Making the hard choiceAre parents making students choose a stream they aren’t interested in?
Every year, as soon as the Secondary Education Examinations results are out, it is the busiest time for the students and parents to look for new colleges. It is regarded as an important time to carve a path for the future—especially choosing academic streams.
But amidst the huge anticipation, students usually seem to struggle to pursue subjects of their interest. While the youth seem to lean towards more unorthodox career options or subjects, their parents and guardians still expect them to pursue mainstream subjects. This conflict has become much more evident in recent years, say students.
“When I told my parents that I wanted to take up management for my higher studies, they weren’t very happy at first,” says Vashika Giri, a recent SEE graduate. “But they eventually figured out that it is best for me.”
Many parents want their children to pursue science as has been the trend that students taking up the stream are more talented and academically better than others.
“More than half the amount of seats in most 2 colleges are occupied by the science stream, whereas humanities stream takes at most 15 percent, leaving the rest of the seats for management faculty,” says Bindu Adhikari, an English teacher who teaches 2 students in more than three colleges.
But students say it is important to get to choose their subject. There are many cases where students have struggled with their subjects and have changed it during mid-academic year—resulting in the waste of their time and energy and investment for the parents.
Tej Pradhan, a 2 graduate from humanities stream mentioned how he didn’t feel a sense of belonging in the classroom when he was studying science.
“Since I was not enjoying the subjects, I did not care about being creative or active in the classroom. It definitely took a toll on me and my results and my confidence,” he says.
Though Pradhan is one of the few people who changed his stream after he was not happy with what he was doing, most students aren’t very comfortable or open doing the same.
Parental and peer pressure is the major factors behind students opting for certain subjects rather than fair skill assessment or student’s choice. Many say they have instantly regretted pursuing subjects that they weren’t interested in. Some students also say they preferred the science stream as the safest option as they were unsure where their interest lies. They say they wanted to keep all doors open.
As science stream is believed to have a wider reach, they overshadow the scope of other fields. The society has perceived non-science subjects as an option only for students who aren’t as bright and don’t keep many expectations with what they do. While this thought is already deeply rooted in mindsets of most Nepali students and guardians, the broad scope that other subjects provide is disregarded.
Kavita Mishra, is a parent to two children who are both studying engineering, says pursuing science-based academics give parents a sense of security. It is thought of as a superior subject and is believed to have more scope.
But students disagree pursuing science stream or any other stream, in particular, defines a secure future. Rather, what it takes is, genuine willingness to learn and perform even better, which comes only when you’re investing time, energy and effort into something that you actually like and are happy with.
“People thought 3.6 GPA was meant for science. But it wasn’t something I wanted to do,” says Preeyanshu Shreshtha, who is currently pursuing management in her 2. “I have been doing well in my studies and I’m very happy with my decision.”
Although, they are aware that their parents have good intentions at heart and are looking out for them and their future, students say that it is high time parents stop pressurising them into something that they are least interested in. According to them, it will result in more harm than good.
“If we are not passionate about the subjects we are made to study, it will affect our grades as well as self-confidence,” says Giri. “I would regret wasting my time and would probably distract myself toward other things if that happened to me.”