Aurangabad: In a development that can benefit hundreds of students and faculties, agricultural courses from nine knowledge streams have been listed in the category of professional courses.
The state agriculture, animal husbandry, dairy development and fisheries department, in a government resolution on Saturday, made a formal announcement to this effect.
Agricultural engineering, horticulture, forestry, biotechnology, home or community science, food technology, sericulture, food nutrition and dietetics and agriculture are streams that will be considered as professional courses.
The courses offered in engineering, technology, health sciences and management fields were only considered as professional courses so far. Now, agricultural courses will be added to the list.
On June 29 last year, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (Icar) had resolved the listing of concerned courses in the professional category. The state, however, ratified the decision after doing the necessary homework.
Vasantrao Naik Marathwada Agricultural University dean Parbhani Dhawan on Sunday said that a thorough revamp of the syllabi of the concerned courses was carried out before listing them in the professional category.
“The reform will help students in multiple ways as the revamped syllabus would help enhance their employability and will give an extra edge to their professional career. The revised syllabus for each course has been framed in keeping with the current and emerging needs of related industries and fields. Stakeholders were consulted to understand their need from the academia and suggestions were taken. All this has been considered while framing the revised curricula,” he said.
As part of getting the professional tag, the courses are slated to witness improved classroom and laboratories among other academic facilities. “Now that it is listed in the professional category, agricultural courses are at par with engineering and medical education. The policy decision will further help agricultural education gain more social acceptance and prestige,” Dhawan said.
Apart from the Parbhani-based university, Dr Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth, Dapoli, Dr Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth, Akola and Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth, Rahuri are the agricultural universities in the state, where revised courses in nine streams are expected to be offered from the academic year 2017-18.
A senior faculty member from one of the state agricultural universities said it was a long pending demand from the teaching staff to shift the courses from traditional to professional category.
“The faculties from engineering and medical education used to draw more salaries and pay-related benefits than us. Such discrimination will now end. It was our demand since the late 80s that has been falling on deaf ears,” he said.
Considered the apex body for coordinating, guiding and managing research and education in agriculture including horticulture, fisheries and animal sciences in the entire country, Icar governs 71 agricultural universities and 101 other institutes nationwide.