ANGRAU thinking of offering job-oriented capsule courses

HYDERABAD, JULY 20. The Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University (ANGRAU) is contemplating offering diploma and certificate courses in areas connected with agriculture from this academic year.

These job-oriented capsule courses would be subject-specific and would be of immense help to the candidates who cannot take up higher education and yet want to specialise in certain areas, according to the Vice-Chancellor, ANGRAU, Dr. I.V.Subba Rao.

At a press conference here, the Vice-Chancellor highlighted the various achievements of the University in the light of it being adjudged as the best agricultural institution in the country, among the 30-odd such institutions, by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) for the year 1999. The Agriculture Minister, Mr. Nitish Kumar, presented the award to the Vice- Chancellor recently.

Stating that the award was a great honour, Dr. Subba Rao pointed out that the ICAR had in fact, suggested to all the Agricultural Universities to follow the path adopted by the ANGRAU in research and in introducing innovative programmes.

Introduction of semester system, ten-point grading system, and external examinations are some of the innovations that are being talked of now by the Universities. But ANGRAU had introduced them 10 years ago apart from successfully implementing them. The "Self Study Report for Accreditation", prepared by the ANGRAU was being suggested as a model report for all the Universities to follow, he said.

Another unique programme that the ICAR was extremely impressed with was the Rural Agricultural Work Experience Programme (RAWEP), which makes it mandatory for students to stay in villages and work in tandem with the farmers for one full semester of 100-110 working days. Impressed by the programme, the ICAR had asked all other universities to adopt this and had promised to provide a stipend of Rs. 750 to each student during this period, the Vice-Chancellor revealed.

Dr. Rao said ANGRAU had produced the first hybrid rice variety in the country and was second only to China in the world to have achieved this unique feat. The University had so far released 268 improved high yielding crop varieties, which are popular not only in the country but in many other countries too.

To a query, the Vice-Chancellor admitted that the crop area had diminished over the years but the production of foodgrains had gone up. He felt there was nothing wrong in trying out the pest- resistant varieties developed by private institutions. However, the tests should not be conducted in farmers' fields, he said referring to the controversial Monsanto case.