A super fan of all things Disney, Vanshika Godha is pursuing her Bachelors in Economics from S.P. Jain School of Global Management, Mumbai. “Studying Economics helps me study trends and understand patterns and consumer behaviour,” says the effervescent youngster who wants to put her knowledge to use by entering the field of Event Management.
A voracious reader, the Jaipur resident ensures she sets aside time for her love of swimming and roller skating alongside her current studies. Vanshika is looking forward to “climb the ladder of success by first gaining at least three years of experience before going back to college at the European School of economics for a specialised diploma in event management.”
EducationWorld presents its next story of the series Students’ Corner, which puts special emphasis on children and their views. Meet Vanshika Godha from S.P. Jain School of Global Management, Mumbai.
What kind of classes are being conducted currently in your educational institution?
Currently, our college is conducting all subjects without any compromise. We have been given flexible options to either opt for online or face-to-face studies according to one’s convenience.
What has been the general mood amongst students regarding attending offline classes and a possible re-shutting of schools amidst the new surge of COVID cases?
Our institute sports beautiful campuses across Dubai, Mumbai, Singapore and Sydney which makes it exciting for the students to attend offline classes. However, there is some fear amongst students about travelling outside the country. Given the uncertainty of COVID cases rising and the possible stringent responses by the Dubai, Singapore and Australian governments, the possibility of new lockdowns is a huge risk. During the earlier lockdowns, students who travelled across borders were upset about having to return to their home countries mid-semester. Of course, it was worse for those who weren’t able to return because of the country-specific flying restrictions.
The Students council representative is a coveted position. How did you carry out your responsibilities amidst virtual classes?
It was challenging to be able to communicate as effectively as before because of different time zones for so many students. However, resources provided by our college such as outlook address books, zoom accounts and our college’s ‘engaged learning online’ (ELO) system helped and made it work. Plus, it was a great learning opportunity for me. It helped me develop my organisational and time-management skills.
Do you think administering your duty online restricted the scope of the work you could have conducted otherwise?
Yes definitely! I think no matter how developed the technology is, the human touch remains irreplaceable. In the pre-COVID times, our events allowed us to engage with so many other batches and understand each other. The live events turned out to be great motivational tools.
Do you think students are ready for offline exams given there was little time for revision of the previous year’s syllabus due to the disruptions?
Yes, I think students are ready for offline exams despite all the disruptions in between. Our college tried its best to make our transition as smooth as possible enabling us to take our time and adjust at our own pace.
What challenges did you face from March 2020 onwards and what changes did you have to incorporate studying during the pandemic?
Some of the challenges faced since the pandemic were (in no specific order): loss of face-to-face interaction with our professors and friends, managing classes from different time zones after students returned to their home countries, the lethargic feeling due continuous online mode only. We were bored of taking classes sitting in one room, in one chair for hours but yet, slowly and steadily we adjusted and adapted to the situation using the opportunity to continue learning.
How were your practical classes (lab sessions) managed during the pandemic?
Studying Economics involves a lot of complex ‘Excel’ sheets etc. Earlier our professors helped us while we worked on our own devices. That has not changed since now we have switched to using the screen sharing virtual options to overcome the missing physical presence.
How did you manage to stay connected with your friends during the pandemic?
Lots of video calls, silent ones too. My roommates and I were used to each other’s presence in our room even without interacting continuously. So while we could not have each other present physically, we used to call each other even while we were doing our own things. For me, this gave some semblance of my roomie’s presence around me and comforted me. We also had a lot of movie nights using apps like ‘Netflix party’ and ‘Prime watch buddy’ that allowed us to all watch the same movie and just have fun together.
Did you have to deal with last-minute changes in exam patterns, evaluation criteria etc.?
The only change we had in our evaluation criteria was the exam pattern changing from ‘closed book’ to ‘open book’. We used a lot of technology even in pre-COVID times like typing our answers on our devices so the shift to ‘online only’ exams was not new for us. The change from closed to open book actually benefited us since we now use our application-based knowledge rather than just cramming everything that the book or our notes say. While the grades of students doing well before have remained steady, grades of students who struggled during the closed book pattern have improved in the open book exam pattern.
How have you coped with exam stress? Did you have access to a counsellor to help you through difficult times?
We have always, even before pandemic, had access to the student counsellor to help with our study-related stress as well as personal problems.
In the absence of in-person interaction with teachers, do you think you have missed out on knowing the latest career options or higher education prospects available to you?
No, I think we had enough guidance in the pre-pandemic years to help us guide through this process. In fact, I think the opportunity created by the increase in remote working options has only broadened our career options. Our teachers have been helping us to make the most of all available opportunities.
Are you attending any online tutorials?
Yes, I think a lot of us are taking online tutorials to expand our skill sets and knowledge. The college has helped us immensely by offering free courses from websites offering quality online courses.
Do you think the state and central government did enough to support education and children during the pandemic?
I think that the government was trying to ease everyone’s problems throughout the pandemic. With issues such as the migrant workers’ crisis and vaccination for all etc. requiring urgent attention, students sometimes felt that less attention was being paid to them as compared to others.
Have you understood the National Education Policy 2020’s takeaways? What is your take on it?
Yes, I have understood the National Education Policy 2020. Its features of 5+3+3+4 years of learning seems like a good change to me because it clearly defines different aspects of a students’ learning and will ensure the syllabus is more focussed. Other features such as having a National Research Foundation will also be a great addition improving the Indian research output.