Students in front of St Xavier’s College in Ranchi on Tuesday. Picture by Prashant Mitra
Over 800 aspirants for 50 English honours seats at one college, 750 for political science in another. Traditional is trendy once more, when it comes to students picking up subjects offered by Ranchi University.
At front-ranking cradles of the varsity such as St Xavier’s College, Ranchi Women’s College and Marwari College, there is a deluge of admission forms from aspirants seeking an honours berth in subjects such as English literature, political science, economics, physics and zoology.
So, are old favourites making a thumping comeback into the classrooms?
More importantly, has Ranchi University succeeded in reducing the capital’s brain drain to a trickle?
Pro-vice chancellor of Ranchi University V.P. Sharan said the “strong response” to traditional subjects in the general streams meant that students perceived that the quality of education offered by the varsity had gone up.
“Earlier, the cream of Ranchi’s students who wanted to pursue an honours in the general stream subjects went to Delhi University, citing its rich faculty. But now, many of them don’t want to leave Ranchi. They are beginning to trust the varsity’s faculty, the semester system mode of education and syllabus,” he said, adding that a recent national survey ranked Ranchi University as 36th among top varsities of India and third among the top five growing institutes of the country.
He added that the semester system, with continuous evaluation, gave out a clear message that Ranchi University was serious about its academic benchmarks.
“The semester system is such that it ensures timely and regular exams, forcing students to be regular and upgrading the quality of learning. When youngsters know they have to be serious about a subject to get good marks, they get interested,” he said.
So subjects such as English and zoology are no longer seen as easy tickets to graduation. Nor is graduation at Ranchi University seen as a way to while away three years. Rather, both are seen as keys to a better future.
The numbers at top colleges affiliated to the varsity testify to this U-turn.
Officials at St Xavier’s College — arguably the most elite of Ranchi University cradles — admitted that the craze for English language, physics and zoology had shot up.
The officials had sold almost 800 admission forms for 50 seats in English honours. “It is considered to be the star department of our college. The number of applicants is increasing day by day. Students enrol in this core subject to improve their competence in writing to pursue careers in journalism, radio and TV announcers and so many other new-age options,” placement cell in-charge Swarat Chaudhuri said, adding that physics and zoology were also favourites.
In Marwari Girls’ College, as many as 1,000 admission forms were sold for English honours and 750 for political science honours.
“In fact, this year we have received the maximum number of applications for admission to English,” a college official said.
According to a Ranchi Women’s College official, they had sold 800 forms for 150 English honours seats. College principal Zeenat Kausar said she was surprised, but not unduly so.
“Students have realised that the subject opens up good career options in the field of teaching and mass communication. Language proficiency is vital in many careers nowadays,” she said, adding that even political science had climbed up the popularity charts as civil service aspirants wanted to keep it as an optional subject.
The new academics session will begin from either the first or second week of July.