SSC aptitude test: Students across Maharashtra favour commerce

School teacher Amruta Apte who was present at the programme said while the current test is good enough to give a broad idea to students, more specific questions needed to be added to it.

This year, commerce colleges in the state can expect the most number of applications and competition for admissions, as a state-wide aptitude test conducted for Class X, Secondary School Certificate (SSC) students, shows that most of them are inclined to pursue careers in commerce. For the past three years, the Maharashtra education board, along with Shyamchi Aai Foundation, has been conducting an aptitude test for all Class X (SSC) students to test their aptitude for careers in several streams.

This year, 17,36,104 students, who appeared for the Class X exams, took kal chachani (aptitude tests) that tested them in seven fields, Arts, Commerce, Technical, Health Sciences, Uniformed Services, Agriculture and Fine Arts. Last year, fine arts had emerged as the most chosen field while this year, one in every five students have shown inclination towards the Commerce stream.
The tests clearly indicate that students have moved beyond the traditionally popular sciences and engineering fields.

Among other streams, this year, too, the inclination of students towards fine arts was considerable as 18 per cent candidates were more likely to pursue it, followed by 15 per cent for the uniformed services, 13 per cent for agriculture, 12 per cent for health sciences, 11 per cent for arts and 10 per cent for technical courses. In Pune district, however, fine arts and commerce go hand in hand, as far as career choices of students are concerned, as almost 23 per cent students who took the test showed an inclination for the streams followed by 15 per cent students inclined to take up uniformed services. Arts did not seem to appeal to students as only six per cent showed aptitude towards it.

“When I was a student, we had no access to any such tests and we did not even understand things like aptitude. I almost took admission to the science course and one day before I finalised it, I realised that may be Arts is more suited for me. Today, students are fortunate to have such tests, which gives them an idea of where their interest lie. Also on the career portals, there are videos and information about each of these streams. Like what kind of courses and careers are available under each stream, including the newest career options that many students may not know about,” said Vishal Solanki, commissioner, education, Pune.

While Maharashtra is celebrating the fact that it is the first state to conduct such an aptitude test, whether the results translate to actual career choices is another debate. Asked if there is any way to check that students actually took the advice, officials admitted that currently there is no such system. “But we are considering adding options, like analysing the impact of the data by comparing it with actual admissions of students. It could happen in the coming year,” said Shakuntala Kale, the chairperson of the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education.

Students and teachers present at the unveiling ceremony of the state-wide results hailed the government’s initiative. “Even if students want to take up science courses, we do not know the latest courses or careers. I think the website on which more than 7,000 courses are mapped will help us,” said Ninad Kulkarni, an SSC student.

However, some students were disappointed. Mayur Pande, a student of SJH Gurunanak School said although his interest lies in science, specifically space sciences, his aptitude test results indicated he should take up agriculture or uniformed services. “I do not understand why it shows like this. I want to study science.”

School teacher Amruta Apte who was present at the programme said while the current test is good enough to give a broad idea to students, more specific questions needed to be added to it.

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