December 01, 2020: Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) will design a new curriculum in agriculture education in sync with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.
Vice-Chancellor of G B Pant University of Agriculture and Technology (GBPUAT) Uttarakhand, Tej Pratap, is the head of ICAR’s six-member committee to provide suggestions on changing the curriculum of agriculture education across Indian universities.
Additionally, Narendra Singh Rathore, Vice-Chancellor of Maharana Pratap University of Agriculture and Technology (MPUAT) Udaipur said that restructuring the curriculum as per NEP 2020 is a must to provide multiple exit and entry options during a 4 year UG agriculture education course.
Currently, 74 universities under ICAR offer undergraduate courses in 11 disciplines, postgraduate in 96 disciplines, and doctoral degree courses in 73 disciplines.
Rathore added that the new curriculum will offer flexibility and opportunities to earn a degree in diploma, and certificate courses. Hence, it is imperative to put more emphasis on offering better exposure to the subject by educating through field experience training, theory, and practical sessions.
Rathore further explained that “It is important to have an effective regulatory mechanism to maintain the standards of teaching and research in new educational institutions.” This is because merging agriculture education with general education can lead to an identity crisis, Rathore stated.
ICAR-NEP 2020 Agricultural Education: Curriculum Plan
National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 advises the development of a pilot model of the agricultural education curriculum keeping in focus the following key elements:
- Benchmarking the blended model of curriculum transaction.
- Adopting a modular approach with multiple exits and subjects.
- Facilitating online videos covering the experimental exercises.
- Demonstrating through a virtual laboratory.
- Extra weightage to project work and activities at farm level for experiential learning multimedia package and their delivery through Wayam Prabha and Kisan channels.
- Providing web-enabled support to students.
Mohinder Kumar Salooja, Professor at School of Agriculture, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) New Delhi said that to cater to the demands of agricultural Research and Development (R&D) in India, the manpower of more than 16,000 will be required.
Salooja further added that currently, there is a 50% gap in demand and supply of manpower in agriculture and allied sciences sector. To attract a significant number of students towards higher agricultural education in India, mandatory steps shall be taken.
“The projections indicate that by 2020, the annual outturn required for undergraduate would be about 54,000, which is currently limited to 40,000,” Salooja said.
He further added that sincere efforts to design a new curriculum in-line with NEP 2020 will usher a new culture of learning as well as entrepreneurship.