So lets put ourselves in the shoes of a 9th or 10th std student and try to understand what are the choices they have in front of them and how they make their decisions on the stream to choose after 10th std.
11th std students have to choose between Science, Arts and Commerce streams. To make things simpler, lets say Science vs Non-Science.
When we do these sessions for 9th and 10th students we always start with an anonymous feedback from students. We ask them to select a specific stream that they plan to opt for in 11th and give reasons for it. We ask them to go anonymous so they can be frank about the reasons for choosing the stream.
Here we list out the 3 categories of feedback
- Students opting for science with reasons
- Students not opting for science with reasons
- Students who have not yet decided
Lets try to understand why some students want to choose science
- They like science subjects (physics chemistry, biology, maths) even though they dont score very well.
- They score well in science and feel confident that they can do well in science
- They have a role model in the family who is an engineer or doctor.
- They feel that engineering and medical are the only careers that are successful
- They feel the society will respect them only if they study science
- Their parents have told them to study science
Now lets see why some students do not want to choose science
- want to escape the Engineering and Medical rat race
- feel that science is too technical and mathematical which they find difficult
- dont want to end up in IT after studying science
- want to do something different
- like science but feel the competition overwhelms them
- they are good in arts and want to pursue arts
And then there are students who have not yet decided
- want more options
- feel non-science careers have no scope
- neither want to do engineering nor CA
- still exploring their interests
All the above reasons are misconceptions in the minds of students. So how do we clear those misconceptions?
By explaining to students that
- Engineering & medical are just one small subset of science careers. There are many other careers in science such as research, science communication, science policy, Patent/IP law etc
- Many of the careers in science other than engineering do not require strong math skills. Even if required you can learn them at your own pace
- It is up to the student to choose careers other than IT. Students choose IT when they dont have information on other careers
- Many careers in science such as Patent/IP, Science Communication and Science Policy are different careers.
- Parents are concerned about you. If you convince them with proper research they will listen.
Why do students avoid non-science streams like commerce or arts
- feel CA is the only option for commerce and Arts is just a hobby not a career
- society will look down upon them as mediocre students who couldnt get science stream
- Arts careers require good drawing or painting skills
- Taking up Commerce or Arts means they can never go back to science later.
Again, all of the above are misconceptions which can be clarified vy explaining that
- Non-Science students can take up Literature, Economics, Psychology, Statistics, Financial Analysis, Actuary and many other careers
- All the careers above are as competitive if not more than Engineering and Medical.
- Arts careers can be divided into Fine Arts and Liberal Arts. Fine Arts students good in sketching can choose design/illustration careers while liberal arts students can get well rounded skills across science and non-science to work in organizations as a part of the business side complementing the technical side (engineering).
- Liberal Arts careers allow students to work in science fields even if they did not select science in 11th std.
So as you can see, the purpose of this workshop is for students to
- choose science if you like science out of curiosity
- choose arts if you feel you are more creative not just in fine arts but also in the art of speaking or communicating ideas (liberal arts)
- choose commerce if you want to focus more on the bigger picture of how an organization functions as a business
- remember that you can always work in any of the streams no matter what stream you choose in 11th.
- understand that the real world needs people from all the above streams . An engineer cannot run a business wihout a commerce or liberal arts professional.