Most HSC students in the science stream are aiming at bagging seats in top engineering and medical institutes or opting for BSc in Computer Science and Information Technology (IT). But the number of students who want to pursue natural/pure sciences after HSC is on the decline, despite there being scholarships worth Rs80,000 a year on offer. Pure sciences include subjects such as maths, chemistry, geology and botany, among others.
Under Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE), 10,000 scholarships are offered annually as part of the Scholarship for Higher Education programme of the Centre’s department of science and technology.
“Last year, 150 students from our HSC batch were eligible for this scholarship. We had personally informed each of them. However, most headed to pursue engineering and medical courses, followed by BSc in bi-focal subjects,” said Sangeeta Srivastava, principal, TP Bhatia College, Kandivli.
Srivastava said circulars have been put up on the campus to make students aware of this scholarship, but not many have come forward and expressed interest in it.
At a south Mumbai college, only a handful of the 350-odd eligible students opted for it. “Those who did opt for the scholarship seemed to take it up as a last resort. It’s sad to see that over the years, the demand for pure sciences has declined to an extent that colleges have also stopped offering it as a course,” said the principal.
The state board officials said they have been sending out a list of eligible students to colleges over the past few years, but the poor response has left them baffled. “A scholarship of Rs80,000 per annum is a huge amount, but the lack of interest among students is disappointing. We will do our job by sending a similar list once again this year, it’s up to students to decide what they want in the end,” said Gangadhar Mamane, chairperson of Maharashtra state board, Pune.
Mamane said colleges have been asked to spread awareness about pure sciences as well as this scholarship in order to invite more students to grab this opportunity.