GUWAHATI, March 22: The International Conference on Blended Learning Ecosystem for Higher Education in Agriculture 2023 was hosted jointly by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the World Bank from March 21 to 23 as part of the National Agricultural Higher Education Project’s (NAHEP) Resilient Agricultural Education System (RAES) development initiative has more than ten academic partners from around the world representing over ten countries deliberating on the best strategies in blended teaching and learning in agricultural education.
A Blended Learning Platform focused on improving Digital Infrastructure across Agricultural Higher Education Institutions (A-HEIs) was unveiled by ICAR and World Bank to strengthen the deployment of immersive technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR)/Virtual Reality (VR) Experiences and Virtual Classrooms.
About 1,000 students and 450 faculty members from 20 agricultural universities have completed international training at 89 institutes in 27 countries in 160 subjects under NAHEP to date. More than 900 experiential learning units where students can get hands-on experience for six months and become proficient in subjects as diverse as genomics and tea processing have been set up at various universities. The digital content repository has more than 160 digitized courses and faculty members have uploaded more than 10000 videos.
Addressing the Conference, Chief Guest and Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar stated, “Since the past five years, the ICAR has reached a new height. When we launched Krishi Megh nobody knew it would act as a game-changer during the pandemic as it did not let India’s education system be as adversely affected as other countries. I believe even in the future; it will help us in achieving many new accolades. Blended learning and the agricultural sector will help India in becoming a developed nation status by 2047. Agriculture, which is the backbone of India’s economy, can thrive with limited funding due to technology and knowledge.”
Dr. Himanshu Pathak, Secretary Department of Agriculture Research and Education (DARE) and Director General (ICAR) said, “I would like to thank the World Bank for being a committed partner to the Government of India. I believe it will further promote research and education. By 2047, India will become a developed nation as per our PM Narendra Modi’s vision. To address the challenges of climate change and low productivity, education will play a crucial role. Our young students and scientists need to be equipped to combat all problems and experiment to learn new things which can be done through a blended learning ecosystem.”