There was a time when a graduation in Arts was the preferred choice of students who wanted to pursue a career in teaching. These days, with varied career options open to students with a degree in Bachelors in Arts (BA), more students are pursuing it and are looking at subjects such as psychology and social work to specialise in. The growing enthusiasm for the courses also means that the percentage of students passing the HSC exam in the Arts stream has crossed 82% in 2015.
“Over the past three years, Arts has gained immense popularity. More and more students are specialising in psychology and economics in third-year BA. Most psychology students opt for careers in counselling and also end up in corporate organisations,” said Harsha Mehta, principal, SIES College of Science, Arts and Commerce, Sion.
Mehta said a Bachelors or a Masters degree in Social Work too is a sought-after option, which opens up opportunities in the social sector, including NGOs. “Arts has suddenly turned into a course that offers better avenues and a wider scope in terms of jobs after graduation,” said Mehta.
Between 2011 and 2013, the dip in the state’s overall HSC exam performance was attributed to the falling pass percentage of students in the Arts stream. From 71.1% in 2010 to 60.16% in 2011 followed by 62.3% and 59% in 2012 and 2013, college principals were worried about Arts losing its importance, mainly because most students took up Arts as a last-ditch effort. However, in 2014, emerged a ray of hope with the pass percentage rising to 76.6% and increasing to 82.1% in 2015.
“It took a while, but students finally see the opportunities a degree in Arts or Humanities offers them. Arts teaches people skills and offers an understanding of humans as well as society. A degree in Arts looks good on CVs these days,” said Marie Fernandes, principal, St Andrew’s College, Bandra.
Fernandes said that while pursuing a BA gives students opportunities to work in the mass communication industry or counselling, pursuing additional courses such as Law or Masters in Social Work gives them an edge.
For the past few years, degree colleges have also seen a rise in the number of students specialising in psychology. Principals said students are increasingly pursuing psychology owing to the demand for psychologists in various sectors. “Students have realised the importance of concepts such as stress management and industrial psychology. We can attribute this to the growing competition in any field and competition has its own effect on mental health. People now realise that mental peace is very important,” said Vidyadhar Joshi, vice-principal, VG Vaze College, Mulund.