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Sanchit Kumar, 17, was surprised when he got to know that none of the 63 Delhi University (DU) colleges offer a course in Home Sciences to male students.

Bhopal resident Kumar studied Home Sciences till class 12 and he wished to pursue a career in the culinary arts to become a chef. He thought that DU could provide the best platform for this.

However, during an open day session last week, he was told that the BSc in Home Sciences course is only available for women in the university.

“It was surprising to know that the university does not offer the course to men. Home Sciences is traditionally considered as a female oriented course. But things have changed and now, more and more boys are showing interest in the course because of better opportunities it offers. The officials have asked me to rather go for BSc in Food Technology which is also available in only one co-ed college in DU,” he said.

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Kumar is not alone. Many male aspirants visiting the university with admission related queries were surprised to know that either several courses are not available for them or they have very few college options in these courses. Courses like Psychology (Honours), Philosophy (Honours), Sociology (Honours) and Geography (Honours) are mostly available in women-only colleges.

Presently, around 14 colleges in DU offer BA (Honours) in Psychology, of which 11 are women colleges. BA (Honours) in Sociology is available in 10 colleges, of which 8 are women colleges. And, BA (hons) in Philosophy is being offered in 16 colleges, of which 10 are Women College.

Only three women colleges–Bhagini Nivedita College, Institute of Home Economics, Lady Irwin College—offer BSc course in Home Sciences in the university.

Anupa Siddhu, principal of Lady Irwin College, said though the syllabus of the course has no “gender bias” but co-ed colleges do not “come forward” to start the course for male students.

“The course is absolutely progressive and covers all the topics which can help students get good career options in food, hospitality, nutrition and textile science. Many schools in Delhi are now offering Home Sciences to all students. However, we have not yet heard from any co-ed science college showing interest in starting the course,” she said.

Manoj Sinha, principal of Aryabhatta College, said that there is “lack of demand” among men for home sciences.

“If the co-ed colleges start the course for few interested students, it will become difficult for us to manage the resources in limited funds. The only solution to provide equal opportunity in these courses in DU is that a provision shall be made wherein the women colleges offering these courses can accommodate some male students,” he said.

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However, in case of BA (Hons) courses in Psychology, Philosophy, Sociology and Geography, DU officials said that the university is trying to start them in more co-ed colleges now.

“Earlier, more women would study Humanities in schools and hence, the demand for these arts courses was higher among women aspirants. However, in the last five years the trend has completely shifted. We are having a lot of male students who had humanities in class 12 and want to pursue these courses in DU. Many co-ed colleges in DU are in process to start these courses,” said a senior university official, who wished not to be named.

Geetash Nirban, associate professor at Kamala Nehru College, said that these courses are equally popular among male aspirants as well because there are ample career opportunities in it. “Many co-ed colleges have also started offering Psychology, Sociology and Philosophy as a paper in BA (programme) courses because of the demand. The concerned departments of these disciplines are working to expand them in other colleges as well,” she said.

~Preksha Mishra


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