be held, and their future seems uncertain.

Some B.Tech computer science students even had to miss their internship opportunities with several IT giants.

3. A disagreement between the institutions and the students regarding the fees:

A lot of cases arose where there was a disagreement between the school/college administration and the students or their parents regarding the fees which are being charged during the COVID-19 era. Some students are opposed to their administration’s decision of charging extracurricular fees along with their BCom fees because they haven’t attended even a single extracurricular event in the current session.

Due to the above challenges, the nation worked together to figure out solutions to bypass these issues and bring things back on track. 

Some of the counter-measures taken are

1. Going the digital way: Who would have imagined that they would attend their classes on an online meeting app? Well, that’s a new normal now. While it is not a big deal for tech-savvy people, those not familiar with modern gadgets and technology are facing issues. Some BTech computer science students have even designed personalized apps for their institutions. Every cloud has a silver lining!

2. Admissions based on board/ university marks: Due to the cancellation of entrance exams, students were left speculating of a future date. Some institutes decided to do away with the idea of entrance altogether and decided to prepare their merit lists on the basis of marks obtained in the board/ university exams. However, the process has a few loopholes, as some students who had paid fees for the BCom entrance exam are now awaiting a refund.

3. Adjusting the fee:

Since there was an uproar regarding the fee amount, a majority of institutions decided to charge only the tuition fee. Many institutions decided to exempt charges like hostel and transport fees. An aspiring BBA LLB student had applied for the BBA Admission, even wrote to the Ministry of Education to look into the matter.

4. Online study materials:

In the past few years, students had developed a habit of reading PDFs and PPTs, and the same habit is now helping them with their studies. Whether they are students of B.Tech Engineering, BBA LLB, or those enrolled in the BCom program, everyone is studying using digital study materials, and submitting online assignments!  

Way Forward

The current COVID-19 curve in our country doesn’t appear very encouraging, and we must prepare ourselves to fight a protracted war against this deadly virus. However, scientists and doctors from all over the world are working day and night to prepare a vaccine, and we may get good news anytime. As for the education system, the students and teachers are slowly getting used to the current system, and soon it will seem like a new normal.

The COVID-19 era has brought many hardships, as people involved in the upkeep of educational buildings, and other ones who used to work as drivers and cooks are facing the direct threat of losing their jobs. However, the government is working towards ensuring that no one loses their livelihood due to the COVID-19 lockdown. India recently saw a new Education Policy suggested, and some of its provisions depicted a shift towards a more independent and flexible education infrastructure for the country. For now, we can keep pushing ourselves to make a better tomorrow with the common American proverb in our minds: When the going gets tough, the tough get going!

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