Science, the stream once coveted and pursued by many students, may have lost quite a bit of its sheen, reveals an analysis of the recently-concluded first-year junior college (FYJC) admission figures. While many seats in the science stream were vacant, almost all of the seats in commerce were taken, strengthening a trend that has emerged in the last couple of years. The numbers reveal that for students, the promise of new careers in business and industry may be more appealing than those in traditional research, medicine and engineering.
In mid-October, the office of the deputy director of education (DyDE), which is in charge of the admission process, declared the final round of admissions for FYJC and the final FYJC admission figures were made available recently.
According to the figures shared by DyDE, a total of 97,435 seats were available for admissions this year, of which 66,692 seats were taken, while as many as 30,743 seats found no takers.
Significantly, about 40 per cent of seats in the science stream remained vacant. Of the 39,810 seats available for admissions in science faculty, only 24,089 seats were filled, while 15,721 seats remained vacant. The number of vacant seats in the commerce stream, however, was almost one-third of this. Of the 25,845 seats, over 20,000 were filled, leaving 5,310 empty seats.
This trend has emerged over the last couple of years, confirmed DyDE officials, adding that one of the reasons for the many vacant seats in the science stream was that every year, new junior colleges and new divisions receive approvals, and the total number of seats goes up.
Meenakshi Raut, deputy director of education, Pune, agreed that more students were veering towards commerce. “Till a couple of years ago, medical and engineering were the most sought after courses, that’s why there was a rush to get admission in the science stream…but in the last couple of years, commerce and even Arts (English) streams took over. In fact, last year, barely any seat was left vacant in the commerce and arts faculties, especially in aided colleges, while in the science stream, even aided seats that have lower fees remained vacant,” she said.
Commerce stream may be an attractive prospect because students feel it will help them get a job faster, said Raut. “New career opportunities are now in, for example jobs pertaining to GST and other tax systems. Also, as entrance examinations have been nationalised, securing seats in medical or engineering courses has become tougher and it takes longer to prepare for them,” she said.