ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka students going abroad to study are facing changes in admissions, teaching, curriculum and teaching methods, HSBC Bank which is involved in financing overseas education said after an online seminar with representatives from international universities.
over 21,000 students are based overseas on higher education each year, with Australia and the UK ranked among the top destinations for study among Sri Lanka students, followed by the United States (US), Malaysia and India, according to HSB Research.
Canada was emerging as a new destination.
Nadeesha Senaratne, Country Head of Wealth and Personal Banking says the bank has cross-border banking services to support foreign education.
Several changes had been seen in the international education environment due to the Covid pandemic, HSBC said.
Yes, where exams and assessment have been impacted by Covid-19, universities have been working closely with various qualification and examination boards to adapt their entry requirements. For example, where students cannot sit examinations, many universities are accepting school assessed course work and predicted/calculated grades. Many universities are also extending the validity of English language proficiency tests such as IELTS and TOEFL.
The main disruption has been issues with testing, be these national exams, entrance tests such as SAT, ACT, BMAT etc., or proof of English tests. Universities have had to adapt to these changes in many different ways. Where possible, some have become ‘test optional’, whereas in other cases universities have found other ways to assess student learning. Universities have worked closely with exam boards to make things work for students.
Teaching, and student life
Universities have worked incredibly hard to move much of their teaching and learning online; delivering lectures, tutorials practical classes and even internships, virtually, for over a year now. Universities have invested heavily in the technology to support their virtual classrooms and continue to learn and adapt their teaching so that subjects can continue to be offered in both face to face and online as well as in a hybrid (dual delivery) mode.
Universities have also transitioned their student support services online and student clubs and societies have also adapted their activities to be able to offer crucial social connection, peer to peer support and valuable networking and community engagement opportunities virtually.
This depends very much on the exact situation a university is facing. Countries with high-rates of Covid, universities with restricted physical space, and courses with high-touch elements, have all been impacted by the need to reduce physical interaction. However, for rural, large universities in isolated areas for courses that involve independent study, the situation is different. Universities have all done their best within the situation they face.
Changes in curriculum and learning
Universities have been developing curriculum and future proofing graduates for many years but the importance of this has further emphasized over the last 12 months. Universities work closely with industry partners to develop curriculum that aligns with industry needs and focuses on developing the skills, knowledge crucial to career success.
Highly sought after graduates often undertake a well-rounded, multidisciplinary education and make the most of opportunities inside and outside of the classroom (eg. extracurricular activities, leadership and professional skills development, mentoring, networking, volunteering, internships, exchange and study abroad).
The pivot to remote, online delivery has allowed much innovation, from asynchronous learning, virtual proctoring of assessment and a different focus on pedagogy. Some of this will be retained when the pandemic is over.