It’s quite shocking that, 83% of students in our country are aware and target one of the traditional 7 career options that include Engineering, Medicine, Management, Chartered Accountancy, Civil Services, Computer Application and Law. This figure raises a question as to why when we are at the dawn of a different information age, with so many career options for students, parents still want their children to pursue the same conventional careers.
Today, there are hundreds of courses that align more with the mindset of us Gen-Y kids, and freely allow us to merge our passion and profession. It has been the humanities and social sciences careers that have been ignored by the generation jostling towards top engineering and medical colleges. However, things are changing rapidly. Today, there are umpteen options available in social sciences and humanities that students can choose from.
THE RISING INTEREST IN SOCIAL SCIENCES
The domain of social sciences is more dynamic and evolving than any other. There are many factors that contribute to the ever shifting and pragmatically growing nature of the subjects. One such parameter is that the world today is coming close and to help integration of businesses, communities and nations, one needs to have skills which are multifaceted and find multiple applications. And that’s exactly why social science students learn to think creatively and critically, reason and ask questions, and design and deliver holistic solutions.
Another key reason behind the rising interest towards Social Sciences & Humanities, is the emerging emphasis on practical learning versus theoretical learning. The graduates of Humanities and Social Science have unique skills which find strong preference in the job market.
India is now evolving from a developing country stage and with increasing population, we are now understanding the importance of studying human behaviour, social relationships, social work and how to improve in these areas. Students desire learning, more than just to technology & sciences, for there is a deep seated need to understand the social framework, in order to progress. This has led to more students opting for the subject humanities has to offer. Without humanities, there can never be an actual raise in people’s standards of living. That is another reason why humanities have become more popular.
ENGINEERING VERSUS HUMANITIES: FACTS SAY IT ALL
Like any global economy, India also witnessed its phases of boom in the industrial sector and saw increasing demand of engineers. For decades it has been a go-to profession and has seen huge growth in the number of colleges providing engineering degrees. Today over 1.5 million engineers are graduating every year but unfortunately only 20% of them are employable. Right now India is producing more engineers, than U.S and China taken together but the average salaries reveal an interesting story. Average salary of an engineer is 30k-45k but if you pass out from a tier 2 private college then you have to settle for 13k-20k which in most cases does not create the ROI of the 4 years’ education cost.
On the other hand, if you look at the social science domain, the story is quite contrary. Over the last few years this domain has generated significant employment and has widened the scope for the students to select the area of their interest. The increasing job opportunities is one of the major reasons for the students to shift. The social science domain provides the freedom to an individual to choose their area of interest and follow their dreams. The society has become much more open and accepting. Now the so called “arts” courses are not tagged as “plain BA” and goes much beyond. The fee of the courses are quite less and the returns are quite attractive.
THE SCOPE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES
The domains of social sciences are very wide. Students and parents both understand that subjects like psychology, economics, geography, political science are required in a large number of settings, be it teaching, research or working in a corporate setting. This knowledge gives them an edge over other fields like engineering and medicine.
The increasing complexity of the world issues have created an exigency for taking an overall perspective, instead of a discipline centric one. Theorists from diverse disciplines, including the sciences, are beginning to understand the importance of adopting an unbiased view when understanding the complexities of different social, cultural and political issues. Sensitization towards the social scientific point of view is thus expanding.
There was a time when social sciences were considered a feminine field. But in recent times, this mindset has also changed which has led to an increase in interest in the humanities subjects. More and more males are opting for it as they realize that social sciences hold great potential.
Interestingly, Social Sciences and Social Work students, today, are offered significantly greater challenges in the course of their education and work (as compared to other programs) that vastly contributes to their personal development, and hone their skills and are able to solve complex challenges. Moving ahead with a positive outlook to explore the domain, students are looking at subjects such as Political Science, History, Psychology, Geography, Sociology, English, Philosophy, etc. which have been widely pursued for a long time and find base in almost all reputed Universities in India and abroad.
Graduates find opportunities to work across industries, academia, publishing, research, teaching and government and policy making. Besides, an undergraduate degree in one of these subjects opens horizons to experiment with unconventional subjects while pursuing Masters and easily create a multi-disciplinary approach.
A lot of people who wish to make a career in performing arts, applied arts or sports also choose the social sciences and side by side continue with their professional training. One can also look at a rewarding career in psychology, design journalism and mass communication, print and electronic media and other related sectors.
THE TRENDING CAREER AVENUE
Out of all the career options in Humanities and Social Sciences, the most upcoming trend in India is that of Non-profits and NGOs. A career in social work upon completion of MSW (Masters in Social Work), B.El.Ed (Bachelors of Elementary Education) Education, Development studies, Gender studies, or any associated subject can provide opportunities to wear a lot of hats and take on many responsibilities.
One can grow within the organization and approach executive directorship through different departments including fundraising, program development, volunteer management, community organizing, and marketing. The not for profit sector allows an individual to work for a cause that they are passionate for and actually make a difference in the society.
THE JOURNEY SO FAR & THE WAY AHEAD
In the recent years, social sciences have surpassed boundaries to integrate itself with different fields. It offers tons of career possibilities to aspiring youth, across exciting domains along, and still provides the flexibility to shift paths for higher education. It was not long ago that Science and Commerce were the popular choices for students picking up streams in class 11th, solely on the basis of the “scope” they offered.
However, with time this mindset has also changed and students have started perceiving careers as opportunities and not scope. An emerging trend that is very clearly visible is how school students in metro cities are more exposed and aware of the various careers they can pursue with humanities in 11th and 12th, than in schools in tier 2 cities, where it’s often difficult to find a full section dedicated to humanities.
On a good note, slowly and steadily, things are changing. More school toppers are now opting for humanities, breaking the popular myth “intelligent students opt for science & commerce”. Their decisions are now based on the practical applications and tremendous scope offered by the domain. Increasing awareness driven by social media and internet is driving this change.
Career decision-making is a subtle science, and an exact art and students are accepting it that way. We, at Mindler, strongly believe that the students should be allowed to pursue their passions as professions. It is only then we will see a nation where children are able to realize their unique potential and excel in their chosen endeavors.
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