First Consultative Meet of Deans of Agricultural Universities

The First Consultative Meet of Deans of Agricultural Universities comprising 46 State Agricultural Universities, 5 Deemed Universities and Agricultural Faculties and 4 Central Universities was inaugurated at University Auditorium on 25-06-2010. The two day meet jointly organized by ANGRAU and ICAR aims at reviewing the impact of various initiatives taken up to develop and strengthen Agricultural higher education sector in this country.

The event started with a formal Inaugural session which was graced by the Chief guest Padma Sri Dr. M.V. Rao, Former Special Director General ICAR, Dr. S.Ayyappan, Secretary DARE & Director General,  ICAR; Dr.P.Raghava Reddy, Vice-Chancellor, ANGRAU; Dr.Arvind Kumar, DDG (Edn.), ICAR;  Dr.C.Dev Kumar, ADG (EPD), ICAR and Dr. R.K. Mittal, ADG (EQR), ICAR. The august gathering included Deans of Faculties from various AU’s across the country,Directors of various ICAR institutes located in Hyderabad, Selected faculty of ANGRAU and representatives of Print and Electronic media.

Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor of ANGRAU Dr P. Raghava Reddy while welcoming the participants highlighted the achievements of the university.

Introducing the objectives of the maiden meet, Dr.Arvind Kumar, DDG (Edn.), stressed on the need in improving the quality of Agricultural education in the country. He further stated that in view of emerging scenario due to change in agricultural trade, marketing, intellectual property regime the fourth Deans Committee was constituted in 2005. The committee after a wide range of consultations has come out with recommendations in 2007 some of which are yet to be implemented. He requested all Deans to contribute enormously in implementing the necessary changes in education system to develop professional skills, team building, communication skills and inter-personal relations, so as to restore the pride in students of being agricultural graduates and professionals.

Dr R.K. Mittal, Asst.Director General (EQR), ICAR in his remarks added that by now most of AUs have implemented the revised course curricula including Postgraduate courses. He informed about the new initiative of ICAR in funding one time grant for modernizing the SAU’s farms.
While delivering inspiring speech, the Secretary (DARE) and Director General, ICAR; Dr S.Ayyappan opined that this conference gives the best opportunity to analyze the impact of initiatives taken up by the ICAR in the field of agricultural higher education viz., RAWEP, Experiential Learning, Niche Area of Excellence, Modernization of Agricultural University Farms (AU Farms), Revision of the course curricula, quality reforms etc. The following issues were highlighted by him.

  • The initiative of modernization of the AU farms should focus should on creating a model farm with unique infrastructure facilities to serve as a model to the young professionals.
  • Efforts are needed to make Agricultural higher education attractive talented to the students.
  • Investment in agriculture is to be increased as the returns to investment are very high in agriculture.
  • Capacity building programmes are to be formulated at various levels. Initially, a modular training programme on leadership and management is planned for the Faculty Deans by NAARM, Hyderabad.
  • Agricultural Universities should exploit the online access of over 2000 journals available under Consortium for e-resources for Agriculture (CeRA).
  • To improve and maintain standard of education, priority should be accorded to accreditation of SAUs, colleges, implementing NET and syllabi updation on a continuation basis.
  • Develop international linkages and establish the enterprises to infuse efficiency in crop production activities at affordable cost for small and medium farmers.
  • Re-thinking is necessary in implementing optimal mode of teaching methodologies through ICT.
  • About 50% of the posts are vacant in most of the Universities and Vice-Chancellors should approach the State governments for filling the vacant positions. Examine the possibility of filling 25% posts through all India cadre.
  • Assessment of Human Resources requirement and impact assessment is to be done for each and every State. Format for getting credible information is to be developed.
  • The Deans meet would be an annual event here after to have a meaningful dialogue.

Dr M.V. Rao raised the following issues:

  • Second Green Revolution must include rainfed agriculture through enhancement of the productivity and by minimizing the post harvest loses.
  • Diverse in secondary agriculture to accommodate the rural population profitability .Still 30% of the population is below poverty line.
  • Maintenance of quality of Soil, Water and Air in the agro-ecosystem must be ensured.
  • Inclusion of WTO related issues, IPR, Codex standards etc in the course curricula and called up of the VC’s and Deans to get involved in active teaching.
  • Need to review of the land grant model which, in USA has diversified. He lamented the narrow approach of excluding non-agricultural streams in the student enrolment. While the world is witnessing consolidation of Universities and companies, we witness increased fragmentation of Aus into Horticulture, Veterinary etc.,

Dr C. Devakumar Assistant Director- General (Education, Planning & Development), ICAR in his vote of thanks hailed Hyderabad as the agriculture knowledge city and appreciated the ICAR – Agricultural Universities axis practised in the city.

(Source : Education Division, ICAR)