The impact of the Covid-19 coronavirus on online study in markets for British education

The impact of the Covid-19 coronavirus on online study in markets for British education

In order to determine the impact of the Covid-19 coronavirus on online study iQualify UK surveyed opinion in four main countries for British education. These are Kenya, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UK. The survey was targeted at individuals aged between 21 and 35 who had obtained a bachelor or master’s degree, as these are normally the main market for further qualifications. More than 500 responses were received to the survey (which was undertaken at the end of May 2020). The results are as follows (excluding ineligible responses).

Question: What is your current employment situation?

Comment: Respondents are working less hours (24%), although the proportion is lower in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, and are working from home (29%) particularly in Saudi Arabia. This is to be expected in the current circumstances, and provides reassurance that the results are therefore likely to be a valid reflection of the impact of Covid-19 coronavirus on online study in markets for British education.

Question: What are your plans regarding your education?

Comment: It is interesting to note what proportion are already studying online (18%) and how many more (28%) have started to study online since Covid-19. There is also considerable interest in studying online with 19% considering doing so and 23% planning to study online. While the UK and Pakistan show high figures of respondents who have started to study online since Covid-19 (34% and 35% respectively), Saudi Arabia has a lower proportion of respondents who have started studying online since Covid-19 (12%), although they have a higher proportion who are already studying online (35%).

Question: Do you have any concerns about studying online?

Comment: Nearly four in ten (38%) of all respondents (47% in Saudi Arabia) are already studying online or have no concerns about doing so. Cost is the biggest concern (29%) followed by reputation (20%). Unlike the other countries, respondents in Pakistan think that online courses are too difficult (23%) compared to the average for all of 12% and just 4% in the UK.

Question: What subjects would you study (or are you already studying) online?

Comment: Respondents were able to select more than one reason, and so totals do not add up to 100. Qualifications to help you in your career was the most popular reason for studying online (70%).

Analysis: What subjects are respondents who have started studying since Covid-19 now studying?

(responses from those who previously ticked ‘started studying online since Covid-19’)

Comment: The subjects started by respondents who started studying online since Covid-19 are essentially the same as the responses from all respondents.

Conclusion

The impact of Covid-19 on degree holders aged 21-35 in Kenya, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UK has led 28% of respondents to start studying online. There are concerns about the cost and reputation of online study, but a large proportion (38%) are already studying online, or have no concerns about doing so. Their main interest in studying online (70%) is in qualifications to boost their career. Ian Fraser, Principal and Director of iQualify UK said, “It is very logical for graduates to see the value in studying additional qualifications online in the current environment, and it is encouraging to see the increase in online study. I was interested to see that it is the same reason given by those who have started their studies online since Covid-19, albeit at a slightly higher proportion (72%), which shows how important graduates see the need to obtain further qualifications these days.”

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