What are the Challenges for German Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic?


Essay, 2021

9 Pages, Grade: 2,0


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Table of content

1 Introduction
1.1 Definition
1.2 Field of application

2 Challenges for students
2.1 Resources
2.1.1 Financial
2.1.2 Spatial situation
2.1.3 Technical equipment
2.2 Psychological stress
2.2.1 Organization
2.2.2 Social life

3 Challenges on the part of the university
3.1 Homogeneity
3.2 Working
3.3 Equality for students

4 Ethical challenges

5 Outlook

6 Bibliography

1 Introduction

In December 2019, a global pandemic was brewing with the SARS Covid 19 virus. When the virus first broke out, the world stood still and no one really knew what would happen next. Now the world lives for nearly 2 years with this virus, sometimes better and sometimes worse. But how has this worldwide pandemic affected students at universities and colleges? The goal of this paper is to give the reader a structured overview of the challenges for universities and especially for students.

1.1 Definition

First the question should be clarified, what is a pandemic at all and what defines it? A Pandemie is a worldwide Epidemic. Pathogens that have not been seen before infect the human body and spread from human to human. The main problem is that a large mass of people can be infected, which in turn leads to an overload of the health care system.

1.2 Field of application

What challenges did the 2.94 million students in Germany have to face? Of course, the challenges of the pandemic are present in all universities around the world. However, this paper will focus exclusively on the German system, its regulations and problems. In Germany, there are different ways to study and two different forms of study. One is the university and then there is the university of applied sciences. The difference lies mainly in the fact that in the university there is the possibility to do a doctorate and the knowledge is preferably taught theoretically. Nevertheless, this work is kept general, since it would go beyond the extent of the text to separate the forms from each other.

2 Challenges for students

Since the article is mainly about studying in a pandemic, there is a special focus on students. This section will be about student challenges and various friction points will be addressed.

2.1 Resources

Resources here refer to the social conditions of a student. How a student is positioned in various aspects of life also shapes them in the pandemic. Here, there can be a variety of differences depending on the household. The three most important points form here the financial and spatial situation as well as the technical equipment of the learning.

2.1.1 Financial

The financial situation is probably the most decisive in the topic of available resources, because it also influences the two other topics of the spatial and technical starting position. This is because if a student is financially secure through his or her parental home or a large subsidy from the German government, he or she may have an advantage over other students.

In Germany, more than two-thirds of all students enrolled at universities have to earn extra money with part-time jobs. Due to the pandemic, many students lost their part-time jobs because many were working in restaurants, at events or in retail. At times of lockdowns, jobs were cut there and temps were laid off first. Thus, many students lost their part-time income.

2.1.2 Spatial situation

The spatial situation of students is often related to the financial one, because a student who has enough liquidity often has better chances. Better chances to spend the lockdown or the online semester in an apartment with a balcony or garden. With enough opportunities for development and a quiet place to study. Many students have to live in a small dormitory because of this constraint. On an average of 9-20 sqm in the dorm, the ceiling quickly falls on your head. If in the apartment community with other students suddenly everyone is home, the nerves lie on quickly blank. There is also a not to be underestimated number of students who still live at home, in Germany in 2019 it is 24.5 percent who still live in their parents' house. But if these students still have siblings at home, who also only have online classes or even share a room or computer with them. Sinks the chance of learning in a quiet atmosphere. In contrast, there are also many students who were able to move back to their parents' house during the pandemic and can withdraw and develop there. So there are enormous differences here.

2.1.3 Technical equipment

Like the spatial situation, the technical equipment is strongly influenced by the financial possibilities. Students who have the means can afford notebooks, laptops, printers and the like. They have the resources to follow the online classes. However, as described in the previous section, there are also those who live at home. There, however, due to home offices and home schooling, more technical resources may now be needed than are given. In addition, technology also becomes a challenge where many users access servers. If suddenly everyone at home or in the apartment community uses the Internet, it is often slower or even crashes.

2.2 Psychological stress

The issue that affects almost everyone in the world is the Psychological Load. The burden on students is significant and beyond the scope of this paper. The previously mentioned challenges regarding resources only play a role in the burden. Another aspect is the social needs of each person. In times of online classes and lockdown measures like the curfews as they existed in Germany, the psyche suffers enormously.

2.2.1 Organization

One aspect that is always required in studying but never before like now is self-discipline. Students have to structure their tasks and the things they have to learn well in order to be able to cope with everyday university life at all. At times when library visits, group work or simple exchanges with fellow students are only possible to a limited extent, students suffer especially. Common learning and debriefing is now often missing, due to measures or spatial separation as many students flee to the hometown. Also the motivation and concentration suffer if one spends several hours before the screen and monotonously listens to the professor. So here, too, lurk some challenges for the students.

2.2.2 Social life

Not only in the university everyday life the social life of the students is missing. Even in private, when they want to switch off and distract themselves, difficulties arise. Outlet restrictions, closed cafes, and even their own anxiety prevent students from social interactions with peers or even other people. Evening events such as concerts or discos can no longer even be mentioned from 2 years old. Students who previously suffered from mental illnesses such as depression now suffer especially. Without a daily structure and fixed tasks, some students become lonely and withdraw from any social contacts.

3 challenges on the part of the university

Uncertainties and problems also prevail at the universities. They also try to cope with the situation in the best possible way, but often fail because of the German bureaucracy and its regulations. Consequently, some aspects that pose difficulties for universities will be explained.

3.1 Homogeneity

There are also dramatic differences between teachers. Teachers who are technically affine and fit probably cope better with the situation than others. Some students complained about enormous problems with teachers' digital literacy as early as the first pandemic semester. Because of this shortcoming, some teachers took the easy way out and skipped classes and overwhelmed their students with assignments and scripts.

3.2 Working

The fact that courses like architecture are based almost entirely on projects and group work hardly needs to be mentioned. Of course, these were also increasingly omitted, although they represent the core study content. Also in other courses of studies lectures, seminars and projects were missing, which actually represent a prerequisite for the study. Lecturers were exposed to the problem of how they get the missing points or grades of the learners. Students, on the other hand, lacked compensation for exams.

3.3 Equality for students

Universities also had to ask themselves the question, how can we guarantee equality for students? Because universities were also aware of problems mentioned further above, but how should this be taken into account? The universities were also faced with an unprecedented situation that was almost impossible to manage. The rules and regulations of the German Confederation, of course, also restricted the universities. The bureaucracy also made many things difficult and slowed down the situation even more. For example, the university was not able to inform the students about the upcoming semester until just before the deadline.

4 ethical challenges

The issue of ethical challenges arguably already plays a role throughout the pandemic. However, universities have also had to face these ethical issues. After all, pandemic regulations can exclude students, but students can also put others at risk. Testing procedures at universities also need to be well thought out in order to promote safe learning but not to exclude anyone.

5 outlook

The pandemic poses a number of challenges for learners and educators, ranging from personal resources to those of the university. Students and teachers should therefore work together as closely and openly as possible to manage this crisis as well as possible. The topic of the pandemic and its challenges is very broad and its impact will probably only become apparent in the future. So it remains exciting and the topic should be pursued further.

6 Bibliography

https://www.rki.de/SharedDocs/FAQ/Pandemie/FAQ18.html

https://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/221/umfrage/anzahl-der-studenten-an-deutschen-hochschulen/

https://www.spiegel.de/lebenundlernen/uni/nebenjob-im-studium-akademiker-kinder-gehen-seltener-kellnern-a-1172581.html

https://www.studierenplus.de/blog/studentenwohnheim/

https://de.statista.com/infografik/19250/wohnformen-von-studierenden/

https://www.deutschlandfunk.de/studieren-in-coronazeiten-hochschulen-zwischen-100.html

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Details

Title
What are the Challenges for German Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
Grade
2,0
Author
Year
2021
Pages
9
Catalog Number
V1163212
Language
English
Keywords
COVID-19 Pandemic
Quote paper
Viktoria Kraft (Author), 2021, What are the Challenges for German Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic?, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/1163212

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