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KAU to take its innovative course of PG Diploma in Horticulture Therapy to a wider audience

January 25, 2023 11:03 pm | Updated January 26, 2023 10:46 am IST - KOCHI

The College of Agriculture (COA) at Vellayani in Thiruvananthapuram under the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) is set to embark on a wider promotional campaign for its innovative course of Post Graduate Diploma in Horticulture Therapy for taking it to a wider audience.

Incidentally, COA is the only institution in the country to offer the novel course, which offers opportunities in institutions and projects designed for populations with special needs. The one-year course proposes therapeutic application of horticulture by integrating the basics of horticulture and fundamentals of horticulture therapy with psychology, community organisation, landscaping, accessible gardening and human development.

In other words, the course develops horticultural therapists capable of using gardening as a tool to improve their clients’ health and well-being.

The maiden batch of the course has passed out and classes for the second batch was supposed to have been already started but for lack of enough candidates. Now, the course is likely to start around October.

“We normally notify our post graduate diploma courses in landscaping and horticulture therapy together. This time there were more takers for the landscaping course. From next year onwards, we plan to notify and publicise the horticulture therapy course separately to reach a wider audience,” said Roy Stephan, Dean, COA, KAU.

The moves comes in the wake of tepid response to the course, which authorities attribute to lack of awareness.

That the course offers enough opportunities is evident from the fact that all the five students of the first batch have landed placements either in rehabilitation centres or government projects. The course also offers job opportunities abroad with attractive salary package. Professional bodies for horticulture Therapy are active in Europe, the U.S., Australia, Canada and even the Middle East.

“Students also get to do a six month internship at centres designed for populations in need for special care like the psychiatry centres, mental healthcare centres, autism centres, speech and hearing impaired centres, palliative care centres, old age homes etc. With the experience gained from their internship stint, they do a mini project either for a particular group or as a case study,” said Beela G.K., course director and head of the department of community science, COA.

The course split into two semesters attract a fee of ₹25,000 for each semester.

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