ICAR urges state universities to join its all-India entrance test - The Hindu BusinessLine

2021-12-31 11:30:15 By : Mr. Jack Liu

Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has asked State Agriculture Universities (SAUs) to join the entrance test conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) in admission to agriculture science courses in their states instead of holding the separate examination. ICAR has also requested states to increase seats by 10 per cent per year from the next academic year.

“There has been a lot of interest among students to get into agriculture science in the past few years as the scope got widened,” said R C Agrawal, ICAR’s deputy directo- general (education). The number of applicants in ICAR’s entrance test has increased to 1.6 lakh from about 90,000 in 2015-16 for only 6,000 seats reserved in SAUs, Agrawal said.

ICAR in 2019 had entrusted the responsibility of conducting the all-India competitive examination for admission to UG, higher studies (PG/PhD) in SAUs where 15 per cent and 25 per cent seats are reserved for these students. The total number of seats in all SAUs is about 47,000, including 40,000 in undergraduate courses.

Some states have agreed to join the all-India entrance, but will take time to cover all states since agriculture education is a State subject, said Agrawal.

Stressing the need to increase the seats in SAUs, he said ten per cent increase per year should be done for a few years as suggested by ICAR. He also said that states have been asked to relax the norm of mandatory hostel staying as students may also like to stay outside if they get admission. This will help ease the immediate burden of building new infrastructure, he added.

On private colleges offering agriculture courses, Agrawal said these institutions are not under the direct control of ICAR, and they are being persuaded to reserve seats for those who qualify for the all-India entrance. “Some 10 private colleges have been accredited and an equals number also was rejected as our parameters have to be followed,” he said, adding there are some 40 pending applications for accreditation.

Once a private college gets accredited by ICAR, successful students of the all-India entrance test will get to study there under a reservation formula and also their students become eligible to appear in this all-India entrance test.

ICAR’s World Bank assisted programme of sending students abroad for international exposure in foreign universities, started in January 2019, has been halted due to covid pandemic and is likely to resume as and when the situation becomes normal. More than 500 students, including those from under-graduate courses, have visited foreign universities in the US, Europe, Australia, Japan and many other countries under this programme, he said.

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