Thursday, February 22

Vocational Training, Extension, and the Changing Landscape of Agricultural Education in India

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By Trent Brown

Working Paper No- 407

Since 2013, India has been introducing new, nationally standardised agricultural vocational training programmes, as part of the broader Skill India initiative of vocational education reform. Yet, given a dearth of existing specialised vocational education centres capable of providing agricultural training, India has been relying on other institutions to implement training at the ground level, notably institutions of agricultural extension. This has given rise to several tensions, as agricultural vocational education and agricultural extension proceed from different assumptions. In the course of conducting fieldwork involving 102 interviews with trainers and trainees and direct observation of training programmes in North India, three key sources of tension were identified. These related to (1) the importance of practical learning; (2) suitable durations for training programmes; and (3) the relevance of centralised planning. Investigating these three tensions sheds light on the need for alternative institutional and pedagogical approaches to agricultural education to meet the needs of rural communities in contemporary India, and the global south.

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