A sizeable section of students seeking admission to the engineering stream would have studied biology in their Plus Two course, particularly those who studied in the Kerala State syllabus schools.
After Class X those who seek admission in the science stream for Plus Two mainly opt for medicine or engineering.
There is a huge disparity in the seat availability of medicine and engineering. Due to this, majority of the students do not get admission in medicine and end up in the engineering stream.
The problem is that the students who have taken first group (maths, physics, chemistry and biology) in their Plus Two course, aspiring to become a doctor or an engineer, do not give due weightage to mathematics (which is the core of any engineering course) and never study computer science during their Plus Two course.
These students, when they join engineering course have to study with the students who would have opted for the fifth group (maths, physics, chemistry and computer science) in their Plus Two course. The students who come from the fifth group of the Plus Two course have an upper hand as they would have studied mathematics along with computer science instead of biology in their Plus Two course. It is well-known that computer science is very much required in engineering.
In short, the first group students of State syllabus who have biology instead of computer science feel overburdened due to the extra time needed to improve their knowledge in mathematics and computer science as compared to fifth group students of State syllabus.
The blame goes to the present system followed in the State schools. Based on a study of the 2011 prospectus of Kerala higher secondary centralised allotment process, it is seen that out of a total of 128 government and aided higher secondary schools in Ernakulam district, nearly 118 schools are offering first group and only 50 schools offer fifth group.
This means that, the students who aim to become only engineers are left with nearly 40 per cent less seats. As a result of this limited seat availability, these would-be engineers are forced to take first group instead of fifth group in their Plus Two course and study biology instead of computer science.
The blame goes to the improper seat proportion in Plus Two course as compared to the availability of seats in medicine and engineering. Hence there is a need to either convert some of the existing seats of first group to fifth group or increase the seats in fifth group in order to maintain a proper balance of seats in proportion to the available seats in medicine and engineering.
The scenario may be different in the case of CBSE and unaided higher secondary schools of Kerala, which are not included in this study due to unavailability of data.
Earlier, there was a clear distinction between a biology student and a mathematics student. The only advantage of students taking biology and mathematics together in their Plus Two is that they could opt for biomedical engineering and biotechnology courses in the engineering stream. But very few students opt for these courses due to poor job opportunity and limited number of seats in graduate and PG level.-hindu.com
K. C. JOSEPH
(The author is a professor at Rajagiri School Of Engineering and Technology, Kochi.)