Food Science Curriculum Development
Prof. Samsher
Department of Agricultural Engineering & Food Technology
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel University of Agriculture & Technology, Meerut

A component of the Agricultural Innovation Partnership (AIP) project is to improve agricultural curriculum at Indian SAUs. To make higher agricultural education relevant to present day needs, graduates with entrepreneurial skills for self-employment and contributions to rural livelihood and national food security needs are required. Furthermore, in view of globalization and rapid developments of new technologies, it is essential that the students are trained to handle transnational issues and quality standards. One of the vehicles for delivery of these attributes in agricultural education is through thoughtful curriculum developments, which provides contemporary knowledge, analytical skills, entrepreneurship skills and experiential learning. In view of this, initiatives were taken to develop curriculum in the area of food science and technology at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel University of Agriculture & Technology, Meerut. In this regard, Prof. Samsher visited US to have agri-business exposure and some AIP partner universities like Cornell University (USA) and The University of Georgia (USA) to develop curriculum for food science programs. The AIP partners first evaluated the overall objectives of the academic curriculum.

Objectives

  • To produce internationally competitive and skilled manpower in food science and technology for industry, research and development, self-employment, and regulatory agencies.
  • To develop and impart new technological and entrepreneurial skills and expertise in the area of processing and value addition for higher economic returns.
  • To enhance students skills through experiential learning and in-plant training.

Need of Curriculum development in the present time

The technical manpower required for food industry needs to have adequate practical skills. Thus, reorientation in educational patterns and syllabi for Food Science and Technology were required to cope up with recent needs and trends of the food and related industries and to fulfill the requirements of other stake holders like research and academic institutions, regulatory agencies, NGO’s, etc. Considering these aspects, the existing curriculum of B.Tech. (Food Science and Technology) program in India were refocused and reoriented. The course curriculum was revised with the inclusion of a few important basic courses like physics, chemistry and calculus along with those in English writing and oral expression, business management, etc. which were lacking in the ICAR recommendations.

The modules for experiential learning were also added in order to provide hands-on-training to the students and make them aware of the real life situations in the food industry. Two semesters are thus devoted to the practical training, i.e., experiential learning during VII semester and in-plant-training in the VIII semester by way of placement in the food industry. The in-plant training has also been made mandatory in the last semester for providing more exposure to industrial operations. New emphasis has been placed on skill development to handle challenges likely to be encountered in international trade. The revised curriculum will also ensure all round developments in the students with focus on problem solving skills, critical thinking, leadership, gender issues, written and oral communication skills and international awareness. The implementation of the proposed curriculum in the university will bring B. Tech. degree program at par with the best in the world and our graduates will exceed international standards in food science and technology education.

Career Opportunities and Benefits
There are many career options which include positions in the food processing and manufacturing industries, post-harvest engineering and technology, food research and development, product development, quality control, and self-employment. In food processing industries, the graduates and diploma holders can work as managers in start-up companies, supply chain, food retail, and operational workforce and as strategic planners. They can also work in modern food ingredient manufacturing companies producing food additives, enzymes, peptides, stabilizers, emulsifiers etc., brewing and fermentation industries. The food industry is increasingly becoming more focused on health foods thus, they will also be able to work in the hospitality sector and food service industry. Food regulations are another important and emerging area in India but there are very few good graduates available to handle the relevant regulatory issues. Therefore, the graduates and diploma holders equipped with necessary entrepreneurial skills can embark upon new businesses of world-wide utility.

Impacts

  • The SVPUA&T, Meerut proposed the following programs and developed the curriculum.
    1. B.Tech (Food Science and Technology)
    2. Diploma in Food Processing
    3. Vocational courses
  • Bakery Technology
  • Fruits and Vegetables Processing
  • Safe and Hygienic Practices for Sweets Makers and Street Food VendersIf proposed programs are implemented in SAUs, there will be long term impact on human resources and food industry. The students having entrepreneurial skills, problem solving skills, critical thinking, leadership, gender issues, written and oral communication skills and international awareness will embark upon new businesses of world-wide utility.
  • After training food science faculty in US and having industrial exposure, the following entrepreneurship programs were organized at SVPUA&T, Meerut for the processors.
  • USAID Supported Agricultural Innovation Partnership Training for Bakery processor (November 06-08, 2012)
  • USAID Supported Agricultural Innovation Partnership Training for Fruit and Vegetable Processors (December 22-24, 2012)
  • Some participants have started and promoted their own business in these areas.

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