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LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 168-169

Impact of COVID-19: University Students’ Perspective


Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal, Udupi District, Karnataka, India

Date of Submission25-Jun-2020
Date of Decision02-Jul-2020
Date of Acceptance22-Jul-2020
Date of Web Publication20-Aug-2020

Correspondence Address:
Independent Researcher Amanda Jane Fernandes
Fern Manor, Fernandes Compound, Kaprigudda, Mangalore 575001, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijnpnd.ijnpnd_60_20

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How to cite this article:
Fernandes AJ. Impact of COVID-19: University Students’ Perspective. Int J Nutr Pharmacol Neurol Dis 2020;10:168-9

How to cite this URL:
Fernandes AJ. Impact of COVID-19: University Students’ Perspective. Int J Nutr Pharmacol Neurol Dis [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Sep 25];10:168-9. Available from: http://www.ijnpnd.com/text.asp?2020/10/3/168/292689



Pandemic. Crisis. Disaster. This has been the face of the year 2020 so far. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the whole world to its knees. The gravest health crisis in the world in a century has been the recent outbreak of COVID-19.[6] A significant proportion of asymptomatic carriers of this disease, often with mild symptoms that can be confused for other illnesses and a lack of sufficient testing, make it extremely hard to assess the number of infected people. The death toll rate and the number of patients infected bring an urgent need for therapeutics or treatment strategies, which will take some time.[6]

To reduce the spread of infection and to prevent more people from being infected, only essential businesses are allowed to open and function. Globally, most governments have temporarily closed educational institutions in an attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19.[3],[5] Over 1.725 billion students across 134 countries are affected due to the closure of educational institutions.[1] Many questions remain unanswered, especially in regards to what is going to happen to those thousands of students whose schools and universities have also been affected by the pandemic. This situation has caused many socio-economic issues, especially in disadvantaged communities.[2] It can cause interrupted learning, childcare problems, compromised nutrition, and consequent economic cost to families who cannot work. Many children do not have the parental support needed to learn on their own. Working parents are more affected, leading to wage loss and a negative impact on productivity as they are more likely to miss work when schools close to take care of their children.[4] Localized school closures place burdens on schools as officials and parents redirect children to schools that are open.[4] As women make up almost 70% of the healthcare workforce, exposing them to a higher risk of infection. They often cannot attend work because of childcare obligations that result from school closures. This means that many medical professionals are not at the facilities where they are most needed during a health crisis.[4]

At the university level, this problem is further compounded by the complexities of being an international student at such a time. For instance, in Australia, when the travel ban was implemented during the three-month semester break, many Chinese students had gone back to their home country. Many of these students were not able to return and continue their studies due to the travel ban that was put in place.[6] This also economically affects the universities, as many of them rely on international students willing to pay vast sums of money for their education. Students studying outside of their home country also have significant problems as many partake in a semester abroad to widen their cultural knowledge, and plenty went to Italy and China, two of the regions hardest hit by the virus. Students were forced to fly back in both cases and, when the quarantine in Italy began, left of their own accord despite the travel restrictions.[8] This may mean that the virus spreads to other countries and also spells the end of a semester abroad, which likely had not yet ended, an upsetting revelation for those who enjoy the excitement of studying somewhere else. In the US, many students rely on meal programs at university. These students may no longer be able to afford food as everything is usually provided at discount rates.[8]

For example, in Oman, the pandemic is forcing educators, parents, and students to think critically, problem-solve, be creative, communicate, and collaborate.[10] Most schools in the country are taking classes online. The country also announced that it is going to end the academic year without final exams.[10] The Supreme Committee said, “It was decided to end the academic year for all students in public and private schools, on Thursday, May 7, 2020, the last day of the school year.”[9] The Supreme Committee authorized the Ministry of Education to adopt the appropriate mechanisms for teaching grades one to 12 and the equivalent alternative to calculate the students’ results.[9]

Online learning is one of the main ways universities can avoid this crisis of higher education. Universities are already starting to do that, urging seminar leaders and professors to make sure all learning materials are easily accessible and online. Communication must also move to apps like WhatsApp, which allows group functions or atleast email.[7] Lectures and seminars can potentially be distributed after being recorded among students. If supervisors are needed to help with term papers, that could be organized through things like Skype or Zoom.

Problems arise when a lack of access to technology or fast, reliable internet access can prevent students in rural areas and disadvantaged families from utilizing the remote learning facilities available.[6],[7] Also, a lack of exceptions and limitations to copyright can impact students’ ability to access the materials and textbooks they require to be able to study. Several initiatives were taken to grant that teachers and students understand copyright limitations or have access to open educational resources. The International Council has issued a unique website to provide tips for online teaching, webinars, and support for teachers for Open and Distance Education.[7]

Nobody has experienced the magnitude of what is going on in the world right now. To some degree, I don’t think a lot of us can fully wrap our heads around the enormity of the situation. But we can get close. Hopefully, we all can pull through this pandemic without it drastically affecting the education system throughout the world.[6]

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response. UNESCO. 2020-03-04. Retrieved 2020-06-07.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Inc R. Coronavirus deprives nearly 300 million students of their schooling: UNESCO The Telegram. thetelegram. com. Retrieved 11 March 2020.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
OECD. read.ecd-ilibrary.org. Retrieved 2020-05-07.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Adverse consequences of school closures. UNESCO. 2020-03-10. Retrieved 2020-03-15.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Education in Times of Crisis and Beyond: Maximizing Copyright Flexibilities. Creative Commons. 2020-03-31. Retrieved 2020-04-16.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
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9.
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