ICAR Team appreciates quality of education but regrets shortfall of faculty at CSKHPAU

A monitoring and Review Team of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) completed its three days visit to CSK Himachal Pradesh Agriculture University, on 20 October. The committee assessed the works undertaken through ICAR development assistance, experiential learning unit(ELU) and Niche Area of Excellence during XII plan and requirements for the next three years.

During the wrap- up meeting with the Vice-Chancellor and Statutory Officers, Dr S.L.Mehta, Chairman of the Committee, appreciated that the development assistance has enabled the university in improving the quality of education which was reflected in increasing number of fellowships bagged by the students of the university. He said that the video conferencing facility should strengthen outreach programmes and skill development of students should be enhanced by quality manuals. "Experiential learning is very important to make the students confident. Develop corporate culture in the colleges for skill development and inculcating entrepreneurial skills in students", advised Dr Mehta.

He expressed his satisfaction that the University has been successful in development of new varieties and technologies which have gone to the farmers and have become popular amongst the farmers of the region and have played role in their economic empowerment. He lamented that the lack of adequate faculty in colleges have started affecting quality of post graduate teaching. The Chairman said that the quality of research publications must be improved to the international level and professors should compete for national and international research projects and awards. He also emphasized that the quality of post-graduate research needed to be improved. He appreciated that infrastructure has been developed well in experiential learning units (ELU) but these units should implement ICAR recommendations to run these as per corporate culture where students work for five months in a year and earn minimum Rs 9000 per month. He also advised that powers should be delegated in such matters to draw more support from the ICAR. He said that it was heartening that the enrollment of girl students have increased. He appreciated ELU on critical care which has ensured better health care facilities in veterinary clinic. He directed that the milk processing unit should be made functional within three months and dairy unit should be improved. Dr Mehta said that the university was provided support for Niche Area of Excellence on organic farming to the tune of Rs. 5.53 crore and it has been able to establish one of the best facilities on Organic Farming.

Prof Ashok Kumar Sarial, Vice-Chancellor said that during 12th five year plan period, ICAR has provided a support of about Rs. 53 crore and thanked the Chairman and committee members for recommending Experience Learning unit for modernization of tea processing unit for value addition and Honey Bee Production and Value Addition. He said that the recommendation for ICAR grant to the University for e-governance especially for complete automation including finance, administration and academic processes will enhance the efficiency. He also thanked for recommendation of a new hostel for veterinary intern students and assured that the new initiatives such as Best Teacher Award, Adjunct Professor and Guest Faculty will be implemented on priority. The Vice-Chancellor ensured the team that all suggestions would be implemented and the university would work hard to increase the income of farming community of Himachal Pradesh. Dr S.K.Chauhan, Nodal Officer, presented Impact assessment Report of the university. Others members of the committee Dr.P.S.Pandey, Dr. A.S Rajan and Sh.D.D.Verma also interacted and gave suggestions. All the statutory officers took part in the meeting. During the last three days, the team took stock of the work done in colleges, directorates and departments of the university.