What Exactly Happened? – The Catastrophe
The year 2020 has been a catastrophic year world over. The novel coronavirus is adversely affecting lives in a colossal way. With Wuhan, China as its epicenter, the virus steadily spread across the globe with a ripple effect and unabated speed.
How the Coronavirus has impacted students around the world is an impending issue. The impact on students is unfortunately harsh and grave. Countries are still battling with the growing contagion in addition to their own localized issues.
The WHO declared COVID 19 as a global pandemic and announced measures that could prevent or slow down the spread of the virus. Activities in offices, public spaces, and schools remained suspended.
As a result, students especially felt the impact of the virus profoundly. How the coronavirus has impacted students globally, is an important discussion that needs to be addressed.
In for A Rude Shock -The First Jolt
The onslaught of the virus can be termed nothing less than a war. With the repercussion of war manifesting itself in loss of lives and economic slowdowns.
The virus too has the same consequences as an actual war and to date, the virus continues to ravage countries across the globe.
Along with public spaces, places of worship, and offices, educational institutions like preschools, schools, colleges had to shut operations to limit the spread of the virus. A detailed study on the impact of COVID 19 on the education sector in India can be referred from here.
From pre-schools to Ph.D., classes were suspended. Teachers and students are now suddenly trying to adapt to online learning systems.
How Covid Has Impacted Students Across the Globe?
January of 2020 saw COVID cases around the world increasing manifold. The cosmic increase in cases resulted in countries world over, announcing the closure of schools and colleges. These places are proving to be hotspots for the transmission of the virus.
In India, school and college classes were suspended in mid-march. By this time the virus was steadily spreading its tentacles in the country.
Schools and colleges in the country closed as a precautionary measure rather than as a result of confirmed cases.
The diverse sections of society, active population, and interaction between children were all factors that concluded, maintaining social distancing in schools and colleges would be highly impossible.
The pandemic most definitely impacted students all over the world. The abrupt closure of schools and colleges in the middle of the academic year left students in the lurch.
Below we have tried to summarize how the coronavirus has impacted students not only in India but around the world.
Adverse Effects of The Coronavirus on Students
Uncertainty Over the Completion of The Academic Year
The timing of the coronavirus abruptly ended ongoing classes, courses, and examinations, leaving students and parents in a tough situation.
An incomplete academic year resulted in the non-completion of the curriculum and incomplete annual examinations. Students were unable to complete public examinations.
After months of deliberation, some examinations were conducted with stringent measures in place. Some assessments were totally called off and results declared for only attempted portions. With such uncertainty, students were at a loss.
The aftermath of such a situation is colossal and education departments are still trying to come up with solutions that will negate the ill effects of the virus on students.
As there is no experience in handling a grave situation like this, the education departments world over are deliberating over the issue and are seeking opinions of students, parents, and academicians regarding the continuation or rather discontinuation of the academic year and a route map of the year going forward.
Towards the End of 2020, with The Situation Still Grim, Schools and Colleges Are Yet To Decide The Way Forward.
Inability to Repay Student Loans
Another adverse effect of the coronavirus on students is the inability to manage and repay student loans. Students often take loans to fund their higher education in their own country or a foreign country.
With the sudden loss of jobs and salary cuts due to the coronavirus, a number of student loans have turned bad.
Students are unable to repay loan amounts taken before the onset of the virus. To overcome the economic fallout, the government is trying to devise possible student loan relief packages.
Postponing payments, interest waivers and alternative repayment plans are some of the relief packages for students in the repayment of loans.
Closure of Hostels
The coronavirus resulted in the sudden decision to close schools and colleges. As a result, campus hostels closed soon after. Students had to find their own boarding and lodging facilities.
The threat of the virus left students in the lurch. They had little or no money to pay for their food and shelter.
Many students stranded in various parts of the world posted distress calls and videos on social media channels. The local communities and governments made special efforts to aid stranded students during these tough times.
India discontinued all international flights with immediate effect. Only the government Vande Bharath mission brought back stranded students stuck abroad.
Psychological impact on students
The closing of schools and colleges means that students will be deprived of social interactions with peers. Many students ended up losing access to services that were offered by schools. This has grave consequences on the mental health and physical well-being of students.
Man is a social animal and for all-round development, human interaction is necessary. The virus resulted in the abrupt suspension of classes.
Children especially, could not interact, mingle, and play with others. This impacted the mental health of a number of children across the globe.
According to a survey conducted by the University of Hongkong- the information provided by Dr. Agnes Yuen-Kwan Lai, The University of Hong Kong- Depression and anxiety are common mental health problems experienced by university students.
Being in higher education is associated with many stressors and transitional events, and students fall within the age range when common mental health problems are at their developmental peak.
Depression and anxiety can impair students’ academic performance and social functioning, cause significant burden at university, and potentially affect their future career opportunities.
The economic recession will have its own adverse impact on students. The current budget crisis has a real impact on education.
With trimmed education services students will not receive the full benefits package of the university/ school. Job markets will also be at its lowest.
Graduates and students will feel the adverse impact of the economic recession due to coronavirus.
We have tried to illuminate a few points on how the coronavirus has impacted students globally.
However, this is just a tip of the iceberg. A number of severe and critical obstacles lie ahead. Overcoming these stumbling blocks is the key to defeating the adverse economic effects of the pandemic.
Introduction of Online Learning Education During the Pandemic
The coronavirus has brought about a change in the mode of education. From traditional learning to eLearning. The introduction of e-Learning or online classes is another major consequence of how coronavirus has impacted students world over.
However, its effects on children are still being studied and analyzed. As a result of the pandemic, the closure of schools and colleges was apparent.
This abrupt closure resulted in new methods of imparting education. Universities and education boards turned to online or distance education to continue the courses for students.
Almost overnight students, teachers, and parents had to adopt and adapt to the new techniques of online learning.
Some of the difficulties faced can be summarized as follows
The introduction of online learning was not in a phased manner. The online system was adopted almost overnight. Students faced several difficulties in adapting to the new techniques immediately.
There was little or no time for students and teachers to familiarize themselves with the latest technology, applications, and software. Many students and teachers face technical difficulties in adjusting to the new online classes.
Internet access and device availability
Internet access and device availability were one of major concerns in many countries. As the focus on education shifted online, many students grappled with low internet access and a lack of smart devices.
With no regular timetable, students are facing chaotic schedules every day. Classes are now taking place at home instead of in schools.
Schedules and regular timetables are not being followed. Students especially smaller children are not able to keep up with the irregular timings of the new online school format.
What will 2021 look like for students?
With the situation still looking murky, it is tough to predict the ensuing year. What will be in store for the student community?
Many universities have made major changes to adapt to the new situation. Some universities have declared a shift in the academic year.
Whereas, others have declared a change in the curriculum or a cut in the summer vacations. Apart from these changes, many universities have announced the adoption of a hybrid learning system for the next academic year. Students across the globe are now slowly adapting to the new system of education.