The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted decision of over 48 per cent Indian students who wanted to study abroad, according to a report by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), which comes out with coveted global ranking for educational institutions. The main reason for this can be the risk of getting infected and the lack of travel arrangements and accommodation resources in a lot of countries such as the US and UK.
The significantly lower return of investment in an already expensive international higher education domain coupled with further reduced chances of employability in the post COVID-19 world have a key role to play in this shift, experts at QS have pointed out. The report titled "Indian Student's Mobility report 2020: Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education Choices" has been compiled by QS IGAUGE, which rates colleges and universities in India with complete operational control held by London-based QS.
"Our findings suggest that COVID-19 has impacted the decision of 48.46 pc students who aspired to study abroad in the recent past. However, there is a larger proportion of non-STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) students who have reconsidered their decision to pursue higher education outside India," it said.
"The significantly lower return of investment in an already expensive international higher education domain coupled with further reduced chances of employability in the post COVID-19 world have a key role to play in this shift. While there is likely to be a demand for STEM based professionals, it might not be the same for non-STEM courses which resonates with the higher percentage of students in the latter category to reconsider their higher education plans," it added.
Drastic changes in student mobility
According to the report, while higher education institutions might adapt sooner or later to the e-learning practices, it might take a relatively longer time to come to terms with the drastic changes in the student mobility for higher education. "It is no longer a mystery that global travel is a key factor in the spread of communicable disease. The repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to produce pronounced changes in teaching and learning practices for all levels of education.
"This had led to debates and deliberations on student mobility in times to come. Various findings have come out highlighting the challenges the higher education community is likely to face in the international context. Our study contextualises the issue of student mobility for Indian students both within the country and abroad through data driven research," it said. The report has also highlighted that while the magnitude of change will be exponential for international student mobility, there is likely to be some impact on Indian students'' inter-state mobility as well.
More than 4.2 million cases of COVID-19 have been recorded worldwide, including at least 289,000 deaths. The deadly virus has brought several countries to a standstill with many of them imposing international travel restrictions. In India, the death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 2,415 and the number of cases climbed to 74,281 on Wednesday, registering an increase of 122 deaths and 3,525 cases in the last 24 hours. The country has been under a lockdown since March 25, which has been extended till May 17.