Lack of colleges makes agro education infertile

Lack of colleges makes agro education infertile

Lack of colleges makes agro education infertile. Existing opportunities in agricultural education sector do not seem to be in accordance with the...

Students of agriculture and horticulture are moving to Maharashtra for higher education as TS and AP have only limited seats

Hyderabad: Existing opportunities in agricultural education sector do not seem to be in accordance with the potential demand both in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. This has come to the fore as counseling for engineering and agricultural seats is scheduled to start on June 18 in both the States.

Excessive emphasis is given to engineering and medical education in the two Telugu states, resulting in lack of colleges and institutions that run courses in agriculture, horticulture and veterinary sciences. Experts in the field of education are now calling for a shift in focus as is the case in States like Maharashtra.

There are no private colleges or institutions offering agricultural or horticultural courses in Telangana. In contrast, Maharashtra has 167 private colleges and higher institutions offering courses in agriculture, horticulture and veterinary sciences. All of them run 4-year professional courses with Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) affiliation.

It was former Union Agriculture minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar who ensured that 167 farm science colleges were set up in the State as he believed that every farmer must have a degree in agriculture. On an average, all private colleges put together have about 20,000 seats in Maharashtra while Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have just 770 seats each.

As a result, students from these two Telugu speaking States are thronging to Maharashtra for agricultural courses and are spending about Rs 10 lakh to Rs 12 lakh for admission. Currently, the three affiliated agricultural colleges of Prof Jayashankar Telangana State Agriculture University has 553 seats.

The two affiliated colleges of Sri Konda Lakshman Bapuji Telangana State Horticultural University has only 100 B Sc (Horticulture) seats and there are only 120 B V Sc seats in PV Narasimha Rao University of Veterinary Sciences, Fisheries and Animal Husbandry. Seats in these colleges are filled through EAMCET.

But no other State including Keralahas less than 1,000 seats in these three categories. AP has made a beginning in bolstering its seats recently when the State Agriculture University was inaugurated at Lam in Guntur district with 150-odd seats.

However, the employment opportunities in agriculture and horticulture sectors are set to take a quantum jump in these States, more so in Telangana, according to P Saidaiah, Associate Professor at College of Horticulture, Rajendra Nagar. If students study in their own State, curriculum will be in tune with the crops grown there. This is because each agricultural university has freedom to set 30 percent of its syllabus.

What is more, there is only one Agriculture Officer (AO) for every two or three mandals and one Horticulture Officer (HO) for every nine mandals in Telangana. Experts demanded that the government post one AO and one HO for every mandal and appoint one or two Agricultural Extension Officers under them.

Another significant window of opportunity that needs the attention of Telugu States is that there has been an increased intake of agricultural graduates from southern States by well-known ASRB (Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board). ASRB is a body affiliated to ICAR.

By C Ananda Kumar Reddy

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