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A subject of contention

india Updated: Jun 05, 2012 16:50 IST
Mallica Joshi
Mallica Joshi
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

As Delhi University gears up to flag off its admission process in three days, students find themselves torn between the aspirations of their parents and the courses the varsity has on offer.

Students who studied science in school seem particularly susceptible to this dilemma. While they are toying with the idea of stepping into a more academic world that is usually associated with research and doctorate degrees, parents have stepped up pressure on their children to pick the more “traditional” courses.

“I’m very keen on doing an honours degree in physics from St Stephen’s College and following it up with an MSc in the same field. But my parents keep telling me that I should choose a more commercially viable course, such as economics, after which I can pursue an MBA. If I don’t choose economics, they want me to pursue engineering after a year’s gap,” said Trishla Verma, an aspirant.

DU officials say parents often complain that the science courses are not commercially viable.

“Students, after getting a science degree from DU, should not stop studying or look for a job immediately. They should, instead, opt for higher studies and research. But complaining parents often force students to get into the humanities or commerce stream,” said Gulshan Sawhney, the deputy dean of student welfare at DU.

At the same time, while a shift from the pure science subjects — such as biotechnology or physics — to the humanities stream seems easy, the reverse, officials say, is next to impossible. For this reason, they say, parents should not discourage the children from pursuing the pure sciences.

“I want to study anthropology from DU. I’ve always been intrigued by the subject. After my undergraduate studies, I want an MS-PhD from abroad and get into full-time research. But at the moment, there is stiff opposition from my family because they’re keen on me taking UPSC exams," said Mohit Bakshi, another aspirant.

The DU officials also added that this mindset is typically deep rooted in the minds of parents and their children and is manifest at the time they have to choose streams in school.

“In school, if a student has not fared as well in the past and even if they want to pursue science, they can’t. They are put into another stream they may not fully enjoy. It is the same scenario now. In this country, pure science subjects lose out to the more ‘popular’ options which the child may not enjoy,” said Sawhney.

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