Aus Indian Agriculture collaboration

The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), in collaboration with the Australian Government, hosted a comprehensive and productive roundtable to discuss the learnings from the Australia-India Critical Agriculture Skills Pilot Project. Led by Shri Atul Kumar Tiwari, Secretary, MSDE, and Mr. Mathew Johnston, Minister Counsellor, Education and Research, Australian High Commission, the roundtable focussed on the opportunities that lay beyond in taking the initiative forward, bringing it up to scale and replicating the model to other sectors. Representatives from the National Council for Vocational Education and Training (NCVET), National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR), Ministry of Education (MoE), and Agriculture Skill Council of India (ASCI) were also part of the roundtable.

Envisaged in March last year, the project came to fruition after an extensive process of consultation with experts, government organisations, research organisations, multilateral organisations, non-profit organisations, and industry associations. The scoping study involved face-to-face consultations, virtual consultations with 89 experts from 64 organizations and a review of various government reports. The findings were shared with MSDE and the Australian Government and subsequently 107 emerging job roles were mapped to identify the 5 critical emerging job roles in the agriculture sector for the pilot projects.

The next step was to align qualification standards, which was done by the Agricultural Skill Council of India (ASCI), and Skills Impact (Sector Skill Council equivalent industry body in Australia), in collaboration, to be approved by the National Council for Vocational Education and Training (NCVET).

The six pilot projects nearing completion have been implemented in 4 states, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana with new and emerging job roles in the sector that include Digital Agriculture Extension Promoter, Carbon Farming Practitioner, Livestock Green Management Promoter, Organic Farm & Business Promoter, and Integrated Farming Practitioner. The job roles are aligned with Sustainable Development Goals, primarily climate action, reduced inequalities, quality education and industry, innovation & infrastructure.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Atul Kumar Tiwari said that the collaboration between India and Australia in vocational education and training has delivered on outcomes. He also said that the agriculture sector, which is the backbone of the Indian economy, is of utmost significance for its role in ensuring food security and employment. With sustained efforts such as the Australia-India Critical Agriculture Skills Project, it can be ensured that the sector meets the challenges of modernization and sustainability, he added. Shri Tiwari hoped to continue the momentum and take similar initiatives in many other sectors.

The course content has been developed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Mahindra & Mahindra, Australian College of Agriculture & Horticulture (ACAH), Centre of Sustainable Agriculture (CSA), Ironwood Institute, National Skill Foundation of India (NSFI), Aventia Institute, Aga Khan Rural Support Programme, and Carbon Friendly, in collaboration, for respective job roles.

Australia has been a key partner for India and both countries are working together on capacity building and training, identifying opportunities in key sectors for closer skill cooperation with a particular focus on new-age courses as per the changing needs and demographics across both the Nations. Following NEP 2020, India has come up with new initiatives for promoting internationalization of education that include regulations for Joint/Dual/Twinning degrees and a draft regulation for setting up campuses of foreign universities in India.

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