Economic crisis can be defined as a period when the economy of a country is plunged into a depression characterized by low levels of trade, low prices of goods and services and when high levels of unemployment is experienced( Pacific,1981, p.1). The effect of the economic crisis is felt by people of all calibers despite their education, cultural or racial background.
It is equally felt by students in various universities all over the word. Having been asked to study the effect of the economic crisis on the students of the University of East London (UEL) students, it was necessary to use research methods such as questionnaires, oral interviews and to study past written reports on this issue.
It was found that using questionnaire and interview methodologies were best because a direct reaction was recorded and the data came first hand therefore less disorientation of data. In addition these methods enabled the deeper understanding and an insight on students’ views and perspectives on economic crisis. Through these methodologies the following were discussed as some of the major effects of the economic crisis (Bogle, 2005, p.7).
Firstly, on money issues, lenders have set a higher credit standard which means that a majority of students will not have access to credit facilities offered by various banks and other lending institutions. This has a huge impact on the lifestyles of the students in University as many opt to stay longer in school so as to avoid the corporate word which at that time has no job opportunities for these young people (Floyd, 2008, p. 21).
Hence this translates to higher costs to the university as there are additional costs on training. Young people end up spending their productive years in school while they would be out there earning a living. In addition, many students who are self sponsored, that is, they do not take up loans to pay their school fees struggle endlessly with their large sums of fee arrears (Economist Paper ltd, 1981, p.7). This is because they earn very little or have no jobs at all. Universities are equally raising their student fees by high percentages in addition to cutting enrollment of students and slashing off some of the courses in an attempt to manage the scarce revenue. While this take place a large numbers of students are locked out of the universities while others drop out because they cannot afford the school fees. There are equally fears that the government may cut down on the scholarship funding hence directly affecting students coming from low income earning families who might not proceed with their studies without financial assistance (HM Treasury, Bank of England and Financial Services Authority, 2007, p.4).
Secondly, a high increase in vices among university students. Many university students have acknowledged that they have indulged in petty crime such as pick-pocketing, muggings and other even as far as armed robbery. This is because they are not able to meet there daily needs such as buying clothes, gas and groceries for their up keep. They indulge in crime so as to source some form of income as they cannot get odd jobs and their parents cannot provide for their up keep since they may have other children to take care of (Gjerstad and Vernon, 2009, p A15).
Moreover, others have opted for harmful drugs such as cocaine, heroine.. just to mention but a few. They choose to use these drugs to escape their misery in schools having been forced to read under tough economic conditions. They prefer to live in an illusion rather than in reality which proves difficult because of the hard economic crisis.
Thirdly, a majority of the students admitted that they are psychologically traumatized as some had to witness their parents lose their homes because they could not meet the mortgage demands. Others said their parents had to go days without food and the assurance of having food on there table the following day. This brings about low concentration spans in lecture halls as the students simply transfer their frustrations to the classrooms. Students have to have a sound mind in order to pursue their education (Yale 1903, p.9).
Thirdly, the quality of education at these institutions of higher learning is compromised. The education sector has to compete for resources with other sectors of the economy such as agriculture, tourism, health and so on. Therefore, the amount of money placed on the budged for research by the institutions of learning is hardly sufficient for all the students. As a result, a research meant to be carried out by individual students is done in groups so as to save on money (Holmes, 1999, p.2).
At the end of the day, this compromises the student’s ability to tackle such research. The student is at a risk of being incompetent in future in the corporate word due to lack of enough exposure and practice.
Fourthly, the feeling of despair and loss hope among the students. Having been faced by hard economic time that has affected their lives at such a young age, some begin to despair.
For example, lacking the basic needs such as food, shelter and clothing makes some of the students to simply let fate take over their dreams and aspirations. They begin performing badly and their grades move from bad to worse with time. If this situation is not taken seriously and serious measures taken then young people will loose their dreams and aspirations (Woods, 2009, p.65).
Lastly, the economic crisis has been felt on a practical basis on the students when they have to do with few lectures to teach them, scarce resource material such as books, journals and internet in the institutions of higher learning
In conclusion, the economic crisis has cut deep into the education system, primarily the students of various institutions of higher education. it is evident that university students have to tighten there belts, work extra hard to find jobs and try there utmost best to investigate scholarship opportunities. These scholarships will enable them pursue their education without having to drop out of school. The government should equally ensure that these scholarships are distributed fairly to all students without discrimination or favourism (Stewart, 2009, p.21)
At this critical time it’s strongly advised that students understand the importance of education and forge on with there education because it will liberate them and make them productive members of the country.