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3 ways to start overseas education during Covid-19 and still make the most of it

Here are 3 ways students can tackle the challenges of pursuing overseas education during Covid-19.

More than 750,000 Indian students are estimated to be studying overseas as last reported by the Ministry of External Affairs. India is rivalled only by China which sends nearly 2.5 times as many students, largely to the same key destinations. It is no mystery that this segment was hit hard by Covid-19 however, upon analysing the latest enrollment trends, it appears that Indian students have found it hardest to start an overseas education, especially if it is being delivered remotely.

Most Indian students plan to stay overseas after education for a reasonable period of time, if not permanently. Maximising the amount of time spent abroad during studies is desirable as it increases their chances for post-study visas and stays permits. No wonder, countries with strict travel restrictions have fallen out of favour with Indian students.

Take Australia for example which is home to over 700,000 international students (Australian Govt. Figures) and used to be the second most popular destination for Indians after the United States. In 2020, international student commencements at Australian universities and colleges decreased by 23 percent representing ~41,000 fewer new students.

Notably, Chinese students, the largest nationality group, decreased only by 13 percent while Indian students decreased by a whopping 46 percent or ~18,600 fewer students! None of the other top 10 source countries came even close.

But it's not just about travel restrictions. Indian students have also struggled with remote learning as a way to start their overseas degrees and have found it difficult to justify the high and similar fee levels between remote and on-campus overseas learning.

Therefore, it is important to identify if there are smart ways to start an overseas education and make the most of it.

Here are 3 ways students can tackle the challenges of pursuing overseas education during Corona -

1. Remote learning with the University

It is the simplest way to start but requires thorough diligence to assess the suitability of the learning experience. During the application process, students should check for the following -

  1. Is the program being taught with a combination of live sessions and ppts or does the university offer a customised online learning experience?
  2. What time do you have to attend classes and does the university offer any other forms of online academic tutoring to students in India?
  3. Are there fee incentives or scholarships available for students starting through remote learning mode?
  4. Will the university refund your fees if the student visa doesn’t come through?

Choosing a program on this basis can help students make a smarter decision on starting.

2. Twinning programs | Research is the key

Some private universities in India are entering into agreements with overseas universities that will allow students to get recognised for their studies done in India. This could be an interesting option to consider as it is pocket-friendly and hedges the risk in case a student isn’t able to go overseas eventually. However, there are certain pitfalls as well that students need to be aware of.

Firstly, the program at an Indian university will not prepare students for an overseas degree given it follows a local curriculum with local teachers. Secondly, the extent of the Indian program being recognised may vary by each partnership it has.

Lastly, it is important to understand how this program is done in India will affect post-study work rights. Nonetheless, this can be a good backup option for students who are not very sure if they want to go abroad.

3. Online entry or access programs--offline and online

Saving the best for the last! Some overseas institutions have invested in specialised online courses which are fully transferable to credits in the on-campus degree. These programs are delivered using mobile-friendly online content and conveniently timed live sessions.

Some of them have partnered with Indian ed-tech platforms and offer personalised tutoring using local teachers to improve the student experience. Such programs are priced economically for the students and help reduce the overall cost of education.

In a way, this is a “best-of-both-worlds'' approach but does require students to be comfortable with online learning. UniSmarter is one such example that is recognised by 10 institutions in Australia, Dubai, the UK, and India including the likes of Deakin, Griffith, Murdoch, and Brunel. The Global Online Accelerator Program by UOW College, Australia is another. In both these examples, students effectively end up doing a part of their first year online from home.

Needless to say, the spirit of studying abroad lies much in the campus experience. Despite the Covid-19 restrictions and an unprecedented shift in how education is imparted, students still prefer overseas on-campus experience. The Indian edtech community has risen to this occasion to provide many alternatives for easing out the study abroad process and empowering students to make the best decision without delaying their education.

--Article by Abhinav Mital, Co-founder and Managing Director, The WorldGrad.

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Written by Abhinav Mital, Co-founder and Managing Director, The WorldGrad,
Source link: | India Today
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