Education

5 Trends in Higher Education in 2022

Finally, it has to be noted that given the unique challenges of the past two years, each student and their family would be faced with a unique set of problems and issues.

Having just come out of Covid-19, students and parents are heaving a sigh of relief. The past two years have been difficult for every one of us, not only in the education sector but in every field. This has been especially taxing for students, particularly those who have been on the cusp of undertaking higher education overseas. This is the area that I will be focusing on in this article.

While most countries that are the main choices for foreign education, including US and Canada have been extremely proactive and accommodating, valuing the business, diversity, and skills that arrive at their shores, the students have had a lot to think about. Some of these issues are:

Difficulty in getting visa approval: Most countries have had some sort of travel restrictions in effect, especially during the first and second waves of Covid-19. This though was relaxed and normal flights have begun operations recently. While airfares are high, partly due to the high cost of aviation fuel, the main issue for students remains getting dates for visa interviews in the US and the longer time durations required for a reply from the Canadian consulate in terms of student study permit approvals. We believe that the worst is now behind us and the coming months will see these issues being addressed and natural progress being made in these critical areas.

Reluctance in studying online: Compared to higher education in India, foreign education is certainly more expensive. It though has its benefits. Some of these are unique campus experiences, learning from top professors, interacting with peers and academicians of global stature, the opportunity to work part-time to hone professional skills in a foreign country, and making friends from countries around the globe. Sadly, most of these experiences were not available during Covid-19 as most universities conducted their classes online. It was also observed that some students had difficulty coping with the online education system and could not perform as well as they would normally do. Most universities in the US and Canada have now shifted to complete on-campus education and this is a welcome development.

Funding for education: Many parents may find it difficult to fund their children’s education given the economic setbacks that most have experienced in the past two years. It is heartening to note that in most cases these problems have been offset by banking and non-banking financial institutions that have come forth in providing loans to deserving students. In some cases, this has been done without any form of security or collateral, only considering the merit of the student. We have observed that compared to the past, a considerably larger number of students have availed of these loans this year to fund their international education.
Admission assessment and entrance tests: Most Indian students who choose to study overseas look for admission to highly prestigious state or private universities. Naturally, the admission criteria in these leading institutions are stringent. Here also, we have seen remarkable understanding and flexibility from the universities. A large number of these universities have been extremely understanding and waived tests such as GRE, GMAT, SAT and others. Even basic English language competency test takers have come up with home-based tests for the ease and convenience of students.
Finally, it has to be noted that given the unique challenges of the past two years, each student and their family would be faced with a unique set of problems and issues. Fortunately, it has been a global problem and universities, governments and consulates, and service providers including banks and test-takers have been extremely accommodating. Yet it may not be enough for some students. In such cases, it would be helpful to consult experienced counsellors to seek proper guidance for smooth admission and visa process, financing, and travel in order to make the higher learning experience most rewarding in terms of career building.

The authored article is written by Anuj Parikh, Director of Disha Consultants, and shared with Prittle Prattle News exclusively.

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