Humanities stream on the brink

2014-04-05

Himalayan News Service

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The number of students opting for Humanities stream in the +2 level is fast declining. 
 
With the number of students opting for the stream coming down by 50 percent in the last eight years alone, several colleges are phasing out the academic discipline that glorifies arts, literature and human condition among other things.
 
And underestimating Humanities means neglecting the emotional aspect of a human being, prioritizing mind over heart or overlooking humanism. 
 
While 14.57 percent of the total +2 level students sat for examination in Humanities in 2002-3 (BS 2060) which is already a striking figure, only 7.6 percent took the examination eight years later, i.e. 23,203 out of 304,030 chose Humanities in BS 2010-11 (2068). Interestingly, there have been gradual fall, by 1 percent on an average every year, in the number of students opting for the discipline during the period between 2060 and 2068. 
 
“We still have affiliation for Humanities with the Higher Secondary Education Board. But we are not running the classes,” says a founder member of Kathmandu´s Milestone College, Bhim Sharma. “We don´t have required number of students,” he added. 
 
There were 40 students in the Humanities stream in Milestone College in 2006. Next year, the number declined to 25 followed by 11 in 2008 and nil in 2009. 
 
Agrees the +2 coordinator Lal Bahadur Karna at Pinnacle Scholars Academy, Kalanki. “Though we knew that Management and Science streams are popular, we were quite unaware that Humanities is already on the verge of extinction,” he remarked. “While there are enough students in Management stream, there is no situation to run Humanities classes due to lack of students,” Karna added. The school had upgraded +2 level with Humanities and Management programs 3 years back. 
 
The decline of the Humanities stream and rather the weightier position of the Management and Science streams over it (data show that Humanities has been in the 3rd position since long) is clearly the result of market demand, though this is not a pleasant development, notes educationist Vidhyanath Koirala. 
 
According to him, it is obvious for the youths to go for courses that promise a better future or a good job prospects. And the government´s policy is also to promote vocational and technical subjects for reducing unemployment, it is so also because the stakeholders have failed to sell the subjects related to humanities which would otherwise have no less demand either. 
 
“And Humanities replaced by technologies to this extent cannot be termed pleasant in the long term -- the future generation will lose touch with art, poetry, literature, dance, music, religion, culture, history or all the beauty of heart and life. That amounts to colder heart but powerful mind. For instance, following the atom bomb effects in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II, nuclear physicist J Robert Oppenheimer (who helped US develop her first nuclear weapons during II world war) had said that the loss could have been prevented had he chosen Humanities over Science when he was a college student.”
 
(Source: Republica National Daily)