Educational institutions have a responsibility to dissuade students from pursuing fields of study in which they are unlikely to succeed.
The role of educational institutions in the life of any student is very crucial, because they form the base for the career and livelihood of each person. In the light of this, it would be quite unjustified to claim that educational institutions should dissuade students from studying subjects based only on guessing and assumption that the student might not be successful in it. There are a number of reasons why this is not truly a responsibility of any institution.
Firstly, the word success is a very vague term. People define success in a variety of ways. Sometimes, a person taking a subject only for sheer interest even though it has nothing to do with his professional career might think himself to be successful if he thoroughly enjoys what he is learning. This is one of those cases where the educational institution might not be at a position to judge whether or not the student is likely to succeed in the course. Apart from this, there might be a number of cases where the institution might misinterpret other reasons to conclude that a student is unlikely to succeed. In my view, only when we are absolutely not interested in something do we start demotivating ourselves against a particular subject. Consider a situation where a particular teacher does not have much communicative skills and is unable to express his views clearly on a subject matter. The student would obviously face much trouble and might not score well in tests; however this does not mean that the student would be consistently bad at the subject because he is not interested. For all we know, he might have really scored well if he were tutored by someone else.
More importantly, in the formation years as a student, he should be allowed to see all possible directions in which he can pursue his career and future life. Outright dissuasion at the primitive stage might be one of the biggest blunders that an institution can make. There are numerous examples from history as well as day-to-day life where students realize their areas of interest much later in life, probably somewhere between their high school and undergrad. Saying that a student should not be taught Science and be dissuaded against becoming an engineer only because he scored less in his middle school is outrageously meaningless. It should be at the discretion of the student to see what he likes, and whether he can carry on with what he thinks is his area of interest, or if he should change to another field depending on his consistent degradation of interest in a particular field. I have seen people who took up a course, failed miserably in the initial stages, yet ended up being one of the best students in the branch. This only shows that students need time for their own analysis, and that they shouldn’t be cut off by the institution rules.
To ameliorate the scenario in which a student is not succeeding in a particular field, institutions, instead of dissuading them, should provide them simultaneously with alternatives. Many universities provide elective subjects which are not related to a person’s field of study. However, some of these might groom the student in other aspects and help him become a more successful person. For example, if institutions find that a certain student might succeed more in management rather than engineering, they could provide him with an extra course on a management subject, say Human Resource Management or Organizational Behavior, and take feedback from the student as to how it helped him.
In conclusion, though educational institutions play a very important role in the students’ life and have a number of responsibilities towards them in order to shape and groom their life, dissuading them against subjects which they are not likely to succeed in seems a bad option because at the end of the day, it is the student’s life and he should have control on what he studies and what he doesn’t, and what he considers to be a successful venture.