A recent survey on the impact of Covid-19 on higher education in Maharashtra has shown that 82 per cent students anticipate difficulty in funding their education in the new academic year 2020-21.
Conducted independently by IIT-Bombay faculty B N Jagtap and education researcher Anand Mapuskar, the survey has found 80 per cent female and 84 per cent male students have expressed difficulty in funding education.
The urban-rural divide is evident in the response to the survey, as 78 per cent students from metro cities, 80 per cent from district headquarters, 83 per cent at taluka headquarters and 88 per cent from rural areas said they anticipated these difficulties.
The survey was conducted using Google forms, and with a sample size of 38,108 students (19,495 female, 18,602 male and four transgender) across all university regions of the state. The sample size is about 1 per cent of the number of students in the state. So far, the state higher and technical education department has not released any data on the impact of Covid-19 on students.
Throwing light on the economic distress due to Covid-19, the report has found that 27 per cent students fear that chances of continuing with their studies in the academic year 2020-21 are “low to very low”. This fear has been expressed by 29 per cent male and 25 per cent female students. The percentage is almost uniform over urban and rural settings.
Whereas, 73 per cent students expect that they will have to financially support their families. According to the report, students have stated that a number of options will be needed to be thought of to resolve financial constraints, including part-time jobs (51 per cent), participation in earn-and-learn schemes (18 per cent), and helping family agriculture/business on a part-time basis (9 per cent).
The primary source for internet facility for students is mobile internet with 79 per cent availing online education and 91 per cent using smartphones, while 32 percent have laptops or desktops and 6 per cent have no device.
“Further, the educational institutes need to reorganise time tables for courses involving practical/lab hours. The time table for the odd semester of the academic year 2020-21 can have only theory courses delivered online. The laboratory courses, projects, and internships may be pushed back to the even semester or even to the next academic year,” Mapuskar said.
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