Author: Irene Marineo
The Coronavirus emergency has unquestionably forced individuals all over the world to live a reality that no one would ever have imagined having to face. In addition to the almost constant fear of contagion, there is also uncertainty and concern for the future, especially when we talk about the future we instinctively think of the new generations. In this regard, a highly sensitive issue is that of education during the pandemic, a subject that has raised quite a few controversies. Let’s try to overlook the well-known criticalities that distance learning entails, rather let us pause to reflect on the consequences that forced confinement has brought to the university world.
In the long term, how compromising will this school revolution be and what impact will it have on the preparation of future graduates but, above all, will there be a number of graduates at least equal to that of previous years?
Let’s talk about numbers: the most evident data is provided by the statistics of registrations that took place at the main world universities and, unfortunately, it is very clear that the number of enrollments is in worrying decline. Universities were rightly prepared for a decrease in the number of Erasmus students (in France the number of new foreign students arriving in the Hexagon dropped by 40%), however, it was hoped for different results with regards to enrollments on national soil.
In Italy, a study prepared by the Federico II University of Naples, the number of new students would have decreased by ten thousand units on a national scale, with more than half of the cases in the South of the country.
However, Italian students are not the only ones to experience this difficult situation, a similar argument can be made by observing the situation in the United States. In fact, the American Council of Education, an association that brings together more than 1700 American universities and training institutions, has made a forecast on university enrollments for the next academic year, highlighting a decrease of 15%, translating this figure into a loss of revenues equal to to 23 billion.
The causes of this phenomenon are not attributable to a lack of motivation on the part of the new young people, rather the main reasons are the decreasing family incomes and the consequent desire not to burden their parents. Even the most willing who would be willing to work to pay for their studies have to deal with the limited availability of job offers.
The Svimez association argues that the issue could be contained by implementing measures such as the introduction of scholarships, the extension of contributions for university fees or facilitations for transport and accommodation.
All this gives us hope for an improvement in the situation and that universities will continue to contribute to the formation of those who will become ideal candidates.