Harvesting education with technology
By Kaviya Sanjeevi|ENS - CHENNAI
22nd June 2012 11:52 AM
All around us we see the birth of new ideas, technological advancement and development in every field. Agriculture is no exception. The pedagogy side of this sector has undergone a number of changes due to the dynamics of this field. The focus of our agricultural institutes is on ways to increase yield and devise methods that benefit farmers.
What's in store
The curriculum is constantly updated as new ideas and methods arise on field. Agriculture meteorology, agribusiness, environmental sciences, micro–biotechnology, food processing, nursery raising, mechanical harvesting, weedicides applications etc, are some of them. “We have export-oriented courses, where we give the students a thorough knowledge of the export scenario including the historical and political elements for better understanding,” says Prof Narendra Singh B Chauhan, HoD, agricultural extension, Anand Agricultural University, Gujarat.
The internet is also playing a big role in agriculture education. E-books on myriad of subjects are available, and through the net, students can also view farming techniques used in various countries. “Education in agriculture was restricted to the classroom. We now have to teach in real conditions,” says Prof HS Gaur, joint director, education and dean, Indian Agricultural Research Institute (ICAR), New Delhi.
The four-year theory courses have been reduced to three years and a year of cumpulsory training has been added. Industry needs are also taken into account for introducing new subjects. “We now have commercial agriculture courses in collaboration with industries and companies. Practical knowledge is very important in this field,” says Prof Rao, associate dean, plant pathology, Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University, Hyderabad. Agri marketing, future trading, micro-economics in agriculture, product prophesying are some of the courses that were introduced recently.
The whole pedagogy has become learner-centric. A Rural Agricultural Work Experience Programme (RAWEP) was introduced in 1982 and has now become a compulsory training programme. Students get to work with farmers and identify various production and marketing constraints through RAWEP. Alternatively, Krushi Vigyan Kendra, established by ICAR across India, regularly conducts student and farmer interaction sessions. Students get a chance to put their learning in practice and find solutions for farmers’ problems.
Students can opt to go into the seed industry, fertilizer/pesticide companies, farming or research. Jobs are available in the processing and technical department, marketing, field or extension work and in various laboratories as scientists. Though remuneration is not as high as in the management and IT sector, the chances for innovation and development are high. If you have a degree in agriculture or allied subject, there is a very high chance of you landing a job, opines Prof Rao ■
WHERE TO STUDY
* University of Agricultural Sciences, Karantaka
* Birsa Agricultural University, Ranchi, Jharkhand
* Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, TN
* Central Agricultural University, Manipur
* Indira Gandhi Agricultural University, Raipur, Chattisgarh
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