Varsity creating its unique path in modern agri-education: Former VC Prof Tej Pratap
Srinagar, Feb 19: Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir organised a seminar on ‘Implementation of National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 by Agricultural Institutions’ for deans, directors, HODs, professors and other officers of the university.
Vice Chancellor, GB Pant University of Agriculture and Technology Pantnagar, Prof Tej Pratap, and Vice Chancellor, SKUAST-K, Prof Nazir Ahmad Ganai, conducted the workshop to acquaint the SKUAST-K academics and office bearers with the various objectives and implementation process of NEP-20 by the agricultural institutions.
Prof Pratap, who is also chairman of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) committee set up for the implementation of NEP-20 in agricultural universities and heads the 6th Deans Committee for modification of farm education curriculums as per the new education policy, gave a detailed overview on the changing role and preparedness of agricultural institutions into multidisciplinary professional and skill universities as envisioned in the NEP-20.
He said the courses offered by agriculture varsities will have a more flexible structure and will be encouraged to become inter-disciplinary with flexibility in choosing vocational courses as the ICAR is working to bring agricultural education in line with the vision of the new policy unveiled by the Centre.
While preparing the students for creativity, critical thinking and conflict of perceptions, Prof Pratap said, NEP aims to enhance student employability by equipping them with different skills to overcome the challenge of unemployment.
Prof Tej Pratap, who also served as the vice-chancellor of SKUAST-K from 2010 to 2015, while complementing the university for its overall development over the years, said he is happy to see the university growing in each aspect of agricultural education, be it research, extension, academics, or innovations.
After listening to Vice Chancellor Prof Ganai about the SKUAST-K’s institutional development plan and its vision related to the implementation of NEP-20, Prof Tej Pratap said, “There are very few institutions in the country, who are at the level of thinking for creating its own path, the way SKUAST-K has envisioned its unique path in modern agri-education. This is beyond NEP. And this is the way forward.”
Prof Ganai gave a detailed overview of the varsity’s institutional development plan for making SKUAST-K a preferred Agri-Education destination and to develop a model education system to generate the next-gen graduates who will steer technology-driven agriculture in J&K and the country.
Drawing parallelism between NEP and the IDP of SKUAST-K, the vice chancellor said the university under the NAHEP had embarked on a mission to create an inspiring ecosystem for outcome-based learning to foster creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial aptitude.
Prof Ganai said SKUAST-K has already got approval for establishing the innovation and entrepreneurship centre and AI&ML Centre for fostering startups and tech-based solutions for agriculture.
Besides scientists and scholars, all the directors, deans HoDs, professors and adminstrative officers of the varsity attended the seminar.
NIRF-2023 ranking: SKUAST-K 9th best agri institute in country
Srinagar, June 5: Further enhancing its rising graph of accomplishments, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir has secured ninth best agriculture institute rank in the country assessed under the National Institutional Ranking Framework-2023 of Union Ministry of Education.
The ranking and results of the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF)-2023 were announced by the Minister of State for Education and External Affairs, Dr Rajkumar Ranjan Singh in New Delhi on Monday.
In the category of ‘Agriculture and Allied Sectors, SKUAST-K is the fourth state agricultural university (SAU) which has figured among the top 10 farm institutions of the country along with IARI, NDRI, IVRI, and CIFE with a total score of 59.50. This recognition has further solidified the university’s upward trajectory of success placing it in the league of elite agricultural institutions of the country.
The NIRF ranking is the third successive national-level achievement of the SKUAST-K after being declared the country’s 6th best state agricultural university by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and categorised as the ‘Band Excellent’ under Atal Innovation Ranking last year.
Vice Chancellor, SKUAST-K, Prof Nazir Ahmad Ganai, complimented the faculty, students, and non-teaching staff of the university for the tireless efforts they are making in achieving the highest standards in research, innovation and education, the reason for getting the top rank. Calling it the result of teamwork, he said, “This is the beginning of the new era and we aim to be among the top five agri-institutions of the country.”
SKUAST-K has taken a lead role in evolving a working model of NEP-2020 as well as projecting itself as a potential destination for higher education. The improved ranking is a result of the improvement of academic standards and achievements of faculty and students at national and international levels.
Classrooms brim with learning anew
CRY-RILM project unites kids with books
Inayat Parvaiz was a decent student in school, till the pandemic struck. His father, the only earning member in the five-member family, lost his job and was struggling to make ends meet. The young boy was forced to join his brother at a sand digging/extraction site near his village, Baniyaree Sharkie, in the Bandipora district of Jammu and Kashmir.
Inayat is among the millions of children across the country going through a huge learning lag, all because of the prolonged closure of schools during the pandemic. CRY and Rotary India Literacy Mission (RILM) carried out a study based on responses of 4000 children, in the age group of 7-14, from 4 states in the country – Jharkhand, West Bengal, Manipur and Jammu & Kashmir – to assess the quantum of loss, and also started a slew of remedial centres to assist the children make up for the lag. There are 39 such centres across the four states.
The CRY-RILM-Jammu Kashmir Association of Social Workers (JKASW) team identified Inayat as “out of school” and visited his father. They realized that the boy was willing to pursue his studies but could not do so, because of compulsions in his family. Although reluctant at first, his parents decided to let him attend the local Asha Kiran Centre in a flexible manner. He started attending classes and also started participating in various other activities. After his initial assessment, he was enrolled in Level 2 at the Asha Kiran Centre. But regular attendance and diligent efforts meant that the boy made an appreciable improvement. After his final assessment, he was mainstreamed into Class 6 at Govt. Middle school, Gund Prang. He attends school regularly and makes it a point to attend remedial classes at the Asha Kiran Centre to compensate for his deficiencies.
Classrooms brim with learning anew, the CRY-RILM project unites kids with books!
There are nine Asha Kiran Centres in three panchayat blocks of Bandipora district. Of the 565 children who joined these centres, around 16.81 per cent had dropped out of school because of the pandemic and related reasons and 64.8 per cent were found to be officially enrolled in school, but without age-appropriate learning levels. Around 44.1 per cent of the kids were found to be “poor” (learning levels at least two years behind their age-appropriate class) in basic reading skills and 45.1 per cent in basic calculations.
The stark ground reality in J&K mirrors the findings across the three other states in the country. Around 3.9 per cent of the 4000 children had been found to have dropped out because of the pandemic-induced school closure and more than 75 per cent of the children were found to be “poor” in basic reading skills and calculations.
CRY (North) Regional Director Soha Moitra is hopeful that change will happen, step by step. “The learning loss has been unparalleled, the exact ramifications of which will take longer to fathom and make up. In this post-COVID world, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to addressing the educational needs of children from underserved communities. Every community, every child and every context is unique. It is important to adopt and embrace contextually relevant and inclusive approaches that take into consideration the diverse needs and aspirations of children,” Moitra said.
Over the past eight months, the teachers at the Asha Kiran Centres in J&K have managed to bring back the children into some sort of a study environment, with regular classes, innovative Teaching-Learning Methods, extra-curricular activities and more. Students like Inayat, Tawfeeq Ahmed and several others have benefitted enormously from these classes and are showing appreciable improvement in the periodical assessments.
“The post-COVID learning assessment of 4,000 children across 4 states in the country, by CRY and Rotary India Literacy Mission, presents evidence on the severity of the learning losses incurred during school closures, and also charts out a path of recovery, phase by phase. It’s a journey full of lessons and experiences and a sustained campaign that has impacted not only the kids, but also the teachers, volunteers, parents and extended community. Kudos to the ‘change-makers’ who are making it happen,” said Kamal Sanghvi, Chairman, Rotary India Literacy Mission.
Apart from the classes, the project team has held community meetings with teachers of local schools, local panchayat members and parents, all to create a comfortable space that will help the children overcome their learning gaps and get back into mainstream education.
Tawfeeq’s father Javed Ahmed was initially reluctant to send his son to the Asha Kiran Centre. But he is happy that he had finally paid heed to the advice of the project team members who had visited him. A few months on, the proud father says: “Asha Kiran Centre me mera beta bahot kuch sikh raha hai. Use yahan aana achha lagta hai (My son is learning a lot at the Asha Kiran Centre. He loves to come here).”
SKUAST-K to hold 2-day international conference on impact of viral infections
Srinagar, Nov 1: Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir is going to hold a two-day international conference on the impact of viral infections at the Shalimar campus on November 5&6 (Saturday and Sunday), 2022.
The international conference ‘Emerging and Re-emerging Viral Infections Impacting Humans, Animals, Plants, Fish and Environment’ will be part of XXX Annual Convention of the Indian Virological Society to be held at SKUAST-K this year.
Renowned virologists and scientists including, Dr RK Ratho, PGI Chandigarh; Prof Parvaiz A Koul, SKIMS, Soura; Dr Pragya Yadav, NIV, Pune; Prof NN Barman; AAU, Assam; Dr Anirban Roy, IARI, New Delhi; Dr Amit Pandey, Bhimtal; and Dr Manoj Kumar, Hester Biosciences Limited will be keynote speakers at the conference.
The conference on viral infections is being held against the backdrop of the emergence and re-emergence of viral outbreaks like Covid-19, severe liver inflammation in kids, monkeypox, polio, and “tomato flu” etc.
The recent outbreak of the LSD virus has killed over 1 lakh cattle and is still unabated. Each viral disease appears to be the result of unusual manifestations and proliferation of viruses previously known.
The conference on viral infections will bring scientists from different disciplines at National and International levels to discuss preemptive measures for anticipating such outbreaks, control measures to be taken, and readily available diagnostic and therapeutic measures. The keynote speakers will talk about research going on emerging and re-emerging viral diseases and the policies surrounding them.
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