Fatal predominance of medicine and engineering as career options in Kashmir

Representational Photo
Representational Photo

Avenues and Opportunities afterclass 10th

Class 10th annual exams are finally over and some more than fifty thousand students who appeared in these exams, and their parents are finally having a sigh of relief.  The Board of school Education has started the evaluation and the results are most probably going to be declared within the next six weeks. While anxiously waiting for the outcome the students certainly need some time to chill and respite, but for the enticing advertisements in our local newspapers and cable news channels once again there is palpable tension in every such family where they have prospective class 11th students. The private institutions have already issued notifications for admission to class 11th and the government run higher secondary schools would also start the provisional admission process within a few days.

As a matter of fact, it is thecoveted occasion of exercising an option and making a choice from among theavailable streams or subject combinations which would make them eligible forfuture academic, professional and technical pursuits.

Consequently, the parents aswell as their children inevitably find themselves at the crossroads of thisvery first stage of career planning and decision making. A wrong choice madedue to lack of awareness or socio-cultural considerations at this very firststage may have adverse ramifications for the future of the student.


Although we find a large sectionof students very focused, well informed and career conscious much before thanthis penultimate event of exercising a choice and opting for various subjectcombinations being offered under various streams in the valley or outside thevalley.  Yet, there is equally asignificant number of students who due to various reasons are not exactly sureabout the stream or the combination of subjects that they should opt for intheir next higher class i.e. class 11th.

Either due to their ownnegligence, peer pressure or due to lack of guidance from their teachers orparents,they seem to be confused and not sure about what they should opt for.In most of the cases we see that the parents or the elder siblings decide andimpose their opinion on the children whose aptitudes, likes and dislikes aretotally ignored.

Another large chunk of studentswho belong to the first generation learners, where we see no parental pressureor guidance, naturally follow herd instincts and adjust themselves in this wayor that way to carve out a career for themselves.

Thus due to lack of organisedefforts at career counselling and career planning a large number of studentsend up with mere degrees and diplomas in the areas which they may otherwisenever need in the professions they find themselves in. For instance, how absurdit is to find a Dental Surgeon (BDS) working in banking industry and nowpursuing an MBA through IIBF/IGNOU for career progression. Similarly, we findChemical Engineers doing something where a person with a degree in literatureor social science would be a perfect fit. Why don't we refrain from making Farhan (3 idiots) an engineer insteadof a wild life photographer, that he eventually wanted to be. GIVE ME SOME SUNSHINE ……. GIVE ME SOMERAIN…….GIVE ME ANOTHER CHANCE ………….

Normally a student should muchearlier, consciously explore all the possible career options and inconsultation with parents, peers and teachers make an informed choice. Thestudents while in class 10th need to be adequately sensitised aboutthe world of work, the eligibility criteria and the requisite skill sets neededto enter various professions or vocations in life.

Parents push their children tostreams which are either not suitable or are quite contrary to the aptitudesand interests of their children, just because they want them to do somethingwhich either they have successfully done or not done.Someone's exemplaryachievement due to extraordinary abilities (prodigies) and strenuous hard work,should not be considered a bench mark for others to replicate. The far-fetchedcomparisons with siblings, neighbours, relatives and peers should in all casesbe avoided. The parental pressure to study a discipline in absence ofmotivation or aptitude definitely results in dismal academic performance andthe emergence of subsequent complexes, psychological disorders ordelinquencies.

So the instant need is toprovide opportunities to these young-adults to choose whatever worthwhile theywant to pursue and prudently extend full support without enforcing any kind ofopinion on them. Before taking any decision the students and the parents shouldrealistically empathise with each other, the parents should give space to thechildren and the children should appreciate the concerns of the parents aswell. The children should be made to realise in a very friendly and objectivemanner that parents would never wish wrong for their loved ones and would neverwant them unemployed or underemployed.

Here in the valley of Kashmir wesee a fatal predominance of medicine and engineering as a career option to suchan extent that to some parents there seem to be no other alternatives. Wepressurise our children to excel beyond their optimum levels to compete in NEETand JEE, if they do not get a seat here we would not hesitate to send them toeven Antarctica.If children loathe mathematics they are thrusted/ pushed intostreams where good numerica aptitude is essential.

However, children need tounderstand that merely learning guitar, singing, modellingor pursuing someweird interest could be a part of hobby and coterminous with the main academicpursuit.


Broadly speaking the threestreams available to the students after class 10thin the schooleducation system are Science, Commerce and Humanities/Social science (LiberalArts). Apart from these there are various Technical and Vocational courses availablethrough Poly Technique Colleges and Industrial Training Institutes under thetechnical education system.



In the science stream the threeavailable choices are PCB, PCM and PCBM. If any student aims to make a career in medicine or life sciences,He/she has to necessarily opt for Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Afterclearing class 12th the student would be eligible to appear in NEET (NationalEligibility Entrance Test) conducted by NTA. In addition to Medicine (MBBS/BDS/BVSE) such students are also eligible for various courses where biology is aprerequisite.

The Students who chooseNon-medical streamPCM(Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics) are eligible toappear in JEE Main (Joint Entrance Examination) a national level exam foradmission to IIT's NIT's etc. Studying Maths up to at least 12thclass opens up tremendous career opportunities in future through variouscompetitive exams. It should be a preferred choice of all those who arecomfortable in maths.

The students who want to keepboth the options of medicine and engineering open opt for PCBM (Physics,Chemistry Maths and Biology). However, this option is a bit difficult and needsmuch more efforts.


This stream has always been indemand and offers a plethora of career options in the fields of accountancy,business administration, entrepreneurship and corporate entities.Later on inaddition to Charted accountancy, Cost accountancy, Company Secretary thecommerce background becomes an added advantage in pursuing BBA, MBA etc.

Humanities,Social Sciences and Home Science:

The field of Humanities, Socialsciences and Home Science which earlier was not comparatively so alluring isnow fast emerging as a preferred choice. An ever increasing number ofmeritorious students are purposefully opting for it due to a broader scope inteaching and research, including its utility in competitive exams. The subjectsoffered in different combinations are Economics, Political Science, PublicAdministration, History, Sociology, Home Science, Education,Psychology,Literature,Geography, Urdu etc.

Technicaland vocational courses:

Class 10th pass outsare eligible to take admission in various engineering diploma courses beingoffered in Polytechnique colleges. There are some 5600 seats in the civil,electrical, mechanical, computer, IT and various other technical branches whichare filled through an entrance examination conducted by JKBOPEE.A Diplomaholder in engineering is eligible for lateral entry admission in B.tech coursesand AICTE has extended scholarship benefits under PMSSS to Lateral entry also.

Moreover, there are IndustrialTraining Institutes offering NCVT (National Council of VocationalTraining)courses in various trades which are not only job oriented but havetremendous potential for self-employment.

Keeping in view the bourgeoningproportion of unemployment and the present dependence on outside skilled humanresource our students should seriously think about these technical andvocational courses.

The National Skills DevelopmentCorporation through flagship scheme "Skill India" and PMKVY is vigorouslyoffering avenues in skill development and Entrepreneurship.

In my personal evidence basedobservation I have found that the present generation having comparatively moreaptitude in technical and mechanical fields need to be counselled about theopportunities right after their passing of class 10th.

In this endeavour our teachers working in High and Higher Secondary schools particularly in far flung areas can conduct awareness sessions to channelize the talent in the right direction and at the right time.

Author is a Principal and academic councillor. (firdous.wani@gmail.com)

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