Undergraduate (UG) courses, which lay the foundation for higher studies, must be broad-based.Specialised courses at the UG or school level are damaging. For example, without learning the basics of biology, how can one pursue specialised subjects like bioinformatics or biotechnology?
Even the general B. Sc. courses at most universities and colleges do not allow students to study both maths and biology. This is a serious disadvantage for research. All students need not study for a Bachelor’s degree since neither are all of them interested in it nor can they find jobs. We need training that can help students earn a livelihood.Instead of specialised courses, vocational courses generating self employment are essential. The academic community and regulatory authorities must work to overhaul the system. Parents need to let children make their decisions about the careers they like.
Compared to a specialized course, does a Bachelor’s degree in a core discipline allow you to do much more with the `ingredients’ later?
In 2009, the Indian National Science Academy, Indian Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Sciences prepared a joint document about restructuring of post-school education to provide broad-based learning so that the first one or two years of BSc courses teach the basics of all pure sciences such as physics, chemistry, biology, maths and earth sciences. It recommended stopping all specialised courses offered by schools and colleges. This report was provided to the Ministry of Human Resource Development, University Grants Commission and Planning Commission.
There are no must-dos when it comes to planning a career -no special subjects nor courses or institutes that will guarantee success. What is essential is to know what you do best and the study route that will enable you to use that knowledge to reach your goal. Planning for the future involves more than just knowing how to ace the JEE or a host of other competitive tests and opting for a course depending on your score. It is becoming increasingly clear in today’s competitive world that success comes from identifying one’s goals and working towards them. Once you have an idea about what you want to do in life, you can start thinking about the kind of after-school study you need to do.
When sure about your career choice, you can directly begin a professional or specialised course of study. If not, a general Bachelor’s degree in a subject of interest could be the best option.The third choice could be to take up a vocational course depending on the kind of work that appeals to you, while pursuing a degree through correspondence, so that you have the option of further study should the need arise.
Every degree programme gives you knowledge of the subject, leading to a related career as well as certain transferable skills creative and analytical thinking, decision-making, oral and written communication skills -that you can use for any number of other careers. Therefore, before diving into any particular specialised course of study or college, you need to develop a career plan, by identifying your interests and abilities and the kind of jobs best suited to you.
Chalk out your career path first
Students should take a decision regarding the course depending on their interest, aptitude and the career path that they have chalked out for themselves. While traditional degree courses allow students to pursue their hobbies as well as other professional courses, students pursuing these courses have to wait until their final year to pursue a specialisation. Self-financed courses, on the other hand, give students a better exposure and widen their scope for employment. Students study a variety of subjects over six semesters. This gives them an edge over students pursuing traditional degree courses.Students go on field visits, attend lectures by industry experts, seminars, workshops and debates, inter-college festivals, etc. These courses instil confidence in students to interact on public platforms and help them gain practical knowledge of the subject. They equip students with the skills required to become future entrepreneurs and find good job opportunities.
Get a good grounding
Excessive specialisation should be avoided at an early stage of one’s academic journey as it leads to a weak understanding of the foundations of the sciences. It limits the student’s vision and makes it much more difficult for himher to study further. Also, since the subject matter at the basic level has grown over the past few decades, it makes sense to devote the undergraduate years to acquiring a good grounding in the basics, followed by a specialisation later. For those who wish to continue in science, be it in teaching, research or both, once again a reasonable exposure to and understanding of the basics of two or more allied areas, or even a combination of physical sciences and life sciences, is invaluable. Such broad exposure can be most exciting and intellectually satisfying.
At least for those students who are attracted by such prospects, there should be institutions and opportunities of reasonable quality that offer these options. This holds true for other streams like humanities as well.