Science students fresh out of school, who felt that professional courses were beyond their means, grabbed the opportunity to study anything other than the basic sciences. “Microbiology sounded like music when compared to BSc botany or zoology,” said Sophia Chandran, who passed out of school in 2000.
Only after signing up for the course did Sophia realize that she had to continue her education for at least five years to be a successful microbiologist.
“When my parents understood this fact they couldn’t wait to get me married off because they felt that I would become too old by the time I completed my studies. But it was a fun course for somebody who liked biology,” said Sophia.
Colleges say they receive applications only in single digits for these courses. Academics cited pressure to get a job as the predominant reason for such courses going out of fashion. College heads said with only a few students having the inclination and patience to pursue research, a basic science course made more sense for those wanting a short cut to a job.
“Most students want to start earning soon after they graduate or at least see their career shaping up so they relate education to the job market. When they find that they are not readily employable, they feel that it’s not the right choice,” said M K Malathi, principal of Guru Shree Shantivijai Jain College for Women.
University of Madras vicechancellor G Thiruvasagam said colleges were receiving applications in single digits for these courses and their resources were being drained unnecessarily because they had to maintain facilities for these courses that were being taken up only by applicants who did not have enough marks to get into their first choice of course.