WITH THE advancement of Information Technology and the consequent
electronic revolution, humanities have made a silent exit from
the education scenario. History in particular.
The lure of the electronic world has become too hard to resist
and the few colleges offering a bachelors programme in the subject
are struggling to find the adequate strength for the classes.
The number of students opting for it has clearly slumped in the
last five years.
Even among the students who join BA History, those who
voluntarily opt for it are in a real minority."Most of the
students in the class are those who have not scored enough marks
to get into other streams such as Commerce and Business Management,"
says S.Saraswathy, Senior Lecturer, Department of History at the
Nirmala College for Women.
Apart from the Arts and Science colleges that have been in the
city for more than a decade, no self-financing college offers
a discipline in History.
To attract more students to the subject, colleges offering History
have added application-oriented subjects to the core syllabus.
"This is to refute the general belief that the subject is
dead. We have updated it to the latest developments taking place
in society," says S. Arunmozhi, Head of the Department of
History, PSGR Krishnammal College for Women.
A conventional subject often accused of being obsolete
has now been given a facelift with electives such as Journalism
and Mass Communication, Human Resource Development, Human Rights
While in the 70s and 80s, History classes brimmed with students
who were politically and historically conscious, the number has
declined drastically now. "The students of this generation
are completely ignorant of the past of their country. This is
appalling," Ms. Arunmozhi laments.The History department
at the PSGR Krishnammal College also offers two computer courses
along with the core subjects. The students could also do an add-on
course in Tourism Management in the evening.
The value of History has been underestimated to such an extent
that students who choose the subject are not thought of very highly
by society. "Contrary to society's belief that History students
are not academically bright, most of them start enjoying it, even
opting to do a Master's programme in History," Ms. Saraswathy
asserts. For a deeper understanding of any subject, History is
There is no point in being scientifically and technologically
upfront without an awareness of our past, because of which we
have reached where we are now," says Ms. Arunmozhi. Even
the five-year integrated course in Humanities introduced by the
Anna University has excluded history, she adds. Surprisingly,
the disenchantment with humanities is seen more in the Southern
States when compared with colleges and universities in North India.
Students really passionate about the subject could pursue careers
in the administrative services, do research or take up archaeology.