Indian students believe the COVID-19 pandemic ruined their university experience and a majority found improvement in mental health since returning to the campus for studies, according to a new study.
The Global Student Survey 2022', published by Chegg.org -- the non-profit arm of education technology company Chegg -- on Thursday, revealed over three-quarters (77 per cent) of Indian students say that the pandemic ruined their college or university experience, the highest of 21 countries surveyed.
Around 55 per cent of Indian students revealed that they felt their mental health has improved since starting on campus or returning after lockdown restrictions, the second highest of the countries surveyed, behind Australia (60 per cent).
College students are finally now readjusting to campus life after experiencing the greatest disruption to education the world has ever known, said Dan Rosensweig, President and CEO of Chegg.
At the same time, they face profound societal challenges including widening inequality, increasing automation, and climate change. In this new global study, undergraduates were asked about their hopes, fears, and overall state of mind. We believe the resulting data can help governments, business and higher education better support students in this age of COVID and beyond, he said.
Nearly three in 10 (27 per cent) Indians say they now regret going to college or university in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is the second highest of any country surveyed, behind Turkey (29 per cent).
Nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) of Indian students with a study-related loan say that their debt makes them wish they had made a different choice and around one-third (31 per cent) with a study-related loan say they don't think they'll ever pay it off, even as the number of Indian students with a study-related debt or loan has fallen sharply from 27 per cent in 2021 to 22 per cent in 2022.
These findings also make clear that higher education must become more accessible, affordable and responsive to what learners really need. In particular, students need their universities to provide more mental health support, teach the skills for tomorrow's careers, and respond to their clear concerns about the environment. By doing so, we can help this generation face the future with confidence, added Rosensweig.
The findings are based on in-depth opinion polling by Yonder, formerly Populus, of over 17,000 undergraduate students aged 18-21 years across 21 countries around the world, including 1,008 students in India.
This is the second edition of Chegg.org Global Student Survey, described as the "most comprehensive up-to-date survey" of the lives, hopes and fears of undergraduate students throughout the world in the age of COVID and beyond, with the inaugural research published in February 2021.
The questions for the survey conducted in January this year covered students' views on learning in the age of COVID, how they coped with their finances and the cost of living, skills and careers, their health, wellbeing and social attitudes, and climate change and sustainability.
At a global level, six in 10 students (60 per cent) worldwide say that the pandemic ruined their university experience, while nearly four in 10 students (39 per cent) worldwide say that the pandemic will permanently damage their employment prospects. Only 54 per cent of students globally think their teachers/professors know how to teach effectively online.
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