Focus on higher education in agriculture at ICAR-World Bank conference

March 21-23 in New Delhi

The theme of the meeting is ‘Blended Learning Ecosystem for Higher Education in Agriculture’. Photo Unsplash

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), the apex body for coordinating, guiding, and managing research and education in agriculture, and the World Bank have come together to announce the first international conference on ‘Blended Learning Ecosystem for Higher Education in Agriculture’ in India under the National Agricultural Higher Education Project (NAHEP).

The three-day event to be held from March 21-23 in New Delhi will be hosted by ICAR – IASRI (Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute), which is a multi-partner global forum to support collaboration for the development of a state-of-the-art blended education system for higher agricultural education.

The aim of the conference is to facilitate the development of a global ecosystem of partners from academia, industry, government, and multilateral and bilateral organizations that would provide critical insights toward the design and full-scale implementation of all aspects of the Resilient Agricultural Education System (RAES) under National Agricultural Higher Education Project (NAHEP), that is, learning management system, content repository, and system-wide capacity building. Apart from the engaging discussions the three-day event will also showcase an exhibition on the diverse range of services and offerings in the field of agriculture and blended learning.

The conference and exhibition will be inaugurated by Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. Various other ministries will participate along with other global leading institutions such as AICTE, IIT, and IRRI among others. Eminent speakers include Himanshu Pathak, secretary, the Department of Agriculture Research and Education (DARE) and director general (DG), ICAR, Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, R C Agrawal, Deputy director general (agricultural education), ICAR, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare and Dr. Auguste Tano Kouame, Country director, The World Bank among others.

Himanshu Pathak said, “According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the agriculture sector in India contributes 17-18% of the gross value added (GVA) of the economy and employs more than 40% of the workforce. Farmers are adopting new technologies to improve and monitor crop health and production. The true adoption of blended learning has immense potential and can unlock the agriculture economy to new heights.’’

RC Agrawal said the focus of the conference is to strengthen the collaboration among multiple implementing agencies working in the domains of remote learning, digital education, and blended education systems. “It will also help in establishing synergies with flagship programs such as Digital India and Skill India to accelerate the deployment of the Resilient Agricultural Education System under NAHEP.”

The conference is organized around the thematic areas including strategies for blended teaching-learning, technologies for blended learning, sustainability in the blended learning ecosystem, building stakeholder capacities to navigate in a blended teaching-learning ecosystem, and contemporary curriculum for agricultural education.

NAHEP, which was proposed on a 50:50 cost-sharing basis between the World Bank and the Government, was formulated by ICAR with a total cost of US$ 165 million for five years in the financial year 2017-18. It was undertaken to strengthen India’s National Agricultural Education System.


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