Implementation of Skill-Based Vocational Agriculture Programmes through Distance Learning Mode: Issues and Challenges
Agriculture is the backbone of the Indian economy and it employs almost 50% of the labour force. The main source of livelihood for more than 80% of the rural poor is agriculture and allied sectors in the country. The human resource development in the field of agriculture plays an important role for sustaining the agriculture production and productivity. Keeping this in view, the School of Agriculture (SOA), established in 2005 at Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), strives for a flagship role in turning the rural unemployed youth to first rate agricultural entrepreneurs and agri-business managers of tomorrow. Since 2006, the school is offering a number of skill based educational programmes through its robust network of Learner Support System i.e. Regional Centers and Study Centers. The school faces a number of challenges in offering these practical based agriculture programmes to the target group in different parts of the country. The study undertaken has identified various issues and challenges related to pedagogy and implementation. The data were collected from the stakeholders involved in implementation of the nine certificate and diploma level programmes of School of Agriculture viz. Regional Centres and Study Centres. The outcome of the present study will aid in improving the implementation strategies for cost effective and sustainable human resource in agriculture and allied sectors through Open and Distance learning mode.