By Upendra Choudhury : Political Science deals with the theory and practice of politics and the description and analysis of political systems and political behaviour. Political scientists use both humanistic and scientific perspectives and tools and a variety of methodological approaches such as philosophical, institutional, functional, and system’s to examine the process, systems and political dynamics of all covntries and regions of the world.
Like many other social sciences, Political Science has attained the status of a full-fledged discipline only in the last century. It has a number of sub-fields. The traditional sub-fields include:
a) Political Theory
b) ComparativeGovernment & Politics
c) InternationalPolitics/Area Studies
d) Pubiic Administration and
e) Political Sociology.
The modern sub-fields are :
a) Human Rights
b) Gender Studies
c) Peace andConflict Resolution Studies
d) Policy Studies
About two and half millennium years ago, Aristotle (384-322 B.C), the father of Political Science, considered it as the ‘Master Science’. But in recent years due to globalization, economic liberalization and information
technology revolution, a false impression is being created that social science subjects like Political Science, History, and Sociology etc are not useful. So it would be better if they make way for professional courses in
colleges and Universities. This pessimism has resulted in ‘few takers’ of these subjects on the one hand and a ‘low self-esteem’ among the sodal science Graduates on the other. The argument against social sciences is based on the logic of “earning power” of learning. This article argues that the basic function of education is not just to enhance the skills and information of the learners but 10 promote humanization and stand as a
bulwark against dehumanizing forces in society. Social Science subjects exactly do this. Moreover, in terms of “earning power” also they are equally good. What is actually lacking is the imagination and determination to succeed in one’s life. Here are some career opportunities for Political Science students. First of all it is important to remember that a Graduate in any subject is qualified for most of the jobs unless the position calls for specific requirements. But social science Graduates have some advantage over others for their reasoning and analytical skills, communication ability, both oral and written, knowledge of their society, history and culture and the general avvareness about their constitution, governance structure and national and international political events. Furthermore, those who study Social Sciences for an advanced degree acquire skills in data analysis and computer usage. The following highlights some of the frequently chosen careers for which Political Science has been most successful.
Administrative Services: The most obvious career path Political Science students consider is in the government itself, where there are a variety of career options both at the Central and State government
levels. At the Central level, the ‘dream jobs’ include lAS, IPS, IFS and allied services. The Union Public Service Commission, New Delhi (www.upsc.gov.in) conducts Civil Service Examinations each year for recruiting people for these top jobs. The state administrative jobs include BDO, Tehsildar and many other important positions. For getting jobs at the state level, one has to qualify the Provincial Civil Services (PCS) examinations conducted by the State Public Service Commissions located at each state capital. Although one can write the Central or PCS examinations in any two approved subjects available at their websites,
Political Science is considered as one of the most scoring papers in these examinations. Besides,
Political Science students rave advantages over others in General Studies, Essay Paper and Interview
as most of the questions are related to the areas of Political Science. It is therefore not surprising that several IAS toppers have taken Political Science as one of their optional subjects. In 2000 Civil Service Examinations, for instance, 8 candidates out of the top 20 had taken Political Science as an optional.
Teaching: Teaching is another popular profession for Political Science students. About seventy five percent of Political Science degree holders are employed by the educational institutions in the country since most of them teach Political Science as a subject. Civics/Indian Constitution is the basic area of study at the school
level. If you want to become a Political Science/Social Science teacher, you need a Graduation degree in Political Science plus B.Ed. For Lectureship at the college and University levels one needs a Master degree in Political Science (55% marks) plus eligibility for lectureship (NET Examination) conducted by the University Grants Commission (www.ugc.ac.in). New Delhi twice a year. Although NET is not compulsory for M Phil/ Ph.D. students, one is advised to possess these advanced degrees in order to get advantage over others.
Research: There are some premier Universities and research institutions in India that undertake major research projects on various issues in Political Science sponsored both by Indian or foreign funding agencies They need Research Analysts/Research Fellows/Research Associates for carrying out these policy relevant projects. If you have an advanced degree in Political Science, you can apply for these positions. For this you can visit the websites of major Indian Universities and research institutions such as
Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (www.idsa.in), Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies
(www.ipcs.orq), Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (www.csds.in). Centre for Policy Research (www.cprindia.orq), Observer Research Foundation (www.observerindia.com). The Institute for Conflict Management (www.satp.orq/satporqtp/icm/ index.html). Forum for Strategic and Security Studies (www.
stratmaq.com), PRS Legislative Research (www.prsindia.orq), Center for Legislative Research and Advocacy (CLRA), New Delhi (www.clraindia.org) etc. Besides research positions, you can also apply for various Internship Programs at these and several other institutions just after your Post-Graduation. TheNational Human Rights Commission (NHRC, http://nhrc.nic.in), New Delhi and the Bureau of Parliamentary Studies and Training’s Internship Programs are particularly noteworthy. Law: Law has been a very popular choice of Political Science students. While Political Science is not required for admission to law
colleges, you have an advantage over others while preparing for the entrance or performing well in the examination because many law topics are also taught in Political Science. The career paths after law degree have been extremely varied with some entering into other professions but most find positions within the legal
profession. This includes private practice, judicial services, serving as legal counsel of public undertakings or private agencies.
Journalism: Political Science students have long found employment in some aspects of communications but this trend accelerated in India in the early 1980’s. Newspapers, News Magazines and to a lesser extent the electronic news media have always needed individuals capable of understanding and communicating the significance of national/international political events. Now with the current emphasis on adversial journalism, there are even more opportunities for those who understand politics, could research problems or events and then write clear coherent stories. However, Political Science students considering a career in
journalism are also advised to get a degree or diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication from a
International and National Organizations. In recent years there has been an explosion of international organizations, both public and private. This has been accompanied by a similar increase in the number of domestic organizations in India, especially in early 1990’s. Whether it is the United Nations or its specialized agencies or the environmental, human rights, economic and political interest groups, all of them need individuals for management, research and interactions with other public and private entities. While a degree in Political Science is an excellent preparation for a job in this field, students can further enhance their job prospects by learning foreign language skills or developing some substantive expertise in a particular area. You can get most job advertisements in Political Science through internet, local, regional and national newspapers, Employment News/Rozgar Samachar and from your college/University’s Information and Guidance Bureau. It is not just that the present job opportunities in Political Science are good. The future is equally bright. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has repeatedly called for “a new revolution in modern education” and many have described the Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-2012) as “a National Education Plan”. This plan would see an unprecedented five-fold increase in spending on education in nominal terms. The Central Government alone is setting up 30 new central and world-class Universities, 370 colleges in educa.tionally backward districts, 6,000 top class schools in each development block, 8 Indian Institutes of Technology (IIMs), 7 Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) among many other
CAREER OPPORTUNITIES …
educational institutions. It is worth mentioning that some IITs like the IIT Delhi have recentlyintroduced Political Science as a subtect in their Social Science Departments. List of Top Indian Universities
Almost all indian and foreign Universities offer Master and research degrees in Political Science. Followings are however the list of some top Universities in India that offer degrees in Political Science/ International Relations.
The list is indicative.
However, all is not going well in higher education. A recent study by the World Sank, for instance, has estimated that only 10 per cent to 25 percent of general college graduates in India are ‘suitable for employment’. Therefore there is a strong need for quality education in our country not just degree manufacturing industries. After all, employers hire people, not degrees. The skills and knowledge you
develop as a result of your education, as well as in your work and community activities, have the greatest impact on hiring decisions.
(The author is a Reader in the Department of Political Science, Aligarh
Muslim University (AMU), Aligarh-202002, Uttar pradesh)