New Delhi, 14 March 2023 | The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), the apex body for co-ordinating, guiding and managing research and education in agriculture, and 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 development of state-of-the-art blended education system for higher agricultural education.
The aim of this conference is to facilitate the development of a global ecosystem of partners from academia, industry, government, and multilateral and bilateral organizations who would provide critical insights towards 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 the Hon’ble Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare. Various other ministries will also be participating along with other global leading institutions like AICTE, IIT, IRRI among others. Eminent speakers addressing the The conference include Dr. Himanshu Pathak, Secretary, Department of Agriculture Research and Education (DARE) and Director General (DG), ICAR, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India, Dr. R.C. Agrawal, Deputy Director General Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India and Dr. Auguste Tano Kouame, Country Director, The World Bank among others.
Dr. Himanshu Pathak, Secretary, Department of Agriculture Research and Education (DARE) and Director General (DG), ICAR, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India, said, “According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), agriculture sector in India contributes 17-18% of the Gross Value (GVA) added 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.’’
According to Dr. R.C. Agrawal, Deputy Director General Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), “The focus of the conference is to strengthen 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 deployment of Resilient Agricultural Education System (RAES) under NAHEP.”
The conference is organised 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 of India, 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 the National Agricultural Education System in the country.