India is an agrarian country where half of its population still depend on agriculture as the primary source of income. Keeping this thing in mind, Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) recently announced that it has formed a six-member committee headed by Dr Tej Pratap, Vice Chancellor of the G B Pant University of Agriculture in Uttarakhand to suggest ways in which agricultural institutions can be nurtured in the spirit of the National Education Policy (NEP).

The committee is looking at providing impetus to research areas apart from making the course structure more flexible, more inter-disciplinary activity.

“Agricultural education is a state subject. Therefore, the recommendations and road map will be prepared in view of this. The aim is to bring agricultural education to a zone where it can address contemporary and future needs,” said a government official.

Moreover, the ICAR is working to bring farm education in line with the vision of the National Education Policy unveiled by the Centre. So it instructed the agriculture varsities to offer courses which is more flexible structure and these institutions will be encouraged to become more inter-disciplinary.

Deputy Director General (Education) at ICAR, Dr R C Agarwal, who is the convenor of the committee, when contacted, confirmed that the panel was looking at ways to bring agri-education in sync with the spirit of the NEP.

On the other hand, the NEP also envisages that the professional councils, such as the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) will act as Professional Standard Setting Bodies (PSSBs) and shall be member of the General Education Council (GEC) to frame expected learning outcomes for higher education.

The official also mentioned that the ICAR-Agricultural University (AU) system through its network of 74 universities offers degree courses at the undergraduate level in 11 disciplines. The PG programs in 96 disciplines and Ph.D. programs in 73 disciplines make it multi-disciplinary as desired by NEP.

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