Options galore after Class 10; tips to select the right course here

Representational Image. Photo: iStock/ Deepak Sethi

Students who passed the Class 10 examinations are at a key juncture in life. While students need to study all subjects till Class 10, they have to learn only a few subjects of their liking upon joining the higher secondary course. Maximum care should be given while selecting the optional subjects for Class X1 (Plus One). A mistake here cannot be rectified later.

One has to choose the optional subjects in Plus One from nearly 40 combinations having four subjects each.

Here are the main options available:

• Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry

• Biology, Physics, Chemistry

• Humanities subjects like History, Economics, Political Science, and Psychology

• Commerce (that which includes Maths and the other one)

The above one is not the complete list of optional subjects. In short, one can select four optional subjects. What should be the fourth subject to be selected in the first two categories? Some go for Computer Science.

Computer Science

Consider the following points before choosing Computer Science:

• Computer learning can be done outside the school, too. But only through school can one study Biology and Mathematics and obtain the qualification.

• By choosing Computer, one loses the opportunity to study Biology/Mathematics.

• Even if one studies Computer at Plus Two level, it is not of a high level. There is no need to study Computer at Plus Two level to join courses to attain computer expertise.

• One can’t stay in the field with the computer knowledge obtained at Plus Two level.

The advantage of Science stream

Those who opt for Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology at the expense of Computer Science at the Plus Two level will get several good opportunities for higher studies. Here are the choices available to them:

• Physical Science subjects (Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Statistics), Engineering, Technology, Architecture

• Biological Science subjects (Botany, Zoology, Microbiology, Biochemistry), Medicine, Dental surgery, nursing, medical lab technology, pharmacy, Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Forestry, Fisheries Science, Sericulture, Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Siddha, and the like

• Humanities subjects like History, Economics, Politics, etc.

• Commerce

• Professional courses including Hotel Management, Law, Company Secretaryship, Chartered Accountancy, Cost Accountancy, and Fashion designing

Demerit of Science stream without Biology

Those who select Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Computer Science as optional subjects cannot study Biology. Hence, they can’t later opt for any courses in the Biological Science, Medicine, Paramedical, Agricultural, and Veterinary sectors. However, those who want to consider only the Physical Science subjects, Engineering, Technology, and the common subjects that any Plus Two student can elect when it comes to higher studies can leave out Biology and opt for Computer Science instead.

Similarly, those who don’t like Physical Science subjects, Engineering, Architecture, and the like can leave out Mathematics and opt for Computer Science or any other optional subject.

However, keep one thing in mind: those who are about to join Plus One are having an age of only 16 years, and there is every chance their opinions may change later.

The advantage of Mathematics

It’s not necessary that if a student qualifies for any branch, including professional courses, they should get jobs in the particular sector itself. Many think differently when it comes to jobs. For instance, many who studied Engineering become bank officers. However, selection tests for admission to Management courses and to posts like Officer/Assistant in banks and insurance companies, besides those including clerical posts in State and Central Governments mainly comprise Quantitative Aptitude and Numerical Ability questions.

While it’s generally said these questions are of high school standard, those who studied the subject till Plus Two will get an advantage in cracking them. This edge is crucial in competitive examinations where even one mark decides the qualification and non-qualification of candidates.

Another thing to mention here is that if you are interested in becoming a pilot, then it’s mandatory that you should have studied Mathematics and Physics at the Plus-Two level. Also remember, there are many jobs in the Navy and the Air Force solely for those who have studied Mathematics and Physics.

Humanities if Science is omitted altogether

Many students who don’t elect a single Science subject during their Plus One admission, opt for Humanities subjects like Commerce, History, Economics and Political Science as elective ones. These streams are suitable for students having no interest in Science. But they should keep one thing in mind: when they reach the degree level for higher studies, they can’t choose any Science subject or professional branches like Engineering and Medicine.

On the other hand, those who have studied Science subjects in Plus Two can opt for Commerce or any Humanities courses at the degree level. In short, it’s similar to one-way traffic. Science students can opt for Commerce or Humanities subjects later but those who study Commerce or Humanities subjects in Plus Two can’t pursue courses with Science subjects thereafter.

Commerce stream

By electing Commerce for Plus Two, one can aim for excellent finance professional courses like Company Secretary, Chartered/Cost /Management Accountant, Chartered Financial Analyst, Credit Analyst and Investment Planner among others.

• Those brilliant students who excel after electing Humanities subjects, including Languages, have many rewarding careers to choose from, including Journalism, Mass Communication, Public Relations, Advertising, Civil Service, Publication, Archeology, Archives, Teaching, and Research.

• Those electing Journalism and Communicative English can enter into the Journalism (Print/Electronics) field.

• Those who like Statistics can eye fields like Actuarial Science, Risk Management, Quality Control, Business Intelligence, and Financial Analysis.

• Psychology students can make their first step to becoming Clinical Psychologists.

• For those opting for Home Science can eye to become Food Scientists, Food Analysts, Nutritionists, and Dieticians among others. They can also enter into sectors like Food Preservation in Hotel Industry, Dress Making, Textile Design, and Mother-Child Development activities. But for all these, qualifying just the Plus Two is not enough. They have to excel in suitable higher studies courses as well.

Other possibilities

Besides the usual Plus Two courses, there are certain special ones that one can select for Higher Secondary studies. They are equivalent to Plus Two and have additional benefits.

• Vocational Higher Secondary Courses: Besides the general Plus Two subjects, the students can learn a job-oriented subject as well.

• Technical Higher Secondary Courses: Technical subjects are taught along with physical science subjects.

However, the institutes offering the above two special courses are fewer when compared to normal Higher Secondary schools.

After passing out the Class 10 examinations, students can also opt for the following courses other than the higher secondary Plus One:

• Polytechnic college diploma: a three-year diploma course (Electronics, Computer Science, Electrical, Chemical, Civil, Mechanical, Textile). The diploma holders can obtain B Tech through a lateral entry or part-time learning.

• ITI courses: Job-oriented trades like Welding, Electrician, and Motor Mechanic.

· Foodcraft courses: A 12-month course with high employment prospectives.

• Computer data entry

• Engineering certificate courses

• Vessel Navigator, Marine Fitter courses held by the Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training, Kochi.

• Certain courses run by the Apparel Training and Design centres under the control of the Union Textile Ministry.

• Fashion Design and Garment Technology programme under Kerala Government Technical Examination (KGTE) scheme. (42 government institutes offer Garment Designing courses.)

• Secretarial Practice: A two-year duration course. (Seventeen government commercial institutes offer the course).

Choose wisely

Make an apt stream choice for each student, keeping the above factors in mind. There is no such general course that suits all the students. The various factors that need to be considered in the case of each student should be understood before deciding on the aptest course for him/her. The most important factor while choosing a course is the aptitude of students.

Parents will have a general idea of the same in their wards. There are even internet sites to help find this. We have to also consider various other factors like the learning capability of the student, the financial situation of the family, possibilities for higher studies, course duration, quality of the institute, distance to the institute, gender difference, the market value of the course, and the scope of getting a good job.

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