Unprecedented global health crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, have been known to notoriously disrupt life. And, this often leads to a total upheaval in the socio-cultural norms. Disturbing life, business, and education, the 2020 Wuhan virus has in many ways put a complete stop to all the activities of humans due to lockdown. However, following the flattening of the curve of infected cases, the nationwide lockdown has lifted leaving space for an imposing question as to how regular educational and professional life can ensue with the implementation of low-density gatherings and social distancing.
The Challenging Dilemma of Education Over Safety
Most campuses of prestigious and renowned regular course universities are characterized by large flocks of students engaged in several academic, learning, and self-improvement activities. With the resumption of regular classes in these universities, the concern for social distancing becomes one of increasing importance and emphasis. The education boards of several western countries have opted for providing universities with the options of a distance learning portal that students can access sitting at home and continue the existing paradigm of online classes.
However, nothing can beat one-on-one human interaction when it comes to teaching and learning. Despite these preludes, some universities have adopted an innovative technique that implements physical classes at regular intervals throughout the week with only 50% of the strength of the class.
Campus Experience in Higher Education
The different components of a college campus like the stadium, auditorium, dorm rooms, dining halls, common rooms, fraternities, and sororities, are all part of the rich campus experience that students are attracted to when enrolling for higher education courses. With the absence of all these, enrollment to higher education in developing countries like Afghanistan can deteriorate severely. In a country that already has a low rate of enrollment and high drop out rates in higher education, the lack of such a wholesome campus experience can prove detrimental for education in the country.
How to widen the campus experience during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Grouping students into smaller cohorts or teams that maintain social distancing with other teams can prove to be beneficial in ensuring the overall student safety on college campuses. Since athletics and sports are a major part of the campus experience for most students of Afghanistan, universities like Sharda University encourage more students to participate in sports rather than just be passive spectators to reduce audience at sporting events. Moreover, students at Sharda University can enjoy a phenomenal freshman year experience that encompasses cross-cultural learning, mentorship, smaller and safer workshops, and larger webinars to celebrate innovation and creativity.
Furthermore, classrooms at Sharda University have been redesigned to open post the pandemic such that they align with all the norms of personal hygiene and social distancing treating student’s health and learning as equal priorities. Such a safe learning environment is perfect for Afghani students to safely realize their ambitions.