Colleges clamour for hike in Science stream seats

THE GOAN NETWORK | JUNE 14, 2024, 12:41 AM IST


Even as admissions for medical, pharmacy, engineering and nursing courses are ongoing, nearly all undergraduate colleges offering Science streams have requested an increase in seats due to the growing demand among students aspiring for these professional courses.

The Directorate of Higher Education (DHE) is allowing seat increases on a case-by-case basis. "This is an annual trend. The demand for BSc courses arises because admissions for professional colleges, including medicine, pharmacy, and agriculture, among others conclude in August-September. To be on the safer side, students initially take admissions for BSc and then opt out once they secure places in their preferred courses," said an official wishing anonymity.

While the demand for Science courses is high, the increase in seats for Commerce is minimal and almost non-existent for Arts. "This is nothing new. The number of seats across all streams typically remains the same, except during the admission process," the official added.

According to guidelines issued to colleges, the minimum strength for students in multidisciplinary courses is set at 30, while skill enhancement courses (including all Science courses, psychology, and geography) require 20 students. 

For Commerce and Arts, the minimum is 30 students. Value-added courses also have a minimum strength of 30 students, except for NCC, where the actual strength will be accepted.

When asked about variations in student numbers, the official stated that institutions must obtain permission for relaxation. "If student numbers exceed the upper limit, institutions request an increase in seats, as is currently happening in the Science stream. If student numbers fall below the minimum prescribed by the DHE, the institution must seek a relaxation, which is then reviewed by the DHE," the official explained.

For other major and minor courses in all disciplines, including languages but excluding Konkani and Marathi, the DHE has set a minimum strength of 10 students. The department has further informed institutions that only programs with a student strength exceeding this minimum will be permitted. If any program has had fewer than 10 students in any two of the last three years, it will be discontinued.

Likewise, any program that has been in operation for two years but has consistently had fewer than 10 students in both years will be discontinued, effective from the 2024-25 academic year. The same rule applies to programs in operation for one year but fewer than 10 students. "We are following the NEP 2020," the official said.

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