The COVID-19 Impact: Challenges for Academia

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COVID-19 or the novel Coronavirus is probably the most spoken word in today’s time. It has changed our lives 180 degree which is why understanding all the pros and cons related to it has become the need of the hour. Therefore, the author via this article shall try to analyze the challenges in present and post-COVID-19 in academia which will enable us to come up with the best solutions to deal with it. The situation is dynamic but still we are trying to narrow down the challenges.

The impact of COVID-19 on the world economies has been devastating as it has shattered everything without any biasness towards any country. All the big economies of the world are on their knees. The education sector is no exception. Almost all the institutions are now closed and are trying their level best to cope up with the situation. All the revenues related with educational institutes is getting dried at a rapid pace and it seems that soon all such big institutions will be facing the heat of sustaining themselves.

Following are some of the challenges:

Admissions without examinations: Mostly, all good institutes and organizations conduct an entrance exam which in current times has become an issue. So, they either stand cancelled or postponed which makes both the institute and the student suffer as the caliber of student will be left unchecked which can further bring institute’s image to stake and the students won’t get a fair chance to perform well and stand in the competition but will be admitted based on their previous results.

Delay in session and admission criteria: No proper criteria can be set up, due to which admissions have become a challenge resulting in delayed sessions. As the movement is restricted and everything was shut down for a long time, students could not collect their original documents. Thanks to the MHRD, students seeking admission to universities and institutes for higher education will no more be required to submit their original documents like mark sheets or school leaving certificates. However, not everyone can efficiently operate Internet and its tools.

Teaching aid: Teachers overall have coped well with online classes but still it becomes extremely difficult for them to prepare for a one-hour online session. Using different apps and software is certainly much more difficult than using left hand for some. This has reduced their efficiency than classroom lectures not to mention other disturbances.

Restrictions and safety: Post COVID-19 too people will resist to attend seminars and go to large gatherings which will create a mental barrier in them, thus reducing footfall in important discussions and meetings.

Researches on hold: All the people working in research department will have to suffer too as their basic tool is primary data which will be hampered because of impacts of virus. Also, this will deteriorate the quality of data, putting limits on the researcher.

Choice of career: Students try to opt for industries and fields which are secure and have the potential to fill their pockets simultaneously. The entire nation has suffered no doubt but some industries have been hit by a truck such as Event Management (no MICE, no Banquet bookings, no shows and festivals), and Hotel and Tourism Industry. These industries are going through major losses and for a considerable time will have to bear the losses which is why prospective students will give second thoughts while taking admission in such courses. In times to come, the industry will flourish again creating a handsome amount of job opportunities and will boost with exponential speed as people would be exhausted with their routines.

It can be concluded that the academia is trying its level best to meet the challenge of imparting education. Almost all the institutions irrespective of their location, size and category are trying to switch over to online system. The time has certainly been difficult to deal with but we can cope with them through steady efforts and logical planning. Studies are suffering but to cope with them, webinars are being conducted to broaden the scope for teachers and students can learn much more by different professors all over the nation.

In my opinion the biggest problem in this area is ‘hit and trial’ method. There should have been a mass level faculty development campaign to keep teachers ready for switching from offline to online system of imparting education. Till now, nobody has paid heed towards this issue. I must say we still have some time before it’s too late.



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