Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Class 12 board examination has become a talking point in India. The social media is abuzz with memes, surveys, opinion polls and talks of PILs. Around 1.2 million students appeared for CBSE 12 board in 2020, out of which 2.6 lakh students applied for abroad courses and an additional 72,000 students applied in the first two months of 2021. Apart from heightened competition from last year’s cohort, the 2021 batch potentially faces losing out six months as they are likely to miss out on the September intake for most universities due to the lack of timely results. According to a The WorldGrad survey conducted on 16000 Class 12 Students from India, only 53% of students said they are satisfied with the board results; nearly a third of all students expressed intention to apply for reassessment. This clearly suggests that the dreams of studying abroad for this academic year is shelved for many. However, there are some smart options being offered by the EdTech community that can help students and parents stay on track.
The academic calendar in preferred study abroad destinations like America, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom typically begins in September, with the application process peaking in May and June. For Indian students, August is here and a decision is made recently, with many students opting for reassessment. Last year, all universities delayed their intakes since everyone was battling with the fallout of COVID. This year is different. Most countries have completed their school exams on time and many universities are preparing to welcome students on-campus this fall as usual. This will surely not be the case in India or for Indian students who want to study overseas. The travel restrictions from India and limited visa processing only further complicate matters.
2020 gave all of us a good glimpse of how technology preparedness can save us from a raging pandemic. The same goes for education. Edtech was able to solve pressing problems right from the delivery of online classes to creating ERP solutions to ease the management of education institutes to exam preparation and now to help students save their year from getting wasted. For the class of 2021 aspiring to study abroad, edtech platforms offering hybrid programs of “start online and finish at campus” hold the key to staying on track and succeeding.
Most of the study enabler platforms in India have strong partnerships with international universities and colleges in these destinations. Study abroad platforms also have flexible enrollment dates, unlike a regular intake cycle for a university or college, which is twice in an academic year. Platforms like The WorldGrad have 6 intakes i.e. one every other month. Better still, they give students the flexibility of pre-enrolments, where you can get admission on the basis of your pre-board or internal school results and start the first-year equivalent online studies as soon as the boards are done i.e. in July or August. By the end of the year, students would have completed one semester worth of studies, finished the visa process and be ready to join their global peers from early 2022 in the second semester.
Study abroad edtech platforms are running many other interesting programs which were missing in regular overseas education. Students can access and enrol for new age courses too, like cybersecurity, sports management (with Esports curriculum), Event Management in the digital age and much more. Through these platforms, students now have access to scholarships, financing and counselling to help them make an informed decision. Platforms like The WorldGrad also offer 1-1 tutor learning in collaboration with the top ranked global institutions, enhancing the student experience online. A student can get savings and scholarships of over INR 20 lac on their 3-year program.
Unlike the offline process where a child or a parent had to reach out to each vendor separately, study abroad edtech platforms have tried to aggregate all the elements at one place. While the debate between reassessments and dropping a year goes on, 12 board results released in time or not, students will not miss the opportunity to pursue their dream universities/courses post high school abroad in the corona induced digital age.
(Written by Abhinav Mital, co-founder of WorldGrad. He is also the Managing Director of LINC Education, an award-winning teaching services provider based in Singapore and an alum of ISB Hyderabad as well as IIT Delhi)