Rural students outshine urban counterparts in agri science

Rural students outshine urban counterparts in agri science
When it comes to agriculture science, students from rural India consistently outperform their urban counterparts.

For the past three consecutive years, the number of village-based students qualifying for the National Eligibility Test (NET) is far ahead of the number of city-based students.

The trend is exactly the same in the Agriculture Research Service (ARS) examination, which screens junior scientists for recruitment to the Indian Council of Agriculture Research, sources told DH.

In 2017, as many as 64% of farming students qualifying for NET are from rural India as against 36% from cities and towns. The rural-urban ratio in NET was tilted towards village boys in the previous two years, as seen from the ratio of 58: 42 in 2016 and 58.46:41.54 in 2015. There was no rural-urban distinction in the NET form prior to 2015.

In ARS, 2016, as many as 1,691 students from rural backgrounds qualified as against 872 from urban localities. A year ago, the numbers were 1,434 (rural) and 783 (urban), respectively.

“Those coming from villages appear to have a better knowledge of farm-related issues. They know more about crops, soil health and fertilisers,” V N Sharda, who heads the Agriculture Scientist Recruitment Board (ASRB), told DH.

However, coming from rural areas doesn’t necessarily mean these students studied in village schools and colleges all along.

“They may have studied in urban centres. But they go back to their native places time and again. In the examination form, there is a column to mention if they are from a village or city, which helps us keep a tab on them,” he said.

“In states like Maharashtra,  students coming from a farming family get additional advantage in the entrance. This also lures many to take up agriculture science as a career,” said C D Mayee, former chairman of ASRB.

Those qualifying for NET are eligible for recruitment as assistant professors or lecturers in state agriculture universities.

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