Central scholarships boost interest in farming courses

PUBLISH DATE 10th July 2018

For Pooja Jangamwar, a third-year BSc student at the College of Agriculture, Pune, her love for nature and the environment propelled her to enrol for a course in agriculture.

“I want to do my MSc in agriculture once I’m done with graduation. It’s a good course. It’s not tough, but it’s very interesting and we learn a lot. For MSc, I want to specialize in plant sciences, with a focus on breeding different varieties. After this, I want to be placed in Telangana as there’s a lot of scope for the field I am in,” she says.

She adds that students interested in agriculture should definitely opt for the College of Agriculture, Pune which is affiliated to the Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth, an agricultural university in Rahuri.

Associate dean of the College of Agriculture, Pramod Rasal, said from this year on, the BSc course has been converted into a BSc Honours degree. “It has become a professional degree now and so all students have to give the state-run MH-CET entrance for admission. The Maharashtra Council of Agricultural Education and Research (MCAER) conducts the admission system, which is a centralised procedure. The BSc degree lasts for a total of four years. All agricultural subjects are taught to students. They include agricultural botany, pathology, soil science, agronomy, horticulture, entomology, among others.”

The first two years of the undergraduate degree are mostly focused on foundation courses. The subsequent years give students a practical learning of their subject. “From the third year we start with the rural agricultural work experience where we attach students to different agrarian industries. Students are placed in different villages for the whole semester. The purpose is to get them acquainted with the different farmers and villagers and work in aprofessional setting,” Rasal says.

He added that students guide farmers based on whatever they have learnt. “The aim is to get familiarized with problems that plague the agrarian community.”

In the fourth year, students have to go through an experiential learning module. According to Rasal, this module is to mould the students into entrepreneurs. “We have courses like mushroom production, hightech floriculture, vegetable production, tissue culture, biocontrol, dairy production, etc. It’s mainly to give them a concrete idea of the different industries and make them knowledgeable about market trends.”

Rush At College of Agriculture

Rasal says there is tremendous demand for admission. “Though we have an intake capacity of around 15,000 per year for BSc and MSc, we get around 70,000 applications. However, only 25% applicants are admitted for the courses. For postgraduate courses, there are around 12 students per department at MPKV. Here, we have around seven per department.”

Gajanan Lolage, an assistant professor of entomology and the placement cell in-charge at the College of Agriculture, says the college is the topmost agriculture institute in the state. “Considering merit, our college is the topmost in Maharashtra. Students score well above 95%. After BSc they mostly prefer to go for higher studies,” he says.

Easy, Interesting Course

Students can also apply for a scholarship through Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). Once a student passes the ICAR scholarship exam, he or she can get scholarships for BSc as well as MSc courses.

Anumol Jolly, a student from Ernakulam, studied on ICAR scholarship and recently graduated from this college in May. “The course is not very tough. We had around ten subjects for each semester including statistics, economics, engineering, dairy science. ICAR used to give me scholarship money of Rs 12,000 each year. This was subsequently revised to Rs 24,000. I received this amount in my last year. Once you give the ICAR exam, you can’t study in your own state, but will have to opt for a university in another state. That is how I came to Pune.”

She adds that the course is not very tough, but one must keep up at least 80% attendance. “I had to keep up a CGPA of 7.5 and above each year so that I could avail scholarship money. If you’re coming through ICAR you get a certificate, which carries a lot of value and will be always helpful for getting a job.”


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