This year, again, Tamil Nadu students choose commerce, computer science streams in college over pure sciences

College principals say that since the pandemic, the demand for mathematics, chemistry and botany has gone down as students believe job prospects after pursuing computer science, data science or commerce, are higher

May 20, 2023 03:24 pm | Updated 04:05 pm IST - CHENNAI

Commerce streams generally get a very high number of applications. File photograph used for representational purposes only

Commerce streams generally get a very high number of applications. File photograph used for representational purposes only | Photo Credit: JOTHI RAMALINGAM B

The recently-announced class 12 board examination results have revealed that this, year there were fewer centums in science subjects, compared to previous years. Though full scores, in general, are a rarity in pure sciences, the trend of fewer candidates apply for physics, chemistry and mathematics is worrying, say experts. Students now prefer computer science or allied courses, as they perceive that job prospects with these subjects are brighter, say college administrators.

D.G. Vaishnav College’s principal, Santhosh Baboo, said of late, students preferred computer science and data science or computer applications. Maths, physics, chemistry and botany rank lower in their choices.

Women’s Christian College principal Lillian Jasper said more students applied for science courses, but not mathematics. “During the COVID-19 pandemic since classes were held online, students were worried about taking mathematics. They were not too sure about concepts. We had no trouble [in filling seats] in physics, chemistry, botany and zoology,” she said. “In our college, physics and chemistry are more popular. Usually, in these subjects the cut-off is very high,” she added. However, they are never as high as in the commerce stream where 30 - 40 students would seek admission with full scores.

At Madras Christian College, B.Sc. Physics has received 542 applications and is the most sought after, followed by chemistry with 511 applications received. Mathematics, with 337 applications, had the least number of applicants as of Thursday, said principal P. Wilson. While 50% of candidates were for B.Com in the self-financing stream, the three streams of B.Com topped the list, receiving 41% of the total applications. A total of 5,470 candidates have applied in the aided stream, and 13,401 in the SF stream. As many as 2,449 candidates applied for BCA and 1,474 for B.Sc. Computer Science while 1,527 wanted to study BBA, Mr. Wilson said.

It is no different in tier-2 cities. Arockiyasami Xavier, principal of St. Joseph’s College, Tiruchi, said mathematics and physics were not favoured post-COVID. “More students want to take up Computer Science. But recruiters have shown no particular preference for CS. They tend to choose students from any stream,” he said, adding: “The students are not aware of the scope of the courses. I hear that even at the school level, fewer students take mathematics. We have seen this trend over the past five, six years.”

S. Thirumagan, principal of Hindustan Arts and Science College, echoed the same sentiments. Self-financing colleges receive more applications for social sciences and arts streams and they do not offer pure science programmes, he said. A mathematics teacher by training, Mr. Thirumagan said last year, in his college, of the 50 seats in his department only 21 were filled. “If we call for applicants for [faculty] vacancies, we get very few applications. Research is also losing out,” he rued.

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