Many takers for agri courses

Low fee structure, more job opportunities draw students

At a time when thousands of seats in engineering, dental, and management have gone abegging in various colleges, agricultural courses are attracting students like never before.

Perennial avenues for jobs, low fee structure, and the choice of doing off-field works have made agriculture a preferable option of study. The cut-off percentage for admission to various undergraduate courses at the University Agricultural Sciences, Hebbal (UAS) says it all. It has been hovering at 80 per cent under the general merit (GM) category since 2008. For admission under SC/ST categories, the lowest percentage is a little below 80 per cent. The trend is not different at colleges in Hassan, Shimoga, Mandya, Ponnampet, and Chintamani.

D P Kumar, Administrative Officer, UAS, says: “A few years ago, we had to call for walk-in interviews at various colleges outside Bangalore. This happened even as the demand for engineering and other professional courses shot up considerably. Things got so worse that we were forced to not consider a candidate’s score in the Common Entrance Test (CET). But since 2008, the trend has been reversed,” Kumar said.

According to UAS Vice-Chancellor K Narayana Gowda, the change is not surprising.
“It is evident that our future economy will depend on what we produce in agriculture. A graduate in agriculture will never go unemployed. Now, banks have also begun recruiting agriculture science graduates in large numbers to handle their farm loan operations,” he told Deccan Herald.

Intake increased

The result is there for all to see. The College of Agriculture increased its intake by 15 per cent in 2010 with proposals for further increases in future.

While the college admits 160 students to B Sc (Agriculture), it takes 50 candidates each in B Sc (Agricultural Marketing) and B Tech (Agricultural technology).

According to a UAS professor, the demand is so high that all seats get filled on the first day of the admission itself. On the second day, only students under the agricultural quota took admission, he said.

Another interesting fact is that more women are taking up the course, considered mainly a field-related programme. Manjushree H L scored 80 per cent in PUC II whereas she secured a rank of 13,000 in CET.

Asked about the reason for opting for agriculture, she says: “Primarily, I was interested in the stream. Further, it offers ample job opportunities. I don’t have to necessarily work in a field to land up a job. A bank or a farm equipment company can also employ me on an attractive remuneration,” she said. Chandana S scored 74 percent in PUC II. According to her, she didn’t know of the course until her father’s friend recommended it. “It’s one of the best courses,” she said.

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