Srinagar, May 12: Vice Chancellors from the country’s top 26 Agriculture Universities (AUs) and institutions along with the top brass of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) are on a two-day visit to Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir to review the IDP component of the World Bank-funded National Agricultural Higher Education Project (NAHEP).
Deputy Director General Education ICAR and National Director NAHEP, Dr RC Agrawal, national coordinators of NAHEP, Dr P Ramasundaram and Dr Hema Tripathi, top officials of ICAR, principal and co-principal investigators from IDP universities and officers are taking part in the annual review meeting, which is being held for the first time, outside ICAR headquarters New Delhi, at Srinagar.
The World Bank-funded NAHEP formulated by ICAR with a total cost of Rs 1100 crore aims to develop resources and mechanisms for supporting infrastructure, faculty and student advancement, and providing means for better governance and management of agricultural universities to raise the standard of current agricultural education in the country. The Institutional Development Plan (IDP) component of NAHEP envisions orienting agricultural education towards entrepreneurship and job creation and bringing it on par with the global agriculture education standards.
SKUAST-K, which was awarded Rs 29-cr grant under the project in 2019, has emerged as a top-performing university and has been described as the torchbearer in achieving the project objectives.
Vice Chancellor, SKUAST-K, Prof Nazir A Ganai, while welcoming the leaders of the country’s top agricultural universities to Kashmir and SKUAST-K, thanked ICAR for supporting the university under NAHEP for re-modelling its agri-education as per global standards to make it industry and farm relevant. He said all agricultural institutions are working for societal transformation, and improving the quality of life of people. Prof Ganai said under the NAHEP universities are re-modelling agricultural education to make the country a ‘Vishwa Guru’ and Knowledge superpower, and the 3rd largest economy in the world.
DDG ICAR Dr RC Agrawal thanked SKUAST-K and Prof Nazir A Ganai for hosting the annual review meeting of NAHEP for 2022-23. He said there has been a sea change in the development of infrastructure, student admissions, faculty and student exposures in the participating universities. The agricultural universities must aim towards financial self-sustainability and climate-smart farming practices, he added.
Dr Ramasundaram, who presented a detailed overview of the project and its achievements, said the IDP-NAHEP has improved the quality of education by building an ambient ecosystem for attracting talented students towards agriculture, improving networking, leveraging technology, developing NextGen human capital through industry linkages, internships and externships and skill development programs. He said the NEP-2020 model of SKUAST-K was highly appreciated by the Lt Governor J&K and by the top brass of ICAR.
OSD to VC, SKUAST-K, and Co-PI IDP-NAHEP, Prof Azmat Alam Khan, presented the progress and achievement of the varsity.
The vice-chancellors and directors of agricultural universities and institutions including those from NDRI Karnal, TANUVAS Chennai, AAU Assam, GBPUAT Pantnagar, OUAT Bhubneshwar, CAU Imphal, UAHS Karnataka, PJTSAU Hyderabad, will be visiting different SKUAST-K faculties, research stations and other facilities to observe the progress made by the university under NAHEP.
At the inaugural session, the Annual Report of SKUAST-K under IDP-NAHEP and the Compendium of International Exchange Programme of GBPUAT, Pantnagar were also released.
The dignitaries also visited the innovators’ exhibition where various stalls were put up to showcase different innovations, products and startups from SKUAST-K faculty and students under NAHEP.