Distance education offer inspite of ban – UAS, Bengaluru

Distance education offer inspite of ban – UAS, Bengaluru

Distance education is offered by University of Agricultural sciences, Bengaluru despite ban by University Grant Commission.  According to university there is no compromise on quality as practical’s are conducted.

Agricultural science education – Distance education :

Agricultural Education is the teaching of agriculture, natural resources, and land management. At higher levels, agricultural education is primarily undertaken to prepare students for employment in the agricultural sector.

Through agricultural education, students are provided opportunities for leadership development, personal growth and career success. Agricultural education instruction is delivered through three major components:

  • Classroom/Laboratory instruction (contextual learning)
  • Supervised Agricultural Experience programs (work-based learning)
  • Student leadership organizations (National FFA Organization, National Young Farmer Educational Association and National Post-secondary Agricultural Student Organization).

Distance education :

Distance education or long-distance learning is the education of students who may not always be physically present at a school.  Traditionally, this usually involved correspondence courses wherein the student corresponded with the school via post.

Today it involves online education. Courses that are conducted (51 percent or more) are either hybrid, blended or 100% distance learning. 

Massive open online courses  (MOOCs), offering large-scale interactive participation and open access through the World Wide Web or other network technologies, are recent developments in distance education. 

A number of other terms (distributed learning, e-learning, online learning, virtual classroom etc.) are used roughly with distance education.

University correspondence courses :

The University of London was the first university to offer distance learning degrees, establishing its External Program in 1858. The background to this innovation lay in the fact that the institution (later known as University College, London was non-denominational and, given the intense religious rivalries at the time, there was an outcry against the “godless” university.

Internet technology has enabled many forms of distance learning through open educational resources and facilities such as  e-learning and MOCCs. 

Although the expansion of the Internet blurs the boundaries, distance education technologies are divided into two modes of delivery: Synchronous learning and asynchronous learning.

University of Agricultural sciences, Bengaluru :

University of Agricultural Sciences Bengaluru, a premier institution of agricultural education and research in the country, began as a small agricultural research farm in 1899 on 30 acres of land donated by Her Excellency Maharani Kempa Nanjammanni Vani Vilasa Sannidhiyavaru, the Regent of Mysore and appointed Dr. Lehmann, German Scientist to initiate research on soil crop response with a Laboratory in the Directorate of Agriculture.

Later under the initiative of the Dewan of Mysore Sir M. Vishweshwaraiah, the Mysore Agriculture Residential School was established in 1913 at Hebbal which offered Licentiate in Agriculture and later offered a diploma program in agriculture during 1920. The School was upgraded to Agriculture College.

In 1946 which offered four year degree programs in Agriculture. The Government of Mysore headed by Sri. S. Nijalingappa, the then Chief Minister, established the University of Agricultural Sciences on the pattern of Land Grant College system of USA and the University of Agricultural Sciences Act No. 22 was passed in Legislative Assembly in 1963. Dr. Zakir Hussain, the Vice President of India inaugurated the University on 21st August 1964.

Origin of University of Agricultural sciences in Bengaluru :

The rulers of Mysore kingdom ( The Wodeyars) felt the need to establish research units in the field of agriculture and donated about 30 acres (120,000 m2) of land to set up an Experimental Agricultural Station at Hebbal and appointed German chemist Lehmann to initiate research on soil crop response with Laboratory in the Directorate of Agriculture around 1900.

Later in 1906, Leslie Coleman,  a Canadian  Entomologist and Mycologist succeeded Lehmann and served for 25 years

Growth of UAS – Distance education :

The University began its academic activities by offering in degree programs in Agriculture and Veterinary disciplines. Later degree program in Fisheries science was added with the establishment of Fishery college at Mangalore.

Due to need for horticulture specialization, degree program in Horticulture was added with the establishment of Horticulture college at Mudigere. The degree program in Dairy science was added by starting the Dairy Science College, at Hebbal.

The Department of Agricultural Marketing and Cooperation was newly created which commenced the degree program in Agricultural Marketing and Cooperation.

The new college of Forestry in Ponnampet, South Kodagu, offered the degree program in Forestry, the new college of Sericulture at Chintamani offered the degree program in Sericulture. The Chintamani campus also offers BSc(Agri) program from 2007.

The Department of Agricultural Engineering offered the Bachelors degree in Agricultural Engineering. This heralded ruralization of education utilizing the facilities in the already existing Agricultural Research Stations.

Distance education unit at UAS :

The University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru took a lead in starting the correspondence course during the year 1974, on production technologies. To motivate the participant farmers to adopt such knowledge gainfully in their field.

The Directorate of Extension in consultation with the concerned scientists of University designs the correspondence courses with suitable syllabus in vernacular language (Kannada).

The Directorate of Extension also facilitating contact classes for Post Graduate Diploma in Agricultural Extension Management (PGDAEM) of MANAGE, Hyderabad and offering Post Graduate Diploma in Agriculture (PGDA) and One Year Diploma in Agriculture.

Besides, certificate courses: Organic Farming, Integrated Farming System and Post-harvest Management of Food grains, fruits and vegetables for the benefit of farmers.

The University started Distance Education Unit (DEU) in the Directorate of Extension during 2012 combining all the non-formal education activities under one umbrella.

Mandate :

  • To diffuse technical “Know-how” to the literate farmers.
  • To disseminate information at convenient time and place of the farmers.
  • To teach farmers who are residing at remote places.
  • To provide technologies to the famers.
  • To encourage Distance Education in Agriculture

Activities :

  • Identifying the topics for the course in consultation with scientists.
  • Developing syllabus and notes in vernacular language (Kannada).
  • Publicity of courses through media for farming community.
  • Registration & providing lesson wise course materials to participants regularly.
  • Collecting feedback and evaluation.
  • Issuing certificates after the completion.

University Grant Commission’s ban – Distance education :

The University Grants Commission of India  (UGC India) is a statutory body set up by the Indian Union government in accordance to the UGC Act 1956  under Ministry of Human Resource Development,  and is charged with coordination, determination and maintenance of standards of higher education.  

It provides recognition to universities in India, and disbursements of funds to such recognized universities and colleges. Its headquarters is in New Delhi and has six regional centres in Pune, Bhopal, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Guwahati and Bengaluru.

UGC is modelled after University Grants Committee of UK which was an advisory committee of the British government and advised on the distribution of grant funding amongst the British universities. The committee was in existence from 1919 until 1989.

University Grant Commission’s ban  – Distance education :

The higher education regulator in India UGC had banned agriculture courses from distance education and open universities.  The grounds for ban is that a degree program in agricultural field requires technical guidance and requires practical’s or laboratory classes. 

To protect the student’s interests who have enrolled for the agricultural degree programs, the UGC has requested the Indian council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) for hand-holding higher education colleges and institutions offering the distance education program.

The UAS is conducting distance education programs at weekends.  UAS does not have study centres. It is conducting practical classes for the candidates. This program is conducted like any other normal course.

The UGC has banned distance education courses saying there will be no practical exposure to the students.

The UAS is planning to take this tissue to the ICAR (Indian Council of Agriculture Research) for remedial measures. The UAS curriculum will be presented in front of UGC to take permission.,

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