The Department of Biosciences, set up in 1969, faced dearth of students in the last year’s admission probably for the first time since its inception.

Biosciences course at Mangalore University, which attracted only two students last year, bounced back to life with all 24 seats being grabbed by students at the centralised admission for the course for 2012-13, on Friday.

The Department of Biosciences, set up in 1969, faced dearth of students in the last year’s admission probably for the first time since its inception. As a result, the university could not run the course as it needed at least five students and two students opted for other science courses.

The department had been set up even before Mangalore University was carved out of Mysore University. It was then under the post-graduation centre of Mysore University at the Kasturba Medical College on Light House Hill Road in the city. It was shifted to the Konaje campus of the then post-graduation centre of Mysore University in 1972. Mangalore University came into existence in September, 1980, a professor in the department told The Hindu on Friday. Pre-university and degree colleges refusing to appoint post-graduates in Biosciences to teach Biology and Zoology hit the prospectus of Biosciences course.

In addition, sexual harassment charges against a Reader (who was dismissed later) who was teaching Environmental Science in the Department of Biosciences, by two researchers in June, 2010, had tarnished the image of the department. Its impact was felt in the 2011-12 admission.

Added to this were the diminishing job opportunities with colleges refusing to hire biosciences postgraduates as teachers for biology and zoology.

The professor said that now the Department of Pre-University Education had allowed postgraduates in Biosciences to teach Biology and Zoology, thereby creating a demand for the course.

But this change was brought about only after the Biosciences Department brought to the notice of the Pre-University Department a 1974-letter by the Union Ministry for Human Resource Development to this effect.

Chairman of Department of Biosciences at the University, M. Rajashekar, told The Hindu that 39 candidates had applied for 24 seats (16 merit and eight paid seats) of Biosciences courses for 2012-13. All 24 seats were filled up by evening, he said.

Mr. Rajashekar said that though 30 students had applied for the course last year, only two had joined the course.

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