The Association of Indian Agricultural Universities (IAUA) has recommended a 10 percent annual increase in places at the undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) levels in all agricultural universities.
The IAUA, after its two-day annual convention ended on Tuesday, which was attended by 40 vice-chancellors from across the country at the Birsa Agricultural University (BAU) campus in Ranchi, adopted the recommendation for all agricultural universities to increase gross enrollment (TBS) in higher education institutions in agriculture and related disciplines. The GER is the ratio between the number of enrollments in higher education and the total population in the 18-23 age group.
“At present, agricultural universities, in total about 75, make up 9% of the country’s public sector universities, but the capacity is only 1%, which is worrying,” said one. Vice-Chancellor on condition of anonymity.
India’s GER is 26.3, which is lower than the world average and much lower than that of most developed countries. The 2020 National Education Policy has set a target of 50% by 2030.
The IAUA also recommended designing market-oriented course curricula by involving industry experts in course design. Certificate and diploma courses in skills development and rural entrepreneurship will also be launched in self-financing mode for rural job creation.
Optional courses in agricultural journalism and mass communication, business communication, religion and culture, foreign languages, environmental conservation, yoga, physical education, dance, music, Soft skills development can also be initiated. PG students and young researchers will be encouraged to visit centers of excellence in India and abroad.
The convention also called for organic or natural agriculture to be practiced on 10 percent of the country’s arable land area with the primary aim of improving soil health and controlling environmental degradation. In the initial phase, the yield will be only optimal and not maximum, but the problems of disease and pest control will have to be treated well.
“The establishment and strengthening of an incubation center to encourage entrepreneurship and startups among agricultural graduates to increase innovation, transformation and profitability in the agricultural sector was also recommended,” said a spokesperson for BAU.
IAUA Secretary General and Vice Chancellor of Central Agricultural University Dr Rajendra Prasad, Samastipur, Bihar, Dr RC Srivastava, stressed that state governments should provide sufficient funds to agricultural universities for the construction of new hostels so that the increased number of students as envisioned in the New education policy could be adapted because agricultural universities are residential in nature.
BAU VC Dr Onkar Nath Singh said that agricultural universities are a mirror of the society in which the expectations of the people of the state are reflected. As agriculture is a state subject, the consent of the state government will also be required when introducing a major change in admissions policy or starting new courses.
On the last day, there were technical sessions on farmers’ access to technology, market, credit and extension services and on creating an ecosystem conducive to the development of entrepreneurship in agriculture. and related sectors.