Mumbai/ 23rd May 2021/By Swonshutaa Dash
When the pandemic came, the world was unprepared for the grueling process of online schooling. After celebrating a quarantine-versary, we are still getting used to learning from names on screens.
College admission has minted into a double-edged sword in the meantime. In India, the elite JEE, NEET, and UPSC exams showed no mercy to applicants. Conducted in risky conditions, the vast syllabus of the exams was not lessened. UPSC applicants struggled further as the UPSC (2020) announced only 796 vacancies. MBA colleges, including IIMs, conducted interviews online, struggling with delayed admissions in 2020.
The postponement of NEET PG exams and the CoVID duty of medical graduates has also stirred dissatisfaction. The priorities of Indian institutes have persisted. Theoretical excellence being venerated and practical knowledge dismissed. This sole emphasis on academics is tiring for students. Extracurriculars can be used as a break and as a reason to justify seats in universities.
Indian youth is either giving or waiting for exams. The conduction of university exams and the delay in the decision-making process for board examinations are lengthening the hardships of students. The debilitating processes of preparation deteriorated the mental composure of these students. The trend of a general decline in the mental health of Indians is evident from the 67.7% rise in suicides in 2020. And this is the scenario just in Indian colleges and universities.
For those wishing to pursue college courses abroad, there is light and darkness. The SAT exams were abandoned in 2020 and alternate mechanisms were set up. Colleges are all set to amend admission procedures beyond fall 2021. The tricks and tips to be a cosmopolitan young adult that colleges want will soon be useless. “It’s not enough just to be smart at top schools,” says Angela Dunnham, former assistant director of admissions at Dartmouth College. “Students must also show that they’ll be good classmates and community builders.” As attention shifts from GPAs to co-curricular, acne on teen faces might reduce with less stress. So, this will change the dynamic of high schools.
The second wave of coronavirus in India brought stringent travel restrictions. Indian students have also had to abandon their acceptance letters. Colleges’ response to the pandemic is misleading and profiting (for institutions). In the 2020 fall semester, Harvard brought 40% of students on campus while others took classes remotely. This change in the pattern did not affect Harvard’s tuition. The pandemic has rendered college experience unidirectional and theoretical. Education can hardly be called holistic anymore.
In Institutes such as Harvard, the acceptance rate was halved although there was a 57% rise in the applicants’ numbers. This drastic alteration in education will affect students immensely. It includes unlearning inbred practices of traditional education. Health issues from operating on gadgets, minimal to no physical exercise will have a long-term counter-impact on students’ health. The precariousness of their futures has led to students’ performance and mental health decline.
Exploiting the youth has continued on a large scale in the pandemic. As we look to the future, one doesn’t need to be a psychic to predict that situations won’t be anywhere near better. With travel restrictions and a blurry plan of action, one cannot predict what tomorrow will bring. It’s time that students must learn to draw a fine line between hope and delusion for their future,