India-Australia Collaborative Effort to Modernize Agricultural Skills Sees Significant Progress

The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), in collaboration with the Australian Government, recently hosted a pivotal roundtable to discuss advancements and future prospects of the Australia-India Critical Agriculture Skills Pilot Project. The discussion was led by Atul Kumar Tiwari, Secretary, MSDE, and Mathew Johnston, Minister Counsellor, Education and Research, Australian High Commission. The event saw participation from key representatives of 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).

A Collaborative Initiative

Initiated in March last year, this bilateral project emerged after thorough consultations involving government bodies, research organizations, multilateral entities, non-profits, and industry associations. The comprehensive scoping study included both face-to-face and virtual consultations with 89 experts from 64 organizations, alongside a review of numerous government reports. These efforts culminated in the identification of 107 emerging job roles, out of which five critical roles were selected for pilot projects.

Focused Implementation

The pilot projects, now nearing completion, are being implemented across four states: Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana. These projects focus on new and emerging roles such as Digital Agriculture Extension Promoter, Carbon Farming Practitioner, Livestock Green Management Promoter, Organic Farm & Business Promoter, and Integrated Farming Practitioner. These roles are strategically aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), highlighting climate action, reduced inequalities, quality education, and industry innovation and infrastructure.

Key Insights from Leaders

Atul Kumar Tiwari highlighted the success of the collaboration in enhancing vocational education and training outcomes. He underscored the critical importance of the agriculture sector in the Indian economy for its role in food security and employment. Tiwari emphasized that sustained efforts, like the Australia-India Critical Agriculture Skills Project, are essential to meet the challenges of modernization and sustainability in the agricultural sector. He expressed hope that similar initiatives would be extended to other sectors.

Collaborative Course Development

The course content for these roles has been developed collaboratively by prestigious institutions and organizations, including 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.

Strengthening International Ties

Australia remains a crucial partner for India, with both nations working together to enhance capacity building and training in key sectors. This partnership is particularly focused on addressing the evolving needs and demographics through new-age courses.

Aligning with National Education Policy

In line with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, India is actively promoting the internationalization of education. This includes new regulations for joint, dual, and twinning degrees, and a draft regulation for the establishment of foreign university campuses in India.

The India-Australia partnership in agricultural skills development stands as a testament to the effective collaboration between nations to address global challenges and build a sustainable future.

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