Synthesising modern and indigenous management skills, Karnataka Folklore University is offering an MBA in rural management

Do we always have to depend on borrowed knowledge to solve our problems? Do we need to adapt a technique or a solution just because it has been tested successfully abroad? Is it not time we evolve our own strategy to solve problems that have their roots in the local system? Thinkers have been asking these questions for decades. Some have even gone ahead with their own native methods to offer solutions and such thinking is gradually being accepted.

The concept of rural development has always been a tricky issue with native people often unable to find solutions with borrowed methods. This has prompted the State’s only folklore university, Karnataka Folklore University, located at Gotagodi in Shiggaon taluk of Haveri district, to come up with a course that plans to derive its ideas from its roots for solving the problems of the land.

“In spite of six decades of modern education more than 70 per cent of the population depends on its inherited skills to earn its livelihood. These people use their inherited skills both in agriculture and non-agriculture activities. They manage their activities with meagre resources pertaining to land, water, finance, and raw materials. But our education in general and management education in particular never thinks that there are lessons to be learnt from the experiences of these people,” says Chandra Pujari, Dean, Karnataka Folklore University.

The university’s MBA in Rural Management is an attempt to bridge the gap between people’s experiences and classroom teaching. It intends to apply modern management principles to solve their problems and also to understand the management practices of these people. “This course intends to synthesise modern and indigenous management skills,” says Mr. Pujari.

Syllabus

Just like any other university’s MBA this MBA also has five papers in each semester. Papers of the first semester introduce the students to our polity, economy, society and culture. The second semester covers basic principles of functional areas of management such as finance, marketing, production and human resources. The third and fourth semester focus on management of agriculture, non-agricultural activities, local environment and resource management and related issues. The local environment subject deals with sanitation in general and solid and liquid management in particular. Water conservation, water harvesting, and recycling of used waste are dealt with under resource management.

Any graduate in arts and humanities, science, engineering, business administration, financial administration, or technology is eligible for admission to this MBA in Rural Management. The university will offer admission on the basis of the academic record of the candidate and reservation policy of the State. The aptitude and commitment of a student for the grassroot society will also be considered.

The university is trying to play down the euphoria surrounding the MBA programmes among the student community. “Any student joining an MBA course will come with preoccupied notions about having a white collar job in a multi-national company at the end of the course. Here we are not promising them that. Our objective is to promote rural entrepreneurship,” says Vice-Chancellor Ambalike Hiriyanna.

According to him, the objective of the course is to integrate the folk or rural practices with the principles of management, to manage rural resources for rural management, to focus on farm and non-farm activities in rural areas and ultimately encourage the rural folk to take up entrepreneurship. “Our objective is that at the end of the course, the student should be able to practice whatever he has learnt in his village and become self-reliant. And to ensure the same we have included a paper on Gandhian Principles in the course.”

“The Department of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj can always take the services of graduates who have done a course in rural management. We will request the department to consider them for various responsibilities as they will be the best suited for the works related to rural development. Moreover there are several non-governmental organisations working in rural areas, where the subject expertise of these postgraduates will be of immense use,” says Prof. Pujari. The other avenue would be companies which have to spend a certain percentage of their earnings under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

The University is trying to provide as much practical exposure to the students as possible. And for the purpose it has already proposed to adopt ‘Kayaka Nagar’ at Narendra near Dharwad for developing an artisans’ village and convert it into a workshop for the MBA students.

For more details, visit the Karnataka Folklore University at Gotagodi on National Highway No. 4, Shiggaon Taluk, Haveri District, Karnataka. Pincode: 581205. Call 08378-217106/217066, or write to kajavivi@gmail.com or visit www.janapadauni.in.