Learning with the radio

THE TAMIL Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS), Chennai, through its Directorate of Extension Education, has been organising Farm Radio programmes that provide additional educational inputs to students of agriculture and veterinary science and help youth in general to take up animal husbandry.

The farm radio programmes are conducted daily through All India Radio, Chennai, and its regional centres.

A variety of topics are chosen based on what students of agriculture, veterinary science can use in their curriculum and the needs of farmers. The Farm Radio Officer or the Programme Executives of the Farm and Home division help with the choice.

The Director of Extension Education identifies suitable resource persons in Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, nationalised banks, insurance companies, marketing agencies and other experts from different disciplines to prepare the lessons for 15 minutes.

Says Dr. F.R. Sheriff, Director of Extension Education, TANUVAS, Madhavaram, Chennai, "Usually, this programme is slotted for a period of three months (13 weeks). Announcements are made on radio, inviting students to enrol themselves in the programme, which is not just aimed at the veterinary or agricultural students but in general for the entire student-farming community. Any person interested can register with us."

"The date of the programme differs in various laces like Chennai, Tiruchi, Ooty and Thanjavur. Interested students can enrol themselves by paying Rs. 10 in the name of Director of Extension Education by way of money order directly. Or, they can pay the amount to any one of the three Training Centres at Tiruvarur, Theni, Kancheepuram, two Krishi Vigyan Kendras at Kundrakudi, Kattupakkam and 16 Veterinary University Training and Research Centres at Coimbatore, Dindigul, Erode, Karur, Madurai, Melmaruvathur Nagerkoil, Neyveli, Pudukottai, Rajapalayam, Salem, Thanjavur, Thiruchirapalli, Tirunelveli, Tirupur and Vellore affiliated to Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University and they in turn subsequently transfer the money to the office of the Director of Extension Education, Chennai.

"Usually the programme is scheduled on a quarterly basis starting from either January to March, or April to June or July to September or October to December. The broadcast is done on Wednesdays between 7.00 and 7.15 p.m. and re-broadcast on Sundays between 2.15 and 2.30 p.m. The topic is divided into 13 lessons and each lesson is taught on air by a suitable resource person," according to Dr. Sheriff.

At the end of each lesson, the registered students are given a question on air that they must answer by post. The answers are evaluated on a weekly basis. After completing the broadcast of all 13 lessons, a contact session is arranged for one day in the veterinary colleges/stations/centres/private community halls.

"An exhibition is arranged during such contact sessions to highlight the practical elements to be learnt, skill demonstrations are held and hands-on training is given to students. Sometimes students interact with former successful beneficiaries of farm radio. The contact session also provides an opportunity for the students to assess what they have read and heard by way of raising several queries to the resource person. Participants are given a book at a minimal price containing all the lessons that were broadcast. A certificate is also awarded to them.

At present, the regular programme is put on hold because of paucity of funds in the university. The farm and home division of All India Radio is insisting on sponsorships.

As an alternative, lessons are being broadcast for 30 minutes through the recently established Gyan Vani of Prasar Bharti. The Gyan Vani has provided 30 minutes duration per alternate week to the TANUVAS for broadcast of scientific information.

M.J. Prabu

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