Class 10 is a major turning point in a student’s life. After the final exams, every student has to choose Science, Humanities or Commerce stream while joining Class 11. Till Class 10, all students had to study general subjects, but from Class 11, they have to choose the subjects and it would impact their lives forever.
At this stage of their lives, some students would have a clear idea about their goals, but the others may not have yet decided on the matter. Here is some guidance for youngsters to select the stream which suits them after Class 10.
Each student should choose the stream based on their aptitude, marks obtained in Class 10 and career goals. If this is not done, they could later regret. Apart from self-assessment, speak to parents, teachers and career experts before finalizing your choice.
Science stream most popular
In Kerala and also the country in general, students prefer the Science stream comprising Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Computer Science as there is a belief that these subjects offer more opportunities.
The two main Science streams are PCM (Physics, Chemistry, Maths) and PCB (Physics, Chemistry, Biology). Computer Science is also offered along with PCM. A language such as English is a compulsory subject. Lab work is another mandatory requirement of the Science stream.
A student selecting Science stream has to always set new goals and strive to achieve them.
The following are some tips from students who have scored high marks in Science:
• Decide on your long and short-term goals. On realizing each short-term goal, be inspired from it to proceed further.
• Become more aware of the advantages of learning science subjects. Try to learn how you can explore employment opportunities by pursuing Engineering, Allied courses and research. Speak to people working in these sectors and career guides.
• Chart a study schedule and time-table which balances academic and co-curricular activities and personal life during Class 11 and 12 which is the most crucial period of your life.
• Arrange your study materials, notes and assessments at an easily-accessible place. Balance preparations for entrance examinations along with studies for board exams.
The Maths advantage
Students who choose Maths as main subjects for Class 11 and 12 (Plus One, Plus Two) would have to take entrance and scholarship exams such as JEE (Main and Advanced for admissions to IIT, NIT), NATA (Architecture), KEAM (Kerala Engineering Architecture Medical Exam), IISER and KVPY.
Tackle minor setbacks, criticism and challenges confidently. Maintain a positive attitude. Believe in your own abilities. Derive energy from small victories to take up big tasks.
There are numerous employment options for students pursuing Maths, Physics and Chemistry. The major ones are:
• Traditional engineering: Branches such as Electrical, Electronics, Civil and Mechanical have great relevance even today. Meanwhile, Computer Science is offered as many sub-branches now.
• Architecture: Students having an aptitude for Science and Design can opt for Architecture, where scientific rules are applied to plan, design and construct buildings.
• Advanced Science: Students who are not interested in pursuing an engineering course can study Physics, Chemistry and Maths degree courses after Class 12. Higher studies in these subjects could take them to teaching, research, management of scientific labs and the corporate sector. For instance, Actuarial Science is a branch which analyses data in Insurance and Finance sectors and makes predictions about death rate, chances of accident and economic losses based on Mathematics and Statistics. These predictions are crucial in deciding insurance premiums, developing investment strategies and ensuring the stability of pension funds and other financial firms.
New and emerging technologies
• Biomedical/Biotechnology: This is an interdisciplinary field which could be studied as an engineering specialization as well as degree course. Under this course, the latest medical equipment and techniques are designed utilizing the principles of Maths, Engineering and Medicine.
• Robotics/Animation: This field deals with design, manufacture and programming of robots and automatic systems. Its relevance is increasing in the digital age and numerous job opportunities are expected to emerge in Industry 5.0, i.e., the Fifth Industrial Revolution.
• Nanotechnology: Experts in this field integrate electronics, energy, material science and medicine to create various applications.
• Astrophysics/Astronomy: Students who are interested in space and celestial objects can go for higher studies in these subjects to build a career.
• Data Science: Analysis of data has much relevance in the present times. Students having skills in Maths and analysis can choose a career in this field. They can work as data scientists and business analysis strategists.
• Sustainable Development/Environmental Technology courses: Several job opportunities await students who pursue these courses as the entire world is focusing on issues on such as sustainable development and protection of the environment. The students can implement environment management projects, energy systems, waste management projects and water body conservation programmes.
• Cyber Security: Engineering and regular degree courses are available. This field is crucial in view of the rising cyber-attacks and threats.
• Agriculture Technology: The main focus of this field is improving agricultural productivity, efficiency and sustainability by utilizing technology. Impact of farming on the environment could be reduced with Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and other technologies.
• Defence and Research: Students who have opted Maths as the main subject also can perform well in entrance exams to Defence and Research organisations, space research institutions and combined defence services. They can also shine in a career in these fields.
Interdisciplinary bachelors and masters programmes
These programmes combine Maths with other science subjects or humanities. Several Indian as well as foreign universities offer such courses for students who have cleared Class 12. Moreover, the New Education Policy of the Central government encourages such courses.
Importance of Maths
Apart from the above options, new fields will emerge in the future as science progresses. However, in order to shine in these careers, students should have skills in Maths and an interest in Physics and Chemistry. In fact, Maths is the most beautiful and robust creation. It is not surprising that the character Chacko in the Malayalam movie ‘Sphadikam’ commented, ‘Every movement in the world is based on Maths.’
However, students who do not have a liking for Maths need not entirely abandon science and choose humanities or commerce. They can select Biology.
(The author is a human resource development expert, corporate mentor and director of Cox Academy and Research Centre)