While it is a bygone conclusion that students who have studied commerce in Plus-Two do not opt for science courses at the undergraduate level, the reverse, however, does not hold good. Those from science background show interest in commerce courses, say the Department Heads in arts and science colleges here.

Commerce faculty in colleges say that this happens in two cases. The first instance is when the boy or girl is forcefully made to study science in higher secondary by the parents, and the other is when he or she has taken science out of volition and then found that he or she did not have the aptitude for it.

But for such students, the decision is usually a costly one. Colleges do not encourage students from other disciplines to apply for commerce course because they believe that it will be difficult for them to cope with a new stream. Also, there is already such a huge demand for commerce and commerce-based courses that colleges focus on accommodating students from commerce background rather than from other disciplines.

K.M. Chinnadurai, Head, Department of Commerce, PSG College of Arts and Science, says it is not fair on the part of science stream students to opt for commerce courses.

“There is a G.O. that says the eligibility for a student to choose B.Com., or BBM, or commerce-related degree programmes, he/she should have studied commerce and accountancy in Plus-Two. Though there is a directive from Bharathiar University that says that this can be relaxed if there are not sufficient applications from commerce students, there is never such an instance. In this situation, accommodating students from other streams is not right,” he says.

For example, the college offers nine degree programmes in commerce, which has 600-plus seats. The number of applications received every year is usually five to six times the stipulated number. Some colleges say that they do offer a few seats in their self-financing commerce programmes.

A commerce faculty in a city college says that the argument that science students find it difficult to cope with the commerce syllabus is not an excuse. The curriculum includes basics of the subjects, and all these are not skipped because there are many students from Tamil medium who have to be taught the basics in English in college.

Nevertheless, there is the hypothesis that in the case of autonomous colleges if all students are from commerce background, the syllabus need not be kept too basic, but can be modified or advanced.

M. Jayakumar, director, Department of Extension and Career Guidance, Bharathiar University, says that colleges should be open-minded about admitting students from science background.

“This will encourage an inter-disciplinary approach and also make it challenging for students. Also, who can study a course should be decided by the University Grants Commission or the university concerned, and not by multiple authorities who will prescribe different qualifications as eligibility criteria,” he says.