Survey: Students took up odd jobs to pay tuition fees during pandemic
5.3% of students had to take up jobs to sustain their education as well as support their families during the lockdown
Mumbai: A survey of over 12,000 students from colleges affiliated with the University of Mumbai has revealed that in 2021-22, students had to take up jobs along with their studies to pay for their tuition fees. At least 5% of the surveyed students also reported that they had to drop out of education in 2021-22 as they could not pursue online education either due to lack of proper available facilities or due to inability to pay the fees.
Conducted between November and December 2021 by the members of the Bombay University and College Teachers’ Union (BUCTU), the purpose behind the survey was to find out the effects of the pandemic and online education on enrollment in higher education institutes.
“Students were asked about their personal and family status in a separate survey conducted in 2020, and in comparison, we found out that nearly 5.3% of students had to take up jobs to sustain their education as well as support their families during the lockdown. It was further noticed that 4.4% of students who had responded to the 2020 survey had to drop out of education as they could financially support it,” states the survey report.
Of the 12,159 responses received, 57% were male and 43% were female students. 48.8% of respondents were from Mumbai while 19% were from Thane and around 32% of students were from rural districts of Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg and Palghar. Around 83% of the respondents informed that their father is the sole main earning member in the family, while 9% reported that their mother is the main earning member and in 2.7% of cases, the student themselves was the main breadwinner for the family.
BUCTU recently released a report highlighting the enrollment trend in higher education institutes across the state. While the humanities faculty took the worst hit in 2020-21 with a 33.1% dip in enrollment to undergraduate and 41% dip in postgraduate programs, the science faculty witnessed a dip of 5.1% in UG and 16.9% in PG courses. Surprisingly, the commerce faculty, too, witnessed a dip in enrollment post-pandemic—11.2% in UG and 33.2% in PG courses. Courses like law and technology, however, managed to attract more students, despite the pandemic.
“Migration from cities to rural towns, as well as poor access to technology and internet were the two primary reasons for dropouts in higher education in 2021-22,” said Madhavi Nikam, a member of the Academic Council, University of Mumbai. She added that adapting to online classes, especially with limited means, was another major concern that was demotivating students from following online lectures.