In May 2020, in the midst of the explosive stage of the pandemic, UNESCO’s Deputy Director-General for Education, Stefania Giannini, prefaced a report entitled “COVID-19 and higher education: From the immediate effects to the day after Impact analysis, responses policies and recommendations”, in which it said:
“To be frank, we must recognize that we were not prepared for a disruption on this scale. Almost overnight, schools and universities around the world closed their doors, affecting 1.57 billion students in 191 countries. “
“This unprecedented situation has cascading consequences in the lives of students, whether they are studying abroad or in their own country. The closures, as a measure to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, have led to an accelerated deployment of distance education solutions to ensure pedagogical continuity. The obstacles are multiple, from low connectivity and the lack of online content aligned with national curricula to a faculty unprepared for this ‘new normal’”.
“Regardless of education level, the overriding danger is that learning inequalities widen, marginalization increases and the most disadvantaged students are unable to continue their studies.”
“Higher education is no exception, although at this level digital technology has had the greatest impact in recent decades”
Stefania Giannini’s words from UNESCO are valid today, despite the measures that different countries and their respective educational systems have had to take. But all of them have been forced to plan and implement actions at a pace they were not used to, especially when we know that changes in educational plans at any level of education take years to be carried out and adapt to modernity.
What do the students encounter?
For post-covid students, the scenario in which they find themselves at the arrival of this fall 2021, is to prepare to start a postgraduate program that has undoubtedly changed in terms of circumstances. Since universities and graduate students have had to adapt and get used to a post-pandemic world.
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As a result of the pandemic, you will find that there are a few different ways of doing things and there may be unexpected new challenges, so here are some tips to help you prepare for the upcoming academic year.
Understand study methods
Whether you have chosen to study your graduate program online or on campus, most universities, and of course also business schools, have already been making changes in the planning of programs and curricular content. Because it was about employing a significant amount of online teaching in the early stages of this academic year.
If you have not studied online before, you should familiarize yourself with studying online and the systems and software of your university and / or business school.
You may have a combination of online and on-campus study, a delayed start date, or social distancing on campus, but either way, some issues regarding online study and distance learning are worth keeping in mind, especially if you are going to have less contact time with your teachers than you expected.
Create a place to study
The need to have a good study space is always key to the success of postgraduate studies, so, as in previous years, a place to study at home is essential.
You will need a good light source, a comfortable chair and a spacious desk along with a strong Wi-Fi signal or Internet connection. However, you may find that this study space is even more important than in previous years, since you will not necessarily have the guarantee of being able to go to the library.
By choosing to live in privately run student accommodation, you will be guaranteed clean, stylish and secure accommodation that is Covid safe and comes complete with a good internet connection so you can participate in Zoom classes and webinars online unpolished.
What is expected of you outside of your course?
If you are traveling for yourself to take a course abroad, you should check the codes of conduct of your university and / or business school in light of the pandemic. For some universities, students who violate local social distancing guidelines and Covid-19 regulations may face disciplinary proceedings or expulsion in addition to local fines. You must understand what is expected both on campus and within the wider community.
Stay in touch with the tutors
It will be vital to your success this year to stay in touch with the academic staff. This way, you will be informed of any changes and they will know that you are participating in the course.
Many teachers won’t have the same open office hours they used to, so you’ll need to make an appointment to see them or use other methods like email to contact them.
Many universities and business schools have already decided to cancel all field trips for this year, but as regulations change, these educational institutions will adapt accordingly, and staying in regular contact with your tutor is the best way to understand what is happening.
Use social media
Many universities and graduate courses have active social media accounts. It is important that you participate in these groups to get to know your fellow students better, as this will make you feel more connected and make it easier for you when you come to meet in person.
Talking to someone in the same position as you, either online or in person, will help you relax and feel more comfortable in your graduate program. Most departments or schools will hold online events for graduate students to get to know each other, and attending these events will help motivate you for the year ahead.
Postgraduate study … why it’s worth it!
Regardless of the problems that arise due to Covid-19, postgraduate studies are still a great option, as well as being personally rewarding and mentally stimulating, they can also help you increase your potential future salary.
Undoubtedly, job improvement in terms of opening up new opportunities is part of the great asset that a postgraduate course means. Therefore, thinking about this goal, we must make an effort in the present adapting to the norms of the academic institution for this post-Covi-19 stage, but without a doubt, taking into account these recommendations followed to the letter, they will facilitate integration. with your student counterparts and especially a good harmony with teachers, tutors and coordinators.