CGHE Webinar 171

Has the Covid-19 Pandemic Accentuated Inequality in the Higher Education Sector? Evidence from India

Date: Tuesday, 24 November 2020 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Location: Zoom webinar, registration required
Speaker(s):
  • Nivedita Sarkar, Ambedkar University Delhi, India

Event Materials

This event is now archived and we are pleased to provide the following event media and assets, along with the original event overview.

India has the third largest higher education sector with 993 universities, about 40,000 colleges, 37.3 million students and 1.4 million teachers, placed only after China and the United States (AISHE 2018-19). It also holds the dubious record of registering the second highest coronavirus cases after USA. The pandemic led lockdown has severely disrupted the Indian economy and the education sector is perhaps one of the worst hit sectors. Imposing one of the most stringent lockdowns in the world, both sides of the labour market in India got disrupted, rendering 112 million jobless barely one month into the lockdown. Approximately, 24 million students from all levels of education are on the verge of dropping out of the system (UNESCO 2020). As a fallout of the pandemic, educational institutions were forced to remain shut and even after more than 7 months, it is highly uncertain when they will resume classes in the regular mode. Higher education institutions struggling to connect with the student community quickly shifted to the online mode. Interestingly, most of them acknowledge the prevalence of digital divide in India, yet its exclusionary potential has perhaps escaped notice. Further, the massive job loss has adversely impacted the paying capacity of households; possibly forcing students to abandon higher education.

In this context, this webinar – drawing on available data – would attempt to provide empirical evidence of the aforementioned propositions in order to show that in a developing country like India, online mode of teaching and learning has failed to bring about effective participation, creating a false notion of reaching out to the student community and inadvertently discriminating against those unable to join the virtual classroom.

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