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ICAR & World Bank Organizes Int’l Conf on 'Blended Learning Ecosystem for Higher Education in Agriculture'

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and World Bank organising first International Conference on 'Blended Learning Ecosystem for Higher Education in Agriculture' in India as part of the National Agricultural Higher Education Project (NAHEP) at NASC, Delhi.

Shivam Dwivedi
'Blended learning will be Amrit for us in this Amritkal'- Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Agriculture Minister
'Blended learning will be Amrit for us in this Amritkal'- Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Agriculture Minister

The three-day ongoing event, which will be held in New Delhi from March 21-23, organised by ICAR - IASRI (Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute), which is a multi-partner global forum to support collaboration for the development of a cutting-edge blended education system for higher agricultural education.

The purpose of this conference is to enable the establishment of a global ecosystem of partners from academia, industry, government, and multilateral and bilateral organisations who can provide key insight into the design and full integration of all facets of the Resilient Agricultural Education System (RAES) under the National Agricultural Higher Education Project (NAHEP), including a learning management system, a content repository, and system-wide capacity building. Aside from the stimulating conversations, the three-day event will also feature an expo on the varied spectrum of agricultural services and offerings, as well as blended learning.

Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, formally inaugurated the conference. Numerous other ministries, as well as world-class organisations such as AICTE, IIT, and IRRI, among others, took part. 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 are among the distinguished speakers at the conference.

Addressing the conference, Tomar said, "Blended learning will be Amrit for us in this Amritkal. Blended learning is an important step forward for our country. ICAR is a successful organisation. It is a source of tremendous joy that ICAR has expanded its wings so broadly in terms of technology and agriculture. We must emphasise the significance of digitization. Online learning technologies are desperately needed for the development of education in India."

"According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the agriculture sector in India contributes 17-18% of the Gross Value (GVA) added to the economy and employs more than 40% of the workforce," said 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.

"Farmers are implementing new technologies to boost crop health and output. True blended learning adoption has enormous potential and has the capacity to propel the agriculture industry to new heights. This Integrated Learning Environment would also improve the other Researches and higher education along with Agriculture. "India will become a developed country by 2047," he added.

"The extremely surprising figure is that after the introduction of the Blended Learning Ecosystem for Higher Education in Agriculture, placements increased by 40%," stated Oliver Braedt, Director of the World Bank's Sustainable Development Program.

"Blended learning will encourage students to pursue higher education with zeal. We should make technology more available to kids so that they can benefit from the ecosystem," said J C Katyal Former DDG & VC of Hissar Agricultural University.

"Those who want to engage in technology and innovation will embrace blended learning because it promises a better education system," stated Sidas Saulynas, lecturer at the University of Maryland's Information Systems Department in Maryland, USA.

The conference is structured around a number of themes, including modern agricultural education curricula & techniques for blended teaching and learning, as well as technologies for blended learning, sustainability in the blended learning ecosystem, and stakeholder capacity building.

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