Economics may be a prime humanities subject in the rest of India, but in the country’s south, particularly in Tamil Nadu, the subject figures in the list of least preferred ones as a career choice.
The rapid slide in its importance in the State, despite the imperative need for aspirants of competitive examinations to answer questions on Indian economy, has confounded teachers.
At a recent brainstorming session at Jamal Mohamed College to discuss this worrisome scenario, heads of Economics department belonging to 20 affiliated colleges in Bharathidasan University took stock of the situation wherein students for Economics course, the parent discipline of commerce and management, are admitted despite their lack of understanding of fundamentals.
The teachers deduced that the curriculum must be made attractive from the perspective of students with updated course structures, skill development, value addition, application orientation and purposeful research. Certificate/add-on programmes with emphasis on practical training in NBFIs, stock market operations, project consultancy services, demand forecasting, marketing, export management and insurance should be offered to students to improve their employability.
Industrial visits must be made a component of the course. Certification from a qualified economist must be made mandatory for starting industrial and business ventures, they suggested. To qualify for the numerous job opportunities in government and private sector, students must be prepared with innovations in teachings through adaptation to new techniques.
Their unanimous appeal was for treatment of Commerce and Economics on an even keel at the higher secondary level as it used to be in the PUC (Pre University Course) system.
Economics must necessarily be taught by teachers with undergraduate and postgraduate qualification they emphasised, and urged the State government to resume appointment of Economics teachers that was stopped in 1989.
In their pursuit to drive home the importance of the subject, the teachers saw a sound augury in the teaching of Economics from std. VI under the system of ‘Samacheer Kalvi’, and called for creation of scope for candidates with B.A. Economics qualification to pursue B.Ed. course.
Likewise, postgraduates in Economics must continue to be considered for employment in the Statistical department of Tamil Nadu for statistical investigator jobs, they specified.
“The situation calls for innovative approach by teachers to fulfil their duties responsibly and meaningfully. The brainstorming session on ‘Prospects and Challenges of Economics Courses’ was an honest effort to reverse the trend and pep up students from economically weaker background who usually choose the course,” said S.M. Suriya Kumar, Professor, Urumu Dhanalakshmi College and president of Association of Economists of Tamil Nadu, which has been taking constructive initiative in research and publication.
The meeting had the participation of the principal of Jamal Mohamed College R. Khader Mohideen and the college secretary A.K. Khaja Nazeemudheen. K.A. Khalel Ahamed, treasurer, and P.N.P. Mohamed Sahapudeen also took part.