Boost farm education
M. S. Bajwa

THE ever-increasing pace of technological revolution, national emphasis on agro-processing and value addition, increasing farm mechanisation, the growing need of treating agriculture as a commercial activity and emerging competitive global economic environment all call for the vitalisation of agricultural education-technology-business relationship.

Don’t cram, understand
K. K. Garg and Mehak Garg

THE way our students are examined in term-end exams keeps them busy cramming, thinking of missing classes throughout the year. This is true at almost all levels, ranging from school to college to universities. To a large extent, board exams have been and are still considered a formality.





Boost farm education
M. S. Bajwa

THEever-increasing pace of technological revolution, national emphasis on agro-processing and value addition, increasing farm mechanisation, the growing need of treating agriculture as a commercial activity and emerging competitive global economic environment all call for the vitalisation of agricultural education-technology-business relationship.

In fact, the collaborative efforts of farm scientists having state-of-the-art knowledge and creative industry, including agro-industry, can help in combining biological, engineering, biotechnological, nano-technological, chemical and other related sciences for achieving future breakthroughs in the production of high-quality commercialisable agro-products and agro-economic growth. However, the importance of these linkages has yet to be adequately appreciated.

As of now, the interaction between farm universities and industries is inadequate. This interaction is almost absent at school and college levels. At the farm university level, these linkages have mainly remained developmental type and limited to the testing of various kinds of agro-chemicals (fertilisers, pesticides, growth regulators), farm implements, industrial byproducts and pollutants, green and glass houses.

Some know-how is also provided to encourage agro-related enterprises such as farm machine industry, oil extraction, textile and sugar industry, fruit and vegetable processing, etc. The industry has so far largely ignored farm education and sponsoring of cutting-edge farm research in the country for finding solutions to their problems, upgrading indigenous agro-processing methods or for developing internationally acceptable new agro-products, processes, agrochemicals, farm implements, etc.

The industry also does not prefer to suitably employ farm-trained graduates because agricultural education and training programmes are not adequately designed to satisfy the requirements of industry and business. So, effective bridging of gaps in farm education-industry relationships is crucial to resolve these issues.

It is time to realise that farm education-industry collaboration will be mutually beneficial through the rapid integration of new knowledge, experiences and technologies. These linkages benefit each other through exchange of information about cost-effective and eco-efficient agro-production and processing, development and efficient management of new hi-tech farming systems, employment requirements and opportunities, international quality standards and bio-safety regulations, and cross-utilisation of facilities such as laboratories, sophisticated and expensive equipment. This interaction will also contribute in developing new and eco-friendly agro-chemicals, efficient farm implements/machines, start-of-the-art agro-processing infrastructure, waste management and pollution control and increasing efficiency of other farm and non-farm activities.

The emerging trends of technological innovations demand our farm scientists and students to get industrial and business exposure so as to enable them to comprehend the competencies, priorities and R&D needs of the industry. Schoolchildren, rural artisans and farmers should get some industrial and business exposure so that they gain through enhancement of their skills, e.g., repair, fabrication, custom hiring and sale of equipment, transfer of technology, employment opportunities, etc.

Similarly, the involvement of industrial representatives in different education, training and research programmes and periodic reviews of syllabi would ensure incorporation of challenging ideas into the course contents. In fact, industry and business will be the main beneficiaries from these linkages due to continuous availability of newer agro-products, processes, technologies and trained human resource. There will also be immense competitive advantages through shortening of time between discovery and agro-commercialisation.

Moreover, farm education-industry linkages will enhance the socio-economic development of the area/region in general, mainly due to skill enhancement, entrepreneurship development, and establishment of many companies and businesses around the institutions. The surrounding community will gain through improvements in indigenous agro-production and value-addition systems, development of agro-economic infrastructure, availability of newer products and processes, expanded labour absorption capacity of farm and non-farm sectors and enhancement in overall socio-economic growth.

Our fund-starved farm universities can gain through capital formation from industry supported collaborative ad-hoc short-term and long-term basic and applied research projects, seminars and workshops, consulting opportunities, demand-driven training to industry's human resource and other activities. The students will gain through industry-sponsored scholarships, internships, hands-on experience and exposure to the business world necessarily required for becoming knowledge-workers and self-employed entrepreneurs.

A central coordinating cell can facilitate industry's access to different education and research programmes and suitable faculty or department for taking up collaborative R&D projects. This cell can also arrange training programmes for small and medium-scale workers, entrepreneurs and industrial representatives and create an employment database, based on need-analysis (skills required) of the industries. It can also offer guidance to faculty members regarding patenting and commercialisation of new technologies, products and processes and maintain liaison with other related public and private sector agencies.

In the emerging era of sustainable globally competitive and commercial agriculture of the 21st century, coordinated efforts of farm education and research system and industry are paramount. However, the policies of both educational institutes and the industry have to be restructured so that collaborators may maintain certain autonomy while remaining interdependent and supportive of the other's professional, entrepreneurial and commercialisation activities.


Don’t cram, understand
K. K. Garg and Mehak Garg

THE way our students are examined in term-end exams keeps them busy cramming, thinking of missing classes throughout the year. This is true at almost all levels, ranging from school to college to universities. To a large extent, board exams have been and are still considered a formality. Something you have to clear and get good grades in because that is what the system says and because you are going to be asked your result at every step in future. The general perception has always been that to get marks in these exams you have to have good memorising power and a neat handwriting rather than understanding the matter.

This is why the competition exams like AIEEE, PMT, and IITJEE have been considered the real benchmarks. Understanding of concepts and applications in real life has not exactly been the strong point of our curriculum. The CBSE has taken giant leap forward by making a beginning in the right direction by announcing changes in the pattern of examination papers of Classes XII and X to assess Higher Order Thinking Skills popularly known as HOTS.

New questions having weightage of around 20 per cent will focus on evaluating the abilities of young students to reason and analyse rather than their memorising power.

This is a very timely step to realise the importance of thinking in training our young minds to cope with ever-changing tomorrow. It looks that we have started respecting the potential of our youngsters. Though the enabling environment provided by the elders is missing, as they see each day on TV that issues are being fought by our leaders on ‘big fights’ rather than thinking together to find solutions. It’s important to guide our young minds to think critically and creatively to compete in the fast-changing world. As knowledge is becoming increasingly perishable, today’s solutions may become tomorrow’s problems and remembered solutions may fail one in life, as it happened with a priest’s son in a story.

As the story goes, there was a priest at a a temple in Japan. One day, he saw that his son was talking to a child. Seeing sadness on the face of his son; when he retuned home, he asked him what had happened. The son replied that he asked the other child that where he was going and got the reply that he would go where his legs took him.

His father said: “Don’t worry I will teach you the answer, go there next day and ask him the same question and when he replies back, ask him ‘what will happen if your legs are broken’.”

The priest’s son was happy that he had learnt the answer well. He met the same child next day but returned again with sad face. When his father asked him what had happened, the child replied that the answer he got from the other child was: “I will go wherever winds will take me.” You did not teach me the answer for that, the child said accusingly.

His father told him not to worry and ask the child next time, “What if the wind stops?” Quite happy to have learnt the answer, the child went back to the school the next day, only to return with a sad look on his face again.

His father was now curious and he asked him: “What happened now?” The child said, “Father, I asked him where he was going and he said ‘I am going to buy vegetables’. He is a cheat. He changes his answer each time.”

If we want that life does not cheat our future generations as it ‘cheated’ the priest’s son, we should take understanding as a serious activity at all levels of education. An enabling environment with proper training of teachers should be created to take care that the purpose of teaching is not defeated by help books and tuitions centres flooding the market with ready-made answers.




Centre for Distance Education, North Eastern Hill University, NEHU Bijni Complex, Laitumkhrah, Shillong 793022 (Megh) Ph: (0364) 2226822

1) Certificate Course in Floriculture (6 months, Distance) 2) General Course in Floriculture (6 weeks, Distance)


For 1: Bachelors Degree For 2: Non Graduates

Application Form: Send Rs.150/- by DD / Bankers Cheque favouring “NEHU, Shillong,” to the Head, Centre for Distance Education at the above address / Download from website.

Details: Employment News (16 – 22 February 2008)

Application Deadline: 15 March 2008

Arts Performing

Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute, EM Bypass Road, PO Panchasayar, Kolkata 700094 (WB)

Short Term Course in Audiography (Sound Recording)

Eligibility: 10+2 / Class 10 with 1 year experience in any branch of Film Making Selection: Telephonic Interview (For outstation candidates)

Application Form: Send Rs 1000/- by crossed DD favoring “Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute, Kolkata” payable at Kolkata to the above address by 29 February 2008.

Details: Website

Application Deadline: 31 March 2008


Advanced Training Institute, Sion, Mumbai 400022 (Mah) (M/o Labour & Employment, GoI)

Supervisory Course in “Operation & Maintenance of Chemical Plants” (6 months + 1 month in-plant training)

Eligibility: Diploma in (Chemical / Mechanical / Electrical Engg) / BSc with Chemistry as the principle subject / National Apprenticeship Certificate in Chemical Trades / AOCP / MMCP / IMCP / LACP. Age: 18-40 years

Application Form: Download from website.

Details: Employment News (16 – 22 February 2008) / Website

Application Deadline: 29 February 2008

Guru Jambheshwar University of Science & Technology, Hisar 125001 (Har)

PhD (Comp Sc & Engg, Electonics & Comm Engg/VLSI Ds, Environ Sc & Engg, Chem, Math, Appl Phys, Food Tech, Bio & Nano Tech)

Selection: Entrance Test: 12 March 2008

Scholarship: Rs 18,000/- pm; Contingency Grant: Rs 5,000/-

Application Forms & Details: Website

Application Deadline: 03 March 2008

Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering & Technology, Longowal, District Sangrur 148106 (Punj)

Modular Courses in Engineering & Technology 1) Certificate (2 years): Servicing & Maintenance of Electronics Instruments / Computer Application / Food Technology / Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration / Foundry & Forging / Tool & Die Technology / Auto & Farm Machinery / Welding Tech / Servicing & Maintenance of Medical Instruments / Maintenance of (Electrical Equipments / Television) / Paper & Printing Technology 2) Diploma (2 years): Chemical Tech / Computer Science & Engg / Computer Science & Applications / Electronics & Communication Engg / Food Technology / Foundry Technology / Instrumentation Process Control / Industrial Production Engineering / Maintenance & Plant Engg / Welding Technology 3) Degree Programmes (3 years): Chemical Tech (with specialisation in Paper / Polymer Tech) / Computer Science & Engg / Electronics & Communication Engg / Food Tech / Instrumentation Engg / Mechanical Engg (with specialisation in Welding Technology / Manufacturing Engg) / IT 4) MTech (2 years): Manufacturing System Engg / Food Engg & Tech / Instrumentation & Control Engg / Polymer Tech


For 1: Class 10 (Science, Maths, English). For 2: Class 12 (PCM) / Certificate holders of SLIET For 3: Diploma holders of SLIET / Polytechnics affiliated with State Board of Technical Education. For 4: BE / BTech Selection: SLIET Entrance Test: 22 June 2008

Application Form: Send Rs 350/- by DD favouring “Director, SLIET” payable at Longowal / Sangrur to the above address.

Details: Website.

Application Deadline: 30 April 2008


The National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC) Ltd, Okhla Industrial Estate, Phase III, New Delhi 110020 (GoI)

1) CAD / CAM / CNC, Multimedia Courses 2) Electronics Courses 3) Computer Courses 4) Short Term Courses (3 months) 5 Certificate Course for Advance Workman (1 year) 6 Rural Artisan Courses (1 year)

Selection: First-come-first-serve basis.

Details: Employment News (16 - 22 February 2008)


Indian Law Institute, Bhagwandas Road, New Delhi 110001 /

Online Certificate Course on Intellectual Property Rights & Information Technology in Internet Age (3 months)

Application Form & Details: Website.

Application Deadline: 14 March 2008