As per a survey conducted by the IC3 Institute, 83% of the high school students from India and Nepal who were part of the survey showed an optimistic attitude towards the future despite the current challenges faced by the post-secondary education system and industries due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Student Quest Survey was conducted by the IC3 institute from June-July, 2020, on 2,252 high school students from India and Nepal, of whom around 80% were Indian students. In a bid to capture the student perspective at the height of the pandemic, the students were asked key questions about the impact of the pandemic on their current and future plans, their decisions on higher education options, how prepared they are for entering the workplace in the future, and whether schools help them in developing the key skills needed in the 21st century.
Despite the pandemic, most of the surveyed students wish to pursue a college degree, with very few opting for a gap year. The US remains the top choice for pursuing higher education with around 75% of students being in favour of it, followed by the UK (67%), Canada (64%), Australia (41%) and Singapore (32%).
As per the survey, the major reason students choose to study abroad are the “pull” factors which attract them to key destinations abroad rather than the “push” factors in the home country forcing them to look for educational opportunities abroad. The quality of education abroad is the most important factor which draws students abroad, while personal safety concerns and unfavorable immigration policies are identified as the most common deterrents.
The President & CEO of the IC3 Institute, Dr. Rajika Bhandari says “At a time when India has just released its first new National Education Policy in 34 years that emphasizes the school-to-work transition and the importance of aligning academics with career and vocational training, the findings of our survey offer a window into whether a large number of Indian and Nepalese youth are prepared for their educational and professional futures, especially when both college and careers have been disrupted by COVID-19.”
The findings of this survey are of utmost relevance for schools in assessing how they prepare students for their future education and career. For colleges and universities, the survey can act as a guide in understanding student demand, thereby impacting student outreach, recruitment and admission practices. Employers and industries can use the findings of this survey to understand how the schools prepare the future workforce and thus lead to better partnerships with schools to help equip the students with the skills future employers look for. Lastly, the survey can help governments to understand whether their education systems are adequate to prepare the future workforce and talent pool, as well as identify the gaps between the two.
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