The pandemic has brought a paradigm shift in the higher education landscape in the country. With rapid digitisation, home learning model and NEP 2020, the focus has largely shifted towards making students future ready in the changing scenarios. As Covid cases come down along with revival of confidence with vaccination, higher education institutes are now finding ways to sustain the momentum in these volatile times so that learning is not affected. Experts now hold the opinion that vaccines and flexible learning models will emerge as the solution to revive the situation in higher education.
“At present, the advantage is most of the students in higher education are above 18 years of age. We are currently focusing on vaccinating them as quickly as possible to safeguard them against a possible third wave. Around 90 percent of our students have received at least 1st dose of their Covid vaccine and we hope that situation will get better in the coming months,” said Mr Govind Narayan Singh, Secretary, Gopal Narayan Singh University.
Subsequent waves of coronavirus, lockdowns, travel restrictions and other Covid protocols have caused a huge dent to the education sector. Online education and the rise of ed-tech have helped to bridge the gap but experts now believe that a hybrid or phygital (physical+digital) system would be more effective in the long run to run education systems in lockdown-like situations.
“We have come up with a hybrid model of learning to ensure education is not hampered in these testing times. A mix of physical and digital learning is the best way to adapt to the new normal. Theoretical learning can be easily imparted through online classes but students have to attend physical classes for practical learning. We believe that adopting a flexible system of learning would be the best possible solution to help students in their career growth,” added Mr Govind Singh.
With the lifting of lockdown curbs and movement restrictions recently, universities have started classes as well. They believe that running classes in shifts by ensuring social distancing and adhering to Covid appropriate behaviors, the risks of infections can be minimized without disturbing the classes.
On being asked about new education trends and the situation of placements in universities, he adds that tech-related and medical courses have emerged as hot favorites among students. Students are now increasingly inquiring about courses in areas like medical, nursing, pharmacy, AI, Data Security, Machine Learning, etc.
“We have witnessed a huge demand in health-related courses. Due to the pandemic, the job opportunities are very high in this field. We have also seen a huge rise in the edtech sector recently. Online learning is here to stay and the edtech players are actively hiring our students. The situation has improved even in tier-2 cities and we believe that the job opportunities will improve drastically in the second half of 2021,” he said.