A profusion of options: Science, Management, Humanities, Social Science, A Level

The number and variety of +2 and bachelor-level courses available today represents a vast change from about a decade ago when choices were severely limited

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BINOD GHIMIRE
Swastik Gautam, who was among the 17,760 students who scored distinctions in the recently published SLC results, is currently looking for a suitable college where he can take up the Science stream. In order to familiarise himself with the rigours of 11th grade education, the 17- year-old from Dang has already completed a twomonth bridge course. Why dœs he want to study Science? “I want to be a medical doctor,” he says, “But if I don’t get selected for the MBBS course, I wouldn’t mind opting for engineering either.” He adds that a degree in Science would also offer more options when it comes to his bachelor’s course in terms of choosing other streams if he feels like it; a luxury that other faculties do not enjoy.

Catering to the needs of students like Gautam, large numbers of +2 colleges are cropping up every year, where Science is devoted particular attention. A majority of the higher secondary schools in the Valley offer courses in Science because it is the faculty of choice for 90 percent of the 40,000 students from all over the country who come here following the completion of their SLC.

College operators say that Management comes a close second in preference, followed by Humanities and Education, although the situation is reversed in colleges outside the Valley. Not too long ago things were different, but after the Higher Secondary Education Board (HSEB) changed its policy in the late 90s, wherein a multi-stream system replaced the single-stream, students had more choices in terms of subject selection. Divisions within Science, Management, Humanities, and Education courses were meant to offer students specialised education that would help them join universities.

Although there do exist subjects—like Computer Science and Mathematics—that are common to different faculties. The data at the HSEB shows that around 150 different subjects can be studied under the four different faculties, and the number is increasing every year. The Board has also recently introduced new options to the list, including Agriculture, Music, Applied Beauty, Floriculture, Human Value Education, General Law, Sanskrit, and Fine Arts, among others.

SCIENCE
Most students who take up Science do so aspiring to build a career in medicine or engineering. And gone are the days when they would have to join the General Science course during their bachelor’s degree because the competition was too fierce in getting chosen for an engineering or medical course. Today, attractive options are provided in plenty by different universities. “Students can now choose between courses like Information Technology, Medical Microbiology, and Public Health, as well as different paramedical courses, which also boast the same kind of scope that engineering and medicine do,” says SP Singh, CEO of Pentagon College. The various universities in the country are offering degrees like Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Public Health, Medical Laboratory Technology, Radiology Technology, Pharmacology, Pharmacy, and Ophthalmology. Also available are bachelor’s courses in Biotechnology and Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering, Human Biology, Biochemistry, Medical Microbiology, Environmental Management, and Computer Science. Likewise, local universities also offer bachelor’s qualifications in Homeopathic Medicine, Food Technology, and Dairy Technology.

MANAGEMENT
Management has seen a recent upsurge in interest among students, owing to the range of options that the course offers when it comes to the job market.


Companies are usually looking for level-headed business managers, and it is in these positions that Management students end up. They are also increasingly hired as independent consultants. “The number of Management students has risen with the availability of lucrative careers in chartered accountancy, hotel management, and bank management,” says Dipendra Bhandari, Chairman at Morgan International College. In fact, the number of chartered accountants that the country is producing is less than half of what the job market requires, and the same gœs for hotel managers who are increasingly in demand with the expansion of the tourism industry. This has brought about many +2 institutions focusing solely on Management. As for bachelor-level courses, besides Chartered Accountancy and Hotel Management, the four universities in the country have been offering rather popular four-year degrees in Business Administration, Business Studies, Travel and Tourism Management, and Business Management. Aside from these, there are also bachelor’s courses in Business Information System, Fashion Design, and Hospitality and Catering Management—a vast change compared to about a decade ago when options were limited to a single degree.

HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCE

A long-held belief in Nepali society that the most hardworking and promising students study Science, has been found to be slowly eroding in recent times. “People tend to dismiss those who opt for Humanities as being weak at studies,” says Prakriti Bhattarai, who wants to take up social work in the future. “But Humanities is just as nuanced as the rest of them.” Options currently available to Humanities students include Journalism, Literature, Law, Music, Dance, Philosophy, Psychology, Painting, Linguistics, Social Work, Fine Arts, and newly-introduced subjects like International Relations, Conflict Studies, and Interior Designing, among others. “No subject can be called ‘good’ or ‘bad’,” says Diwash Shakya, the principal of Pyramid College. “As long as one excels in one’s chosen field, there will be demand for their skills later on, whether that be in Science or Humanities.” A good student, he says, is one who has a clear vision of what he wants to do with his life. “This is why students must choose streams according to their interests and not because of parental or peer pressure,” Shakya adds. This explains why Humanities has been gaining ground in these last few years as more students have become attuned to their own aptitudes rather than what is expected of them.

A -LEVEL
(General Certification of Education), commonly referred to as the A-level, is a qualification offered by Cambridge University. This is a two-year course that is equivalent to the HSEB’s +2. The GCE is run under the Cambridge International Examination (CIE) Board, and forms a part of the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES), now known as Cambridge Assessment. Around 175 countries in the world have adopted the A-level thus far. While being globally-recognised, Cambridge syllabuses are also flexible in order to be tailored to fit local experiences—resulting in an interesting and highly-relevant course of study. The A-level focuses more on independent studying, analytical thinking, and problem solving, and practical work is given more priority. The course is based on a six-month semester system, as opposed to having to study for a whole year before taking your final exams like in the HSEB’s +2. Exams in the A-level are held twice a year, and results are published about six to seven weeks after the exam in the form of a Statement of Results, and the certificates are normally sent out about six weeks after the issue of results. The grade system, too, is different from that of the HSEB; you’re given a grade point average (GPA) instead of numbered marks and percentages. Students get an A, B, C, D, or an E based on their performance, where A, B, and C are recognised by Tribhuvan University as distinction, first division and second division respectively, and D and E are recognised as third division. At present, 31 colleges are providing A-level courses across the country.

+2 SUBJECT CHOICES
SCIENCE
Grade XI
> Physics
> Chemistry
> Biology
> Mathematics
> English
> Computer Science
> Agriculture

Grade XII
> Physics
> Chemistry
> Nepali
> Biology/Mathematics
> Additional Biology/Mathematics
> Computer Science
> Agriculture

MANAGEMENT
Grade XI
> Accountancy
> Economics
> OMSP
> BOOM
> Travel and Tourism
> Hotel Management
> Computer Science
> Mathematics
> Finance
> Cooperative Management

Grade XII
> Accountancy
> Economics
> OMSP
> BOOM
> Travel and Tourism
> Hotel Management
> Computer Science
> Mathematics
> Finance
> Cooperative Management
> Marketing
> Business Math

HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCE
Grade XI and XII
> Political Science
> Economics
> Home Science
> Sociology
> Population Studies
> Mass Communication
> Philosophy
> History
> Culture
> Music
> Dance
> Linguistics
> Psychology
> Nepali
> Maithali
> Newari
> Hindi
> Geography
> English
> French
> Japanese
> Urdu
> German
> Mathematics
> Rural Development
> General Law
> Human Value Education
> Environment Education
> Byakaran
> Jyotish
> Shastra
> Sathitya
> Veda
> Nitishastra
> Library and Information

source: Ghimire, Binod(2012),"A profusion of options", The Kathmandu Post,20 June 2012


photo: courtesy: Ravi Manandhar, The Kathmandu Post

2012-06-20 | EducateNepal

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