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Medicine, engineering remains most popular career aspirations of Indian students: survey

India compares well to developed nations in the 2018 General Education Census which sheds light on life in schools and career choices of students worldwide

By: Education Desk | New Delhi | Updated: November 23, 2018 2:46:13 pm
cambridge survey, school admission, indian student India and China have the highest number of students taking extra classes. Express photo by Pavan Khengre (Representational image)

Indian students cram more activities into their schedules than their peers with almost two-thirds of them take extra tuition for key subjects after school. In the 10 countries surveyed, 72 per cent Indian students participate in extra-curricular activities and 74 per cent say they play sports regularly in school. The survey also highlights the children spent more time doing homework, with 40 per cent spending two-four hours on their homework every day while a good 37 per cent spend the same time over the weekend too.

The study, released today, gives insight into what life is like in schools around the world today for students and their teachers. The survey was conducted with almost 20,000 teachers and students around the world, including 4400 teachers and 3800 students across India.

One of the interesting finds is a change in culture and teaching methods in Indian schools. This is a testament to the fact that schools are moving from a rote learning culture to one that focuses on the development of the whole child, which in turn will help students succeed in their professional endeavours. The census also reveals that Indian students are not only driven academically but also make use of other learning opportunities to pursue their own interests and passions.

Interestingly, while the survey shows a positive shift in the teaching culture in Indian schools, it also cements the country’s long-held fascination with engineering and medical careers.

The key findings from the survey are:

Indian students take more extra classes and do more extra-curricular activities than other countries surveyed

— India and China have the highest number of students taking extra classes (58 per cent).

— Those taking extra lessons/tutoring mainly take Maths (74 per cent ), Physics (64 per cent ) and Chemistry (62 per cent ).

Indian students are the most active in the world when it comes to extra-curricular activities (72 per cent)
— Only 11 per cent of Indian students said they don’t take part in any extra-curricular clubs or activities.

— Debating is the most popular extracurricular activity (36 per cent), followed by science club (28 per cent), art (25 per cent) and book club (22 per cent).

— About 74 per cent play sports regularly with badminton (37 per cent), football (30 per cent) and cricket (30 per cent) as top choices.

Indian parents have a keen interest in their child’s education

— As many as 66 per cent of Indian students say their parents ask about their school day, and over half say their parents attend school events.
— A total of 41 per cent help with the parent-teacher association – this is the highest proportion of any country globally.

— Medicine and engineering are the most popular career aspirations of Indian students, and schools are supporting them to achieve these ambitions by providing good support services

— Twenty-three per cent Indian students say they want to be a doctor/dentist, 23 per cent an engineer and 16 per cent a software engineer – more students in India said the latter than any other country surveyed. India also has the highest number of students who said they would like to be scientists (8 per cent). Indian schools invest in good career advice and health services to help students to achieve their ambitions:

— Seven out of 10 (73 per cent) teachers in India say their school provides careers advice/counselling
Indian teachers also report the highest levels of health care (55 per cent) and mental health care (35 per cent) provision of all the countries surveyed.

Indian teachers use a blackboard in the classroom more than any other country surveyed, however, use of smart boards is becoming increasingly popular

— While blackboards are used in 56 per cent of classrooms according to teachers surveyed, technology is also catching up as the use of smart boards/interactive white boards (43 per cent) is on par with developed countries

Indian teachers are the least pressured globally to ensure students perform well in exams, with just 36 per cent reporting pressure.
— Forty two per cent said they have good professional opportunities and 67% find teaching to be a rewarding career
— However, when it comes to preparing students for exams, Indian teachers are amongst the most dedicated in the world.
— The majority of teachers surveyed in India say they help their students prepare for exams by teaching them to respond to different types of questions (73 per cent). The second-most common way of offering exam help is to show their students how to plan their time in an exam (68 per cent).
— Indian teachers are also the most likely globally to offer study periods for revision (50 per cent) and to teach students how to create personal revision timetables (42 per cent)
— About 33 per cent of teachers in India say their students take multiple mock exams and a final year-end exam
26 per cent say their students take two full sets of exams
— Students achievements are celebrated very well in Indian schools
— Most teachers in India say that academic performance is rewarded through trophies and certificates (60 per cent)
Two in five (40 per cent) also say students receive a special note on their report card

Ruchira Ghosh, Regional Director South Asia, Cambridge International, said: “A globalised world means there are more opportunities for students today than in any other time in history. While this has clear benefits, it also means Indian students are investing in developing their knowledge and skills outside the classroom through extra-curricular activities and use supplementary learning resources. Indian teachers are also very dedicated to helping students perform to their best abilities and come top in the survey for their investment in time preparing students well for exams.”

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