Why does stream selection after class X varies in each state



By Aditya Wadhawan
In a recent study conducted by Education Ministry, Science, and Humanities streams have emerged as the most preferred streams among the students in the country, whereas the Commerce stream has noticed stagnation with only 14% of students opting for it in the past decade.
The study was based on class X and XII board exam results which pointed to the significant disparities in stream preferences among different states. A handful of 2% of students in southern states like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana opted for the Humanities stream, whereas in states like Tripura and Gujarat, this figure rose to over 82%. More than 70% of students in Punjab and Rajasthan opted for Humanities. Contrastingly, more than 60% of students opted to pursue their career in Science in states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Tamil Nadu after passing out of class XII, but there are fewer takers of the Science stream in states like Punjab, Haryana, and Assam where about 17% of students opted for it.
Speaking to Education Times, Biswajit Saha, director, CBSE, says, “As far as the selection of a stream by students is concerned, it varies across different states as per the context although CBSE does not promote streamlining as it offers flexibility to school and students in choosing any subject combinations in classes XI and XII. In some situations, the selection of the stream by students depends upon the availability of the subjects in a school that is located in a particular state. However, in some cases despite the availability of the subject and teachers, students do not opt for that particular stream. The presence of a suitable college in a particular location also prompts the student to opt for a stream after class X.”
“In the last decade, a substantial number of engineering colleges have been set up in states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Maharashtra. Half of the engineering colleges in the country are located in these five states. Many students in southern India opt for the Science stream after class X because becoming an engineer is a part of the family tradition in Southern states. In the recent past, many professional and technical colleges have also come up in Northern and Eastern states like UP, MP, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Odisha. The social trend of pursuing Engineering and medical education has escalated across the country in the last decade. Also, for the past 15-20 years, more girls alongside boys have started to pursue Engineering, Medicine, Design, Law, Management and Hospitality as career options,” says Saha.
“As far as the Humanities is concerned, an emerging trend has come to light for the past some years where students have begun to opt for the stream with Maths as an optional subject due to the multidisciplinary approach of education recommended by NEP 2020. More students are also opting for the Humanities stream as there is no practical component related to the stream. Also, almost all the government-run undergraduate colleges in the country offer graduation in subjects related to the Humanities stream. In the last 30-40 years, most graduates and post-graduates have been recorded in the Humanities stream. One reason for this is that good quality Humanities teachers are readily available across the country,” explains Saha.
Skand Bali, principal, the Hyderabad Public School, Hyderabad, says, “These trends indicate that there has been a regular shift in the thinking of parents as they do not force their children to opt for a particular stream. Moreover, the schools have the ability to expand the limits of STEM education and application. These days Science and Humanities classes are not just theoretical anymore and students are engaged in discussions and are encouraged to develop practical skills. Also, there has been a rising market interest in Liberal Arts graduates which comes after a decade-long decline in enrolment in the Humanities stream compared to growth in Science-related disciplines. Arts graduates possess qualities like problem-solving and communication skills which are prerequisites to succeed in the 21st century. There exist some lucrative career options related to the field of Arts which are Advertising, Social Work, Journalism, Photography, and designing that are gaining ground in India.”
“It is important to note that cultural and societal influences play a significant role in shaping educational preferences,” adds Bali.


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