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Education Plus    Kerala   

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Commerce students on a roll

Commerce graduates can find good middle-level positions in companies as they have sound knowledge about accounting, tax, mercantile law and auditing.

There is a renewed interest in commerce courses because of the wide range of job opportunities they offer.

Although engineering and medicine still rule the roost, the number of students who opt for commerce courses is steadily on the rise. The proliferation of call centres, the growth of IT-enabled services and opening up of the insurance sector have created a renewed interest among students to study such courses.

Wide spectrum of jobs

The wide spectrum of job opportunities range from teaching to executive positions in multinational companies. Compared to other professional courses such as engineering and medicine, commerce courses are less expensive.

Among the legion of educated unemployed in the State one can find engineers and even doctors, but securing a job as an accountant and earning a handsome income is not a tough proposition for a commerce graduate. The number of chartered accountants, company secretaries and ICWA professionals passing out each year is inadequate to meet the demand and all those who have passed these courses are well-placed too. There are any number of reputed companies that need a full-time secretary and the posts remain vacant for want of qualified secretaries.

Commerce teachers

According to M. Sarngadharan, head of the Department of Commerce of the University of Kerala, private and Government higher secondary schools are now recruiting commerce teachers. About 60 per cent of the commerce professors would retire between 2005 and 2008 and a lot of lecturer posts will also fall vacant. Parallel colleges also need good lecturers. Many post-graduates are self-reliant and they run coaching centres for ICWA, CA and the Company Secretaries' course. Commerce graduates can also find good middle-level positions in reputed companies as they have sound knowledge about accounting, tax, mercantile law and auditing. Their communication skills too are much better than the graduates of any other discipline, he says.

"Our B.Com. course includes accounting, mercantile law and IT literacy. It is tuned to the needs of the industry and trade. The course equips a student to secure a job without any training. A commerce student with a fairly good academic background can successfully run call centres and also find a job in IT-enabled services," opines Dr. Sarngadharan.

Parental awareness

According to K.C. Vasantha Kumar, who heads the commerce department of a private college in the city, it is high time that parents are made aware of the relevance of commerce courses in the modern world.

"Parents generally prefer engineering and medicine and if the academic performance of their wards is below average, they compel them to join for B.Com. This is still the last preference of parents who think that commerce courses are meant for relatively weak students. An intelligent student can excel with a little effort and placement is assured on completion of the course. Many are unaware of the United Kingdom (U.K.)-based Association of Certified Chartered Accountants and its programmes which are recognised in 15 countries and widely accepted by multinational companies," explains Vasantha Kumar.

The pass percentage of CA, ICWA and Company Secretaries is between 10 and 15 per cent. The number of Keralites who appear and pass out is much lesser, because the best students are repeatedly trying for the entrance examinations and never join such professional courses, feels Vasantha Kumar. While an engineering graduate can go for MBA and then join as an executive in a company, a commerce post-graduate too could also eventually secure a similar job.

Revised syllabus

Universities in Kerala have not revised the syllabus to meet the challenges thrown up by trade and industry.

As a result, there is no qualitative improvement in the course.

Those at the helm of affairs have not yet given serious thought to revising the syllabus to meet the needs of the emerging global world.

A drastic revision is imperative, says Vasantha Kumar.

N.J. Nair

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