Studying Agriculture in Nepal

2014-04-05

Sangita Shrestha

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Nepal is an agricultural country where most of the people are dependent on agriculture. With educated and qualified people working in this field, the agriculture sector would definitely progress a lot. But  
very few educational institutions at present are providing academic knowledge to students in this field.

The Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science (IAAS), , Rampur, under Tribhuvan University started Bachelor’s programme in 1971 (2028 BS) and now has Master’s as well as Doctorate level programmes. 

Likewise, Himalayan College of Agriculture Sciences and Technology (HICAST), , Kalanki, under  Purbanchal University has been offering Bachelor’s programme since 2000, and in 2005 this college started its Master’s programme. 

Note: In 2010, Agriculture and Forestry university has been established in Nepal. Currently it is offering Bachelor level programs in the following areas: 

 Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) in Forestry

 Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (B.Sc Ag)

  Bachelors in Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry


About the course
Agriculture has various branches and according to the branches, the universities are currently offering various courses at different levels. Dr Krishna Bahadur Shrestha, Principal/Adjunct Professor at HICAST informs, “There are four major sectors in Agriculture — Crop Science, Horticulture, Floriculture and Livestock.”

In the undergraduate level, HICAST is offering Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (BSc Ag) and Bachelor of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry (BVSc and AH).   In BSc Ag, the course is focused in basic disciplines where one also has elective subjects like Plant Protection, Agri Economics, Agronomy and more, as per Dr Shrestha.

Meanwhile, the five years course of BVSc and AH aims to produce skilled and competent manpower in the area of livestock health, production and management as well as other clinical subjects.

In its Master’s level, HICAST has been offering M.Sc in Meat Technology , MSc in Dairy Technology  along with MSc in Agriculture Business Management. Likewise, at IAAS, one can study BSc Ag as well as BVSc and AH. In Master’s programme, IAAS has MSc Agriculture, MSc Animal Science, Master of  Veterinary Science (MVSc) and MSc Aquaculture.

Why this course?

“People in rural areas of Nepal are still dependent upon agriculture. As such higher education in agriculture is needed to increase the production rate of agricultural products,” opined Prof Dr Gopal Bahadur KC, Assistant Dean, Academic Affairs of IAAS.

Meanwhile, Dr Shrestha is of the opinion that to produce qualified and skilled manpower for sustainable development the education of agriculture is necessary.

Eligibility criteria

At IAAS, students wanting to pursue BSc Ag and BVSc and AH should have passed +2 in the Science stream. With English, Physics, Chemistry and Biology as majors, they must have secured a minimum of 50 per cent marks in aggregate from TU or from other recognised universities and boards to sit for the entrance exam.

Likewise, to get selected for the entrance exam of MSc Ag, s/he must have completed BSc Ag or an equivalent degree. 

For getting admission in MSc Animal Science, a student should possess a BSc Ag or BSc Animal Science, or BVSc and AH or an equivalent degree. Likewise, for MSc Aquaculture, one must have a BSc Ag, BSc Animal Science, BVSc and AH, BSc Aquaculture, MSc Zoology or an equivalent degree.

In order to get enrollment in MVSc, an applicant must have a BVSc and AH or equivalent degree with English as a teaching medium in undergraduate level. The student should also have passed the undergraduate level with minimum second division.

Meanwhile, at HICAST to sit in the entrance exam for undergraduate level, one must have scored a minimum of 50 per cent in +2 Science stream with Biology, Physics and Chemistry as compulsory subjects. For studying MSc Meat Technology, MSc Dairy Technology and MSc Agriculture Business Management, students with Bachelor’s degree from Agriculture, Veterinary Science and Microbiology are eligible.

Scope

There is need for skilled manpower with higher degrees in the agriculture sector. And Dr Shrestha opines, “Sixty per cent of diseases in human are transferable through vertebrate animals and study of agriculture science helps to maintain the overall health of human as well as animals.”

Besides that there are a number of other scopes for the graduates of Agriculture Science. “One can work as an officer in the government office, as an expert in NGO/INGOs and can also become an entrepreneur using their skills and knowledge after completion of their education,” he adds.

Laxman Bhandari, BSc Ag Ist Semester student at HICAST is optimistic about the opportunities a student can get after graduating in this subject. “Nepal is an agricultural country and those who have interest in agriculture sector can definitely get the opportunity.”

About the advantage of studying this subject, Prof Dr KC shares, “The students of agriculture are granted scholarships for further studies in various international universities and agriculture has a global scope where one is also eligible to work outside the country.”

Challenges

There are some challenges the faculty members and students are facing. About this Prof Dr KC explains, “Due to the political instability, there are problems in every sector and we also have some problems. Due to political interference in education, students have become undisciplined and strikes happen inside the college. Due to such frequent strikes, we were unable to conduct our regular activities for about three months.”

Lack of availability of textbooks is the other problem. Sunita Pandey, BSc Ag Ist Semester student at HICAST shares, “We don’t have relevant semester wise text books which sometimes creates problem.” 

Agreeing with her, Dr Shrestha clears, “We provide handouts for the Bachelor’s level students and suggest them to explore the Internet for the same.”

Note: This article was originally published in The Himalayantimes on April 23.