Mandira Nayar

Fundamental science subjects seem to be losing their shine with students

NEW DELHI: The soaring aggregate for B.Com (Honours) that refused to show a downward trend even in the second cut-off list of Delhi University announced on Thursday might speak of the popularity of the subject, but the story behind these numbers is that fundamental science subjects seem to be losing their shine with students.

Fighting a perception among students that there are brighter career prospects with Commerce and Economics (Honours), the cream of the students, as some college Principals point out, are no longer coming to Science.

"The hype is for Commerce and Economics and the best are moving away from Science. This is also because society in moving in such a way that students want to start earning money faster. They also feel that there are fewer opportunities after taking pure sciences,'' said Savithri Singh, Principal of Acharya Narendra Dev College.

Once considered the ultimate degree to have, Science seems to have been overtaken in popularity by courses like Economics (Honours) and even English (Honours). While subjects like Mathematic (Honours), Electronics (Honours) and the restructured applied courses still have plenty of takers, one of the biggest obstacles that fundamental Science courses like Chemistry and even Zoology is that despite the University revamping some of the subjects, there is still a lot to be done to make them up to date.

"The propaganda to popularise Science has not been effective by the University. The restructuring of the B. Com course is much more relevant and visibly more useful in terms of job opportunities than Science courses. Physics and Chemistry graduates have plenty of opportunities in pharmaceutical firms and even in atomic research, but the subjects are sort of casually treated,'' said Dyal Singh College Principal D. Jagannathan.

The opportunities for higher education after Science also seem limited. Delhi University for example has only few seats in Molecular Biology, Bio-Chemistry and Genetics in its South Campus at the post-graduate level. The lack of career opportunity after Science is a problem that has even the Vice-Chancellor Deepak Pental concerned. And to ensure that students get a better chance at getting a job after Science, a proposal to start five engineering colleges for students to get a degree in B.Tech has been made to the Planning Commission.

"We have made suggestions that the students who do a degree in Science at a Bachelors level should have the freedom to move to technology. Students will come to Science in a big way if they feel that all kind of openings is available. There are many areas where technology innovation is very important. We hope that Government will be generous in and accommodate it in the 11th Plan,'' he said.

Increasing the number of openings for students after Science might be one way of dealing with this problem of the lack of enthusiasm for the subject.