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Science continues to lose ground

Science subjects like Physics, Chemistry and Botany are not considered exciting by students any more, Sidhartha Roy tells more.
Hindustan Times | By Sidhartha Roy, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 03, 2007 02:17 PM IST

The trend has now become predictable — cut-offs for B.Com (Hons.) and Economics soaring higher and those of science courses diving further every year. What is the reason for science further sliding down the popularity charts every year? “Science subjects like Physics, Chemistry and Botany are not considered exciting by students any more. It is a very disturbing trend and we have to break this thinking any way we can,” said Pratibha Jolly, Principal of Miranda House College. It is the same story at all Delhi University colleges, both the elite and the not-so-popular ones.

The first cut-offs were lower than last year’s list and the second cut-off list dipped further by one to six per cent. Colleges admit as much as three times the number of seats they have, taking into account the high dropout rate.

The first preference of students is to go for engineering and medical courses and a seat in a DU college is just a back up for them. “Even those who do not make it, study for a year for the entrance and then take admission in DU as gap-year students,” said A.S Reddy, Principal of Sri Venkateswara College.

Teachers say the popularity of courses was determined essentially by the job market, a reason why Commerce and even Humanities subjects steal a march over pure science subjects. “The media boom has now made even Hindi (Hons.) glamorous and colleges are closing admission to the course,” said Gargi Principal Meera Ramachandran.

“B.Sc on its own is adequate for the job market and students now want to hit the market as soon as they can,” she said. It is another reason why Maths (Hons.) is very popular. “Students feel the course would make their entry into a MBA course easier,” Reddy said. }

“The science courses are not oriented towards industry requirements. Students find it tedious to study science for many years and feel it lacks opportunities. There is more research and lateral courses,” he said. Ramachandran said that students do not take Science in school keeping in mind B.Sc. (Hons.).

“They want to get into architecture, engineering or medical, not basic science. While Physics (Hons.) was considered a glamourous course at one point and attracted the best, studying the course now makes them feel disappointed,” she said. Principal of Hans Raj College S.R. Arora feels that the syllabus of courses was also responsible for their unpopularity.

“Earlier, B.Sc General used to be popular but the restructured B.Sc Life Sciences and Physical Sciences are not because the syllabus is not made that good,” he said. “I’m still to fill seats in these courses and would have to bring a third list.” Jolly said the unpopularity of science is a global trend but concerted efforts are required to make it more lucrative and that too right from the school level.

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