Service-Learning in Indian Higher Education: Experiences of Adaptation to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Preeti Kodancha, Kareena Suresh Sajnani, Aalhad Raut, Smitha Baboo

Abstract


Service-learning is a pedagogy that allows students to apply theoretical knowledge in practical settings, while serving the needs of their communities. It is a recent introduction in Indian education and has faced multidimensional obstacles in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, by innovatively adapting the pedagogy to suit the needs of the time students have ensured that the service-learning activities do not halt completely. The current study aimed to explore the subjective experiences of undergraduate students who engage in service-learning in an Indian educational institution during the pandemic. Data was collected via in-depth, personal interviews from six undergraduate students who are involved in the central planning and execution committee for service-learning. The transcribed data was analyzed through thematic analysis, and various sub-themes and themes were obtained were obtained under the domains of the various challenges faced while engaging in service-learning during the pandemic, the adaptational strategies employed to overcome them, and also the personal challenges and development of the students while engaging in service-learning. The results of the study allow for a better understanding of the experience of service-learning in the pandemic, paving way for institutional policies that can better equip students and allow for greater preparedness.

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