For the uninitiated, a brief background on higher education in agriculture in India
Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) has recognised degree of B.Sc. Agriculture in different State Agriculture Universities of the country as Professional Degree. Nine courses have been granted the recognition of ‘Professional Degrees’ namely, Agriculture, Horticulture, Agriculture Engineering, Sericulture, Forestry, Food Technology, Biotechnology, Home or Community Science, Food Nutrition and Dietetics.
There are various disciplines within the broader area and some of them are: Agricultural Engineering, Forestry, Horticulture, Veterinary and Animal Husbandry, Dairy Science, Food Technology, Fisheries Science, Agricultural Technology, Agri Business Management, Environmental Law and Conservation and others.
Programs offered at Agricultural Universities or Affiliated Agricultural Colleges or in Private Institutions are (1) diploma programs, (2) degree programs, (3) masters programs and (4) doctoral programs.
Kerala Agricultural University's College of Agriculture, Vellayani
College of Agriculture, Vellayani, is situated in the Thiruvananthapuram under Kerala Agricultural University. Set in the God’s own country, the college is beautiful, serene and quite a treat to the eye and mind. It is surrounded by Vellayani freshwater lake on three of its sides, which a popular spot for tourists.
Fee Structure And Scholarship Provisions
The fee structure is very much affordable for a middle-class family, somewhere around Rs.12,000 a year. Being a state agriculture university (SAU) under ICAR, the college has a low fee structure, which allows the students to study without any student loans.
Students pursuing B.Sc and getting admitted through the ICAR quota get NTS Rs. 3000 per month while M.Sc students get a sum of Rs.5000 per month if they choose a university away from his/her state domicile.
The college and the state government also provide various grants to the students belonging to minority sections.
How are the Placements prospects?
Job opportunities are plenty for a BSc agriculture graduate. Government jobs in every state are available. The college provides internships under the recent inclusion into the curriculam Rural Agricultural Work Experience Program (RAWE) in the final year, i.e., the last two semesters. Here students are told to prepare different products and projects and develop skills required to thrive professionally in their careers.
Various departments offer internships and are based on the availability of seats and students’ performance before the final year.
How to seek admission here?
Through the ICAR AIEEA exam, 15% of the seats are filled. A merit list is prepared for students all over the country. Then students are allotted colleges according to their marks and preference. Students had to report to the college within the stipulated time and get admitted. The rest, 85% of the seats, are filled by the students of the same state. They are chosen based on their performance in KEAM and NEET. A state merit list is prepared and according to the reservation, and the seats are distributed accordingly.
Faculty at college
Well-qualified professors and degree holders who have great experience in teaching and the research field. Faculty are ever so patient and eager to help and guide students. The teaching staff have Ph.D. degree along with prescribed statutory standards.
Very thorough and extensive course! The course prepares the students for taking up jobs, continue further studies or research as well as enable them to engage with the farmers and bring solutions to the problems faced by the farm community. The course curriculum is quite exhaustive as the number of credits in any semester is not less than 23. One gets to not just acquire knowledge but also better appreciate and learn about time management skills.
The exam pattern followed here is mid exams, then the practical exams, followed by the finals. There are almost no gaps during successive exams in mid and practical exams. Assignments, records, presentations need to be submitted before the deadline. Overall the diverse curriculum doesn't keep one busy and on the toes all the time.
A peek into the campus life
Regular sports meet is being conducted every year, where different colleges come to participate. The Intercollegiate arts festival is also an attractive platform for the students to showcase their talents. The College has an excellent national-level indoor stadium wherein sports like basketball and badminton can be played.
The gender ratio is skewed as girls constitute around 70% of the batches. The College has an elected students union that is run and managed by students. Students from various States like AP, Telangana, UP, Bihar, Orissa, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, MP, Rajasthan, West Bengal and others attend various courses offered in the college.
The alumni network is very strong. There is a significant proportion of students who enroll into Masters and Research Programs after completing the UG course. As Kerala Agricultural University have been one of the foremost Agricultural Universities and given the importance of Agriculture in our country, there is a fairly strong network of alumni.
Now, in the past few years, there has been many other institutions dedicated to agriculture that have been set up - both public as well as private institutions - and almost all new institutions have some connect with Kerala Agricultural University. Alumni are either working there or Alumni's books among prescribed texts for various courses.