COVID-19 has left scholars anxious about future, research work: Survey

COVID-19 has left scholars anxious about future, research work: Survey

NEW DELHI [Maha Media]: Over 460 of 530 JNU scholars who participated in a survey said they have been anxious about their future prospects and completing their research works, among other things, since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Three research scholars from the Jawaharlal Nehru University —Alamu R, Yangchen Roy, and Somashree Das -- conducted the survey to understand the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on research scholars. Of the total 530 respondents to the online survey, 87.5 per cent (470) reported being anxious since the pandemic began and 10% said they “maybe” anxious. 

Concern about one’s future prospects and problems pertaining to research work, including stalled fieldwork, were the major anxiety drivers for nearly 80 per cent of the scholars, according to the survey. A lack of clarity regarding extension of the research programme (64 per cent) was also a major cause of anxiety, the survey found. Nearly 58 per cent were anxious because of problems pertaining to finances including having run out of money or because of fast-depleting savings and 56 per cent were anxious about the lack of clarity regarding fellowship/finances for extension period if an extension is given, the survey found. According to the survey, 48 per cent were worried about “the financial/health situation at home”.

Nearly 40 per cent are worried about the family demands and expectations regarding household work and care responsibilities, with more women than men being worried, and 30.6 per cent due to family/social pressure regarding marriage.

Of the total respondents, women constituted over 58 per cent. Of the total women, 33.4 per cent reported being increasingly pressured by family to get married. Similarly, 40.9 per cent of women said the family demands/expectations regarding household work and care responsibilities have increased after the pandemic.

Men constituted 41.5 per cent of the total sample of the survey and they were no exceptions to being either pressured to get married or increased family demands after the onset of pandemic. Amongst all men, 24.5 per cent said they are increasingly being pressured by family to get married, while 33.6 per cent told family demands/expectations regarding household work and care responsibilities have increased for them after the pandemic.

The survey results predicted that a sizeable share of research scholar dropouts is likely, with disruption to research scholars’ access to resources and financial adversity being at heart of the reasons. Of the total respondents, PhD scholars constituted 80 percent. MPhil and M.Tech students made up 18.5 per cent and 1.5 percent of the sample respectively.

The survey also found that only 50 per cent of the scholars have regular electric supply at their places of residence, with 38 per cent facing frequent powercuts, and about 10 per cent having no electric supply for upto four to six hours a day. The university’s 48.3 per cent students (or 4,251 of the total 8,805 enrolled) are in M.Phil or P.hD programmes.

 

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