This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Shivani Gautam. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

What’s The Point Of Studying Science, Commerce Or Humanities After Class 10?

More from Shivani Gautam

We proudly claim to be one of the nations that had a ‘rich’ ancient system of education (obviously neglecting the fact that the ‘rich’ system was primarily a monopoly of high caste men), and like Jeans and Valentines day, we love to blame colonialism for pulverizing our ‘traditional’ education system.

However, after eight decades of ‘freedom’ the Indian education system still stands vulnerable to a sharp critique. The Britons did lay the foundation of the modern Indian education system beginning with Macaulay’s (in)famous ‘Minutes’ but in the years following the independence the education system has gone through many reforms.

One of the major reforms initiated in the year 1977 and adopted by the country in the 1980s include the +2 pattern which still forms the core of the Indian schooling system. According to an India Today article published in the year 1977 the goal behind it was to “weed out some students at the end of the first stage of schooling giving such students a certificate. And by adding one more year to the school education, the system hopes to improve the standard of university education.”

The +2 system allows students to choose between either of the three streams of science, commerce and humanities after they’ve completed their secondary education. It was believed that the +2 system would help students, especially those who were preparing for professional colleges like engineering or medicine.

The +2 system though is open to criticism as selection to these streams is rarely based on aptitude and more emphasis is on the marks obtained. In fact, vocational education is rarely given the anticipated importance that was aimed for, when the system was first launched. In countries like Finland, after completing the nine year comprehensive education, the students are given a choice to either opt for vocational or academic higher education. In fact its turnout in vocational education is an impressive 45% unlike India for which vocational education remains only ‘partially fulfilled’.

In my personal experience as a student whose school was affiliated to CBSE, I believe that the +2 system strengthens the base of any student who later may or may not wish to enroll in a professional college and rather go for a BA, B.Com or B.Sc degree. The students get a better grasp of the discipline they are studying with their selective focus on the subjects of a particular stream.

However, this selective choice often becomes a deterrent when a person with a science background opts for a degree in humanities at the undergraduate level. “I had opted for B.A programme and as a student with a science background, it was quite difficult for me to venture into the humanities. I think the subjects offered at the +2 level should be more flexible rather than defined and limiting,” said Priyanshi Purwar, a second year student of Miranda House.

As far as preparing for professional courses is concerned most students either get into coaching institutes in these two years or drop a year after +2 to prepare for vocational programmes. “I am of the opinion that the +2 did help me discover my interest for science and cleared my base but it is not sufficient to land in a good professional college without enrolling in coaching institutes or get extra help because of the rising competition. It is the dream of every Indian parent to see their child become an engineer or a doctor as for them, other respectable professions simply doesn’t exist. This view is harboured by a majority of middle class Indians and thus leads to immense competition among students,” says Bhaavya Malpani, a student of Life Sciences from Ramjas College. This view has also led to the industrialisation of education and this industrialisation has in turn made quality higher education an unequal area of access.

At a time when university students are opposing privatization of government-run universities as it would make education an elite domain, we first need to make sure that primary, secondary and higher secondary education too is provided for adequately by the government and that the weeding out of the economically marginalised does not happen here itself.

The much applauded Right to Education Act of 2009 did guarantee free education at the elementary level and also proposed some qualitative changes that appeared promising on paper but their execution still remains a far fetched dream. Proper education in India is still primarily a monopoly of the well off. The education system needs to improve its lax teaching faculty, its taken-for-granted marking system, and most importantly people need to learn that schools and colleges are not factories meant to produce clerks for the welfare state. These are places to nurture young minds into thinking citizens who can not only fend for themselves but also work towards the progress of their people, for the citizens are the nation.


Image Source: Anshuman Poyrekar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
You must be to comment.

More from Shivani Gautam

Similar Posts

By Vipashyana Dubey

By Imran Hasib

By Meemansa Narula

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below