Coronavirus has managed to engulf the entire world under crisis and everyone is bearing the brunt of its force. Among all others, a group that stands to lose and gain a lot from this epidemic is the students. As of today, entire educational institutions like schools, colleges, and universities are completely shut. Students are locked down in their houses under stress and anxiety. But are they coping well with this crisis?
In Europe, where conditions are still not showing any signs of improvement, schools and colleges have been shut for almost 2 months now. US schools have, in fact, shut down for the entire academic year to help reduce the spread of novel coronavirus.
Government Initiatives in India
In India, the University Grants Commission in its latest order ordered all campuses to reopen from August 1, while continuing online classes for the current semester. Apps like Google Classroom, Google Meets, Zoom, Hangout are being used to deliver education remotely. In fact, several courses have been made available by NPTEL, AICTE, and MHRD for free for all students. The National Digital Library is being brought to the forefront to act as a common repository of online books.
The Delhi University has already issued a notification to hold examinations online. Remaining board exams for class 10 have already been canceled, and students are anxiously waiting to hear about the fate of class 12 exams. The HRD ministry has rolled out initiatives and guidelines for universities to keep in check the mental health of the students.
Anxiety, Distress and a Ray of Hope
The government is doing all it can to prevent students from being affected. It may not be enough but it is sufficient for students to stay afloat till the current situation improves. But the problem is that all of this is just one side of the issue.
A problem that is still not being addressed is the continuous mounting of assignments and projects with deadlines. Help Hotlines are continuously ringing with complaints of child abuse, stress, and mental issues, and anxiety, some students even are driven to the extent of suicide. Not every student lives in a perfectly happy family. These issues are suddenly coming up more vibrantly as they suffer. Yet another problem is access to the internet. Keeping in mind the number of people shut indoors, online traffic has increased drastically which has resulted in internet speeds witnessing drops in several places.
Problems, problems, and more problems
In Kota, the epicenter for the Indian Coaching Industry, students are trapped in their hostels and PGs since the first lockdown. When the first phase of lockdown was announced, 35000 students were trapped. Even though several states like Uttar Pradesh plied buses to get students back home, not all states have done so. In Kashmir, the internet speed is still limited to 2G leaving no scope for online studies. This is creating a lag between them and their peers who live in other parts of India.
In a personal instance, my own teacher in her online classes tried to comfort us. She told us to not stress and the very next moment, she handed out five more assignments that we had to do within the week. Now that, my dear readers, is a pun. There is no contradiction to the fact that teachers are trying to do their best, but does that best have the same meaning for students.
Students aiming to crack JEE and NEET
As of now, JEE Mains and Advanced, as well as NEET, have been postponed. But the future is still unclear about their dates. The government has told students that a week’s notice will be given before the exams are held. But will these exams be held in time to sync with the new academic session?
There are still speculations over JEE Advanced, however the latest announcement by Mr. Ramesh Pokhriyal, Union Minster for HRD states that it will be held on August 23.
How can students carry on as if nothing has happened? Is it feasible to keep on learning when each morning they wake up to the news of the death of a hundred more people? How can they be engrossed in their online classes, when their siblings are fighting in the background? This is a case in a lot of households.
As we advocate the shift in learning methods in the changing scenario, the challenges for Economically Disadvantaged Section of EWS students in India have only increased as they are neither equipped nor hand-held in pursuing online learning programs.Manjeet Singh, CEO, Buddy4Study.com
Students, Stress, and Anxiety
Its been proven scientifically, that we are the most anxious generation to date, according to mental health survey. Students are the most stressed and anxious amongst them. The values of freedom and the ability to make choices have been instilled in us ever since we were born. And suddenly it seems that we have no choice. That anxiety keeps on building and ultimately results in an outburst.
So the question that arises is how to prevent students from succumbing to depression? Well, the steps certainly need to be taken by the students themselves. And they need to be enacted swiftly.
What to do and what not do?
The HRD ministry is all set to launch Manodarpan to help students cope with the stress of lockdown. MHRD will launch a set of guidelines prepared by the experts in Child Psychology. To ensure that each student stays away from stress and anxiety, these instructions should be followed with strict adherence.
Few tips for all the students out there:
- Be up to date: This is very crucial for everyone. Be aware of the latest guidelines. Read articles issued by the government. But at any cost, avoid watching TV news channels. They are for your parents, not for you. Most of the TV news channels, keep a count of deaths. Knowing the number of deaths will do you no good. Prefer Inshorts or simply your college bulletin.
- Pursue a hobby: All of us have some talent that has been kept locked away. This is the right time to work on it. Painting, writing, singing, dancing, the list is endless. No one is going to rate you for how you are doing in these fields. They are just there to make you happy.
- Talk to your friends: There is a reason, now 8 people can video call using Whatsapp instead of 4. Use it to communicate with your friends who are facing the same as you. We all know how much we miss each other.
- Eat and sleep well: Well, well, well. This seems like a party to me. No combo will offer you anything better than this.
- Feed animals, please: If you see a stray animal outside your house and you remember that there is something you can offer, please feed it. They have no one else to rely on. Also,(don’t deny), it makes us happy too.
- Keep just 2 hours for your studies: Now there is nothing I can say for students going against JEE Mains or NEET. But the rest, take a break, guys. You got 2 months to prepare for your exams. Go slow, yet steady.
- Open those picture books: Take a trip down your memory lane and remember those blissful moments where you posed in front of the Taj Mahal. Or where an unknown lady was holding you in her arms.
An article by Adarsh Dubey titled “How to deal with your spare time?” deals with increasing productivity.
Everything is in your hands
There is little I can suggest you about keeping up with the routine. I won’t tell you to wake up at 6 am in the morning when I myself can’t do it. I won’t tell you to not post pictures on Instagram when I can’t stop myself from doing so.
That said, remember to be hopeful. This will end, maybe not soon. But sometime in the future. We just need to come out of this pandemic stronger and alive.
Do you have another tip that can help students handle the mounting pressure? Comment below to let us know. Feel free to share it with someone who needs to see this article.