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There's no doubt about the ardour for engineering and medicine in Tamil Nadu. Nearly 15,000 students bought application forms for the single window counselling to engineering colleges on Thursday, 24th May, 2012 two days after the class 12 results were out. Schools are opening only science sections for higher secondary students with a maths-physics-chemistry-computer science or a maths-physics-chemistry-biology option. The only alternative, if any, is the commerce group. Other vocational groups have been given a silent burial in many institutions.
"In Chennai, there is some awareness of alternative options, but in the districts parents believe that if their child becomes an engineer or a doctor they strike gold, else they become paupers," said educational consultant K R Maalathi. With little information about options other than engineering or medicine, students tend to think that humanities or vocational courses are for people with poor intellect and avoid them, she added. Selection to a science group is based on marks.Though the high court has directed schools not to set cut-off marks for admission to class 11, it is accepted that a student with 90% will get a science group, whereas one with 70-80% can only get a commerce seat whether he/ she enjoys the subject or not. This forces many with 80% to travel far distances to a school allowing them to pursue science. "Only some government schools still have subjects like history, geography, advanced Tamil or Indian culture. Many schools don't want to waste resources on these courses," said P. B. Prince Gajendra Babu, general secretary, State Platform for Common School System.Schools say it only makes sense to offer courses in demand. "The number of students picking commerce is small, so not all schools in the neighbourhood need to offer it. Unless there are enough takers there is no point in offering the subject," said Shree Niketan Matriculation Higher Secondary School correspondent P Vishnu Charan. Supply must meet demand, but for those like Narendiran Rajkumar, a class 12 student who wants to become a copy editor and content developer, it is a handicap. "I want to take up communicative English, but no school in my area offers it. There's no choice in a good school for a student who doesn't want to study science, mathematics or commerce," Narendiran said.
Courtesy: Times of India
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