INDIA - In order to provide low-cost, high-quality agricultural education opportunities for agricultural professionals in the country, India’s first ever Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in agriculture has been opened for registration.
The course starts from February 9 to April 6, 2015. The course is through the National Virtual Academy of Indian Agriculture, an initiative of a team of ICT and agriculture experts and educators from the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), with its global headquarters in Hyderabad, and partners together with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay.
The free online course was announced on February 2, 2015 by Dr MS Swaminathan, Father of India's Green Revolution and Emeritus Chair of the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF).
“I am happy to announce the launch of this first ever MOOCs for agricultural professionals – a timely initiative as knowledge revolution is the need of the hour,” Dr MS Swaminathan said.
“The course could significantly push the bar for quality online education to meet the requirements specifically of India’s agricultural education system, where available resources are scarce relative to the extremely large audience – in a country where more than 70 per cent of the population is involved in agriculture directly or indirectly,” Dr MS Swaminathan said while announcing the opening of the course.
“Global educational institutions are increasingly adopting MOOCs and given India’s need for reaching out to largest possible number of learners, MOOCs are seen as the best way forward to ensure quality agricultural education,” Dr David Bergvinson, Director General, ICRISAT said.
Dr Peter Carberry, Deputy Director General - Research, ICRISAT said, “There is an increased interest across the globe in recent years to strengthen agriculture education, bringing together all ideas and innovation in agriculture to tackle the problem of feeding the world’s poorest of the poor.”
“MOOCs is part of an exciting journey to broaden global partnership in offering various high-quality agriculture courses aimed at creating hunger fighters to tackle the zero-hunger challenge for a food-secure future,” Dr Dileepkumar Guntuku, Global Leader, Knowledge Sharing and Innovation and Director for Center of Excellence in ICT Innovations for Agriculture, ICRISAT stressed.
The launch of the National Virtual Academy for Indian Agriculture to promote MOOCs in agriculture is a regional initiative of the new global education consortium, One Agriculture – One Science (http://www.oneagriculture.org).