Life after COVID-19 & PUBG Ban for Students or Professionals in India With educational institutions being shut, students learning from home and professionals taking the WFH (work from home) route, emotional adaptability quotients are certainly posing a problem

By Vivek Kumar Singh

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In a TED Talk back in 2015, technology mogul Bill Gates made a visionary statement, talking about how viruses will be one of the biggest global catastrophes in comparison to other threats faced by humanity. Little did Gates know how his prediction would turn out to be devastatingly right. COVID-19 is still waging war on the world, having taken numerous lives, afflicted innumerable others and put economies, businesses and governments on the backburner.

What the ongoing pandemic has also done is confine an entire generation of school, college and university learners at home along with young professionals. With educational institutions being shut, students learning from home and professionals taking the WFH (work from home) route, emotional adaptability quotients are certainly posing a problem. How are today's students and professionals truly faring? As the bonafide digital generation of the country, are they adapting well to the pandemic? The answers are not hard to find.

Impact of the pandemic on professionals and young learners

COVID-19 has turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the online education or ed-tech sector along with software and technology majors. Students have swiftly adapted to the online learning model across both metros and non-metros. Short-term certificate courses are highly in demand for discovering better career opportunities and up-skilling while live classrooms are also in vogue.

Here are some key findings in this regard:

  • Courses on cyber security, DevOps, cloud, data science and AI (artificial intelligence) are witnessing huge demand amongst professionals, having posted 15% growth in March itself.
  • Most educational institutions are taking virtual classes while holding events and conducting examinations online as well.
  • People are increasingly consuming news online while communication apps are notching up higher downloads.
  • Professionals and students are now more conscious about their personal hygiene; a study by IANS C-Voter Gallup International Association Corona Tracker revealed that 87.2% of people in India are now more alert about personal hygiene during the lockdown.
  • Leading health brands are driving public awareness campaigns with the youth at the forefront.
  • Working from home is another disruptive change in conventional business sectors while it has become the norm for IT and ITeS professionals in India.
  • Young learners and professionals are now balancing their household duties with work assignments simultaneously.
  • OTT platforms, live streaming, YouTube and other apps are soaring up the popularity charts.
  • In spite of COVID-19, interest remains high for studying abroad amongst Indian students. 2% of prospective students in South Asia are willing to abandon plans of studying abroad in the near future as per a Global Reach survey.
  • A Yocket survey revealed how 70% still want to pursue higher education abroad in spite of the pandemic.
  • The Indian Students' Mobility Report 2020- Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education Choices states that 47.73% of students agree to have previously planned to shift abroad for higher studies.

Digital Living can be called the new mantra but questions arise as to its sustainability. For the moment though, the digital generation is certainly adapting fast to lifestyle changes. Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad put it aptly when he stated sometime earlier that WFH should be held as the new norm even after COVID-19.

Challenges for young learners and professionals

There is a whole raft of challenges encountered by professionals and students in the wake of COVID-19. These include the following:

  • Most businesses have been severely impacted while pay cuts, layoffs and increasing job competition have been major worries for professionals.
  • Unemployment has grown steadily and employed professionals find themselves working longer hours at home than they would have in an office environment.
  • High school students are affected by lack of clarity on admission to foreign universities or institutions in other States and cities. 48.46% of students aspiring to study abroad have seen their decisions affected by the pandemic.
  • Infrastructure issues including broadband networks, high-speed internet and lack of computing/software support are major challenges as well.
  • Learners and professionals are equally reporting screen fatigue or increased tiredness from long hours of working online.

PUBG Ban- Adding to millennials' discomfort

Along with challenges related to working from home and pursuing higher studies, the recent ban on PUBG has aggravated things further. With the Ministry of IT and Electronics announcing its country-wide ban on PUBG as part of the fight against Chinese applications in India, parent entity Tencent lost a whopping $34 billion in market fluctuations. What makes things more discomforting is that India has been PUBG's biggest market according to Sensor Tower, with the game being installed 175 million times (24% of nationwide downloads).

PUBG's desktop version has attained immense popularity amongst gamers along with the free app available across the Google Play Store and Apple App Store previously. With 25% of global PUBG players coming from India, it suffices to say that the ban has been extremely difficult to deal with for professional gamers and enthusiasts alike. Professionals expect a major dip in earnings while gaming disorders are becoming commoner. Behavioral changes are rampant amongst PUBG players who previously spent a few hours each day on the game. Some young professionals and students are already switching to other alternatives like Call of Duty and indigenous options.

However, PUBG's near-cult status has made accepting the ban really difficult for youngsters today. In light of the present challenges facing them, families, employers, mentors and teachers need to approach such issues with more sensitivity, providing much-needed emotional support in the aftermath of COVID-19.

Vivek Kumar Singh

Co-Founder & CEO, Careerera

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