National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) -based medical admissions and heavy syllabus for science subjects in revised syllabus had forced many students to opt for a commerce stream before the pandemic. In 2021-22, 5.5lakh students in state board opted for science in Class XI against 4.6lakh in 2019-20. Meanwhile, the number of students choosing commerce has come down to 2.69lakh in 2021-22 from 2.85lakh in 2019-20.
While the number of students joining vocational and arts streams remained more or less the same, the enrollment in Class XI has increased by around 69,000 in 2021-22 compared to 2019-20.
The interest in the science stream increased post-pandemic as it offers wider choices and there is an increase in demand for computer engineers, teachers said.
Many schools are planning to start extra sections for maths-computer science groups due to an increase in demand among students and parents for next year (2022-23).
V Vetrivel, a Class XI student from Shenoy Nagar, received a selected bio-maths group as it offers wider choices in higher education. “Due to the pandemic, we were not clear on the career options available for other groups. I also like physics and decided to join bio-maths,” he said.
Reuben Vijay, another student from Purasawalkam, got selected for the science stream anticipating more demand for medical related jobs post-pandemic. After the revision of the syllabus, students and teachers found the revised state board syllabus was heavy for science subjects.
G Jebadoss Thinakaran, a physics teacher in a city school, said the load of science group students has increased after syllabus revision for state board students.
“Many students were not able to cope with revised textbooks. So, more students have started to opt for other groups. It has changed with students becoming more creative during the pandemic and the science group offers them a variety of options,” he added.
P Perumalsamy, state president of the Tamil Nadu Post Graduate Teachers Association, said teachers and students are getting used to revised textbooks. “The fear of science textbooks has gone and it is resulting in more enrolment in the past two years,” he added.
Gayathri Sundararaman, a biology teacher, said the choice of stream goes with the job market trend and perspective of parents and children.
“A few years ago, even toppers wanted to take commerce due to a dip in engineering placements. Now, more students are joining bio-maths and maths-computer science groups due to the increase in job opportunities,” she said.