New Delhi: The year 2020 has not been an easy one for students. The COVID-19 lockdown has disrupted the academic plans of class XII students raising several concerns about their immediate future. Their education plans are in a state of limbo, either undecided or suspended till they have more clarity.
The conundrum is more acute for students who were planning to study abroad after class XII. Some have already taken admission in International universities or are in the midst of applying to universities abroad at undergraduate level. The confusion was further aggravated by several announcements by the United States government in July regarding overseas students that has resulted in more uncertainty for Indian students studying in the US who had come back to India after the pandemic forced American campuses to shut down. Prospective or new students who were planning to join in the fall semester face similar challenges and are unsure about what they need to do. These students are stuck between a rock and a hard place, unable to decide how to fulfill their dreams of an American education or how to plan ahead for one.
Large Indian student cohort in the USA
Indians are the second-largest group of international students in the US, after the Chinese. The number of Indian students in the US increased by around 3 per cent in one year from 2018 to 2019. According to the 2019 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange (IIE), the number of Indian students had increased to 202,014 with undergraduate student numbered at 24,813 showing an increase of 6.3 per cent over 2018; the non-degree category increasing by 18.8 percent to 2,238; and the optional practical training category increasing by 12.3 per cent to 84,630. The undergraduate student cohort from India is quite substantial. This number was expected to soar in 2020.
However, given the current situations, those already studying in the US and those wanting to study there are the ones most affected. Students who have chosen US universities known for prestigious classroom learning experience are not appreciative of shifting to an online mode from India. They believe that classroom learning is an immersive experience which cannot be done online. Also, the time difference between the US and India and internet connectivity issues pose problems for virtual classes making it difficult for new Indian students to enroll in American universities or for already enrolled ones to continue their education there.
Thousands of Indian students and their parents have similar concerns with an atmosphere of uncertainty haunting them.
The American Education Dream
What options do Indian students who want to study in American universities have? How can they fulfill their dreams of studying in a US College? What is the solution for the active or enrolled undergraduate students abroad?
There are some options but for students to decide what to do is not easy. Students can take a gap year and risk wasting a year hoping for the situation to improve next year in 2021. Or they could still fulfill their dreams without a gap year. This can be achieved if Indian educational institutes come to the rescue of these students in dilemma. They can help students in several ways to pursue their dream of International education in India.
‘I have applied to so many colleges in the US! I am really keen to do my Bachelor’s in Management in the US but now I don’t know what to do,” laments Pooja Bhasin who has just finished her class XII.
This is a common issue raised by many students facing similar situations.
What can Indian Educational Institutes Do?
How can educational institutes help? One of the best ways in which Indian educational institutes can help is to collaborate with colleges and universities in the US to create fresh opportunities for Indian students who are keen for a US College degree in these challenging times. Students can join degree courses in these educational institutes in India which have collaborated with US colleges to get an international degree. This arrangement can also help students get real international exposure, maybe not this year but next year. Students can study in India in the first year in 2020 and next year, or even the year after that, once the pandemic situation improves, they can transfer to the same college or another one in the USA. This arrangement, besides saving a year for students, is also more cost effective as compared to students enrolling in an American educational institute and studying in online mode for one year.
The Indian institutes through this collaboration can also come to the rescue of those students who are already enrolled and active in different colleges abroad but feel hesitant to return to complete their degree because of the pandemic situation. These students can have an opportunity to transfer their credits to these Indian institutes with foreign collaboration and complete their international degree in India.
One such Institute in Delhi that has pursued such collaboration in the United States is IILM, Lodhi Road which has entered into an agreement with Monroe College in New York. “At the moment, it is not possible for students to go abroad to study so we have partnered with the world renowned Monroe College so that we can offer Indian students an international education in this complex environment”, says Dr Kakoli Sen, Director of IILM, Lodhi Road.
“After completing their class XII, Indian students who prefer an American degree because they want to explore professional opportunities in the global market can enroll for the eight semesters, three-year Bachelor’s in Business Management degree at IILM. After one year at IILM, students can take a transfer abroad if they desire. Alternatively, students can also continue to study here and complete their US College degree through IILM.” Dr Sen explains the merits of the Bachelor’s in Business Management course at IILM in collaboration with Monroe College.
“The students will be registered at Monroe College in New York on taking admission at IILM and they will have access to the Learning Management System of Monroe College and to their student community. Ebooks for all courses will be made available to the students. Moreover, faculty members at IILM will work closely with the Monroe faculty to impart the courses,” Dr Sen elaborated the advantages for students.
These are unexpected times that need innovative solutions by educational institutions. The urgent dilemma faced by innumerable students who dream of an international education can be resolved. Indian educational institutes like IILM are helping students by adopting creative methods and channelising new ways to fulfill students’ dreams of an international education.