To find new takers for Basic Science courses, Chennai colleges are brainstorming new strategies  

However, few colleges think the path of revamping the Basic Science courses might not be easy. 
File photo of Ethiraj College | (Pic: Express)
File photo of Ethiraj College | (Pic: Express)

Worried over the scenario of the declining popularity of Basic Science courses, the Arts and Science colleges in Chennai are devising new strategies to renew the interest of students towards these courses. 

While a few colleges are trying to combine Pure Science courses like Math, Physics and Chemistry with new-age courses to attract students, a few others are trying to revamp the syllabus and course structure by including global internships and project work to make these courses more interesting and employable. 

This is what the new courses look like
Ethiraj College for Women has introduced a new course BSc Math with Data Science and currently admissions are underway for this course. The BSc Math with Data Science was conceptualised last year by the college after they struggled to fill even 50% of their seats in BSc Math in the self-financing category. 

"We realised it is the need of the hour to incorporate new age courses like Data Science with Math to keep the interest of students intact in the course. We applied for the necessary approval to start BSc Math with Data Science last year and we received the approval a month ago. The course will have 60 seats this year," said Principal of Ethiraj, Uma Gowrie. 

Why the struggle?
The scenario is such that the majority of the Arts and Science colleges in the city are struggling to fill their seats in Basic Science streams and the worst affected is the Math stream. Renowned private colleges in the city have not managed to fill even 50% of seats in BSc Math subject. 

According to academicians, learning loss during a pandemic, lack of job opportunities in Basic Science courses and rising placements in Engineering in the past few years has taken the sheen out of Pure Science courses. And many feel to solve the problem, a dedicated approach is required. 

Another approach 
Madras Christian College (MCC) has plans to realign the Basic Science courses curriculum as per the present-day industry needs by including internships, immersive learning experiences and global engagement. The changes will be made from next year, shared Principal Paul Wilson. 

"We need to think of repurposing, realigning and repositioning the curriculum and pedagogy mapping the same with the needs for the millennial STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education. We have plans to introduce interdisciplinary domains to augment employability with representative domains such as big data mining, machine learning, software testing, analysis and pattern recognition in Basic Science courses," said Wilson. 

However, few colleges think the path of revamping the Basic Science courses might not be easy. 

"The state government has plans to introduce a common syllabus for all universities and Arts and Science colleges. I really don't know amid all this, how colleges can individually revamp the syllabus. All stakeholders need to sit together and chalk out a blueprint to regain the popularity of basic science courses," said MG Ragunathan, Principal of Guru Nanak College.

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