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Ajeenkya DY Patil: COVID-19 has been the biggest test for students

An interview by Ajeenkya DY Patil, Chairman of the Ajeenkya DY Patil Group  

Q: Do you agree with the decision to cancel/postpone exams?

A: A month ago, there was much uproar surrounding the postponement of school examinations. Yet, looking back now, not only was the decision a wise one to prevent the further spread of the virus, but given the way things have played out with the devastating second wave, exam results would have added more stress to a country dealing with enough anxiety, loss, and grief. 

Q: How do you feel students are coping with this decision? 

A: I’m sure they feel confused, but these are unprecedented and uncertain times. Our students have had to deal with more change than is in their capacity. Let’s look back at the year our students have had. Schools and colleges were among the first to shut down when the pandemic was announced. In a country like India, staying home does not always equate to fun and games. While some students enjoyed the luxuries of plugging into classes from home, others struggled to even find the means to connect. While some students have come out of the year in online learning at the expected level of learning, others have fought to cope. What’s more, many of our young have lost parents, close family members, and even friends – these are trying times and they don’t need to feel the added pressure of performing in exams.  

 Q: What should educational institutions be focusing on to make learning easier on children under remote circumstances?  

A: Educational institutions have grappled, innovated, adapted, and evolved to new teaching methods to impart knowledge, but it was our students who have had to come to terms with a completely new system of ingesting this information, the onus resting on them and the resources at hand, to interpret and to perform. We therefore must continue to act in the best interests of our students. These are unprecedented times and we at Ajeenkya DY Patil Group’s various educational institutions are taking the right steps to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our students and faculty. Learning continues as before and as it should. When we look back at this time years from now, it is the support, the action, the adjustment, the resilience that will remain in our minds, not how we were assessed in percentages. 

Q: What has Ajeenkya DY Patil University done to ensure mental wellbeing among students? 

A: Covid 19 brought upon us the inevitability of living with the unprecedented situation in the following times to come. Hence, we had to plan, prepare, and cope with stress during the outbreak.   In such times, it becomes imperative that we take care of our mind by practicing and giving it emotional first Aid especially, for young adults who are losing the best days of their campus life. Hence, an initiative named “Emotional Wellbeing in the time of Covid 19” was launched for all the students of Ajeenkya DY Patil University.  Various topics were covered which began in the month of April 2020.  Videos were prepared along with open discussions for students to come and express their feelings. 

Q: What are some of the ways that the Ajeenkya DY Patil schools and universities are helping students driven and motivated?  

A: Ajeenkya DY Patil University has organised its first Skill Development Summit to develop essential 21st-century skills and world-class standards which will help students to succeed in their career and life. The primary aim of this summit is to promote the development of skills such as Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Storytelling, Conflict management, and Decision-making. In a constantly changing Socio-Economic and cultural environment, having the right skills is an essential part of being able to meet the challenges of everyday life.

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