As the craze for Commerce continues to dominate Delhi University undergraduate admissions, there is some good news for Science courses. Many colleges are witnessing a healthy enrollment in basic science courses.
A major reason is the cut in cut-offs by many, including Kirori Mal, Gargi, Daulat Ram and Sri Venkateswara College.
In fact, a pleasant surprise was in store for Gargi College where students with higher cut-offs enrolled in the Science courses.
“In Physics, the cut-off is 76.33. But we have got students with 82 percent marks joining us,” said Meera Ramachandran, principal.
“Perhaps the economic slowdown has made some serious students realise the importance of research and product development.”
The college had recently organised a science workshop to retain talent in sciences.
“The workshop was aimed at introducing students to interdisciplinary concepts and give them a flavour of undergraduate research,” Ramachandran said.
She added that they had already filled two-third seats, with Physics and Chemistry doing better than usual.
At Kirori Mal College, the response from Science students has been the best in the last two years.
“I have been the admissions in-charge for the last two years. But it is only this year that I am seeing such a rush for Science courses,” said Pradyumna Sethy, admissions in-charge and assistant professor of Physics at KMC. The colleges have also lowered their cut-off from last year. Physics is down from 86 to 83. Zoology has also seen a dip of four percent — from 84 in 2008 to 80 this year.
“The departments decided to post realistic cut-offs so we could fill our seats in the first cut-off itself,” said Sethy.
“Moreover, with higher cut-offs, we were losing out on genuine candidates who were forced to join other colleges.”
He felt the rush had nothing to do with students moving away from engineering due to the slowdown.
“Out of the whole batch, only a handful will opt for research or higher studies in basic sciences. Most will opt for an MBA or MCA. So we still have a long way to go before we can attract students to pure sciences in a big way,” he said.
DU is trying to make science education more interesting by enabling undergraduate students to work with major research labs such as the National Physical Laboratory, Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences and Laser Science and Technology Center.
In 2007, Rs 20 crore worth of equipment was given to all DU colleges to refurbish their labs and encourage students to work with teachers on research projects. “Science education will make a comeback in the next couple of years,” said vice chancellor Deepak Pental.