Prof Shakeel A Mir | Dr Aijaz A Dar
Taking a giant leap towards globalisation, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir became the first university in J&K to organise International Education Fair with an aim to woo overseas students to the university and the Union Territory.
The International Education Fair was held jointly with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) – a government of India organisation responsible for the promotion of cultural and educational relation of the country across the world recently at Shushma Swaraj Bhawan, New Delhi.
Attended by none other than Minster of External Affairs Dr S Jaishankar as the chief guest with Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of State for Prime Minister’s Office and Science and Technology Dr Jitendra Singh, Lieutenant Governor UT of J&K Manoj Sinha, and President ICCR Dr Vinay Sahasrabuddhe as the guests of honour, the event was held to project SKUAST-K as a preferred destination for international students for higher education in agriculture and allied sectors.
Ambassadors and education attaches of various countries, education consultants, resident commissioners, and officers of ICCR, ICAR and the twin agricultural universities of J&K along with student achievers, innovators, international students and scholars participated in the fair that was supported by the World Bank-ICAR funded National Agricultural Higher Education Project (NAHEP) for the institutional development of the SKUAST-K. During the event, SKUAST-K received accolades from all the participant guests and delegates for taking the initiative of going global and promoting cooperation and collaboration through education and research.
Dr S Jaishankar congratulated SKUAST-K for this path-breaking initiative of taking its brand and academic excellence global and connecting youth to the rest of the world so that the full benefits of the development and progress of the change that started in J&K three years ago reach to the people, especially the youth. He said that the idea and legacy of ‘Vasudaiva Kutumbakam’ emboldens us to the title of ‘Vishwa Guru’. Complimenting SKUAST-K for becoming the first university to take the lead, he said, “I’ve never had any university of any kind approach us saying what do we do to get more foreign students here, so I not only appreciate this initiative but I actually, like Dharmendra Padhan Ji said, I think this is an example for other universities”.
Dharmendra Pradhan expressed happiness in being part of the event that showcases the knowledge power of the country to the outside world. He congratulated SKUAST-K for starting dual degree masters’ program with Western Sydney University, Australia and many other institutions of international repute, and assured full support to the varsity for its going global initiative.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that growth and peace in J&K and promotion of the agri-tech startup ecosystem are the reasons to celebrate the event. He further added that Aroma Mission and the Purple Revolution of India are new avenues of the economy for which J&K is the birthplace and SKUAST-K has a huge role to play in sensitisation of youth towards agri-tech startups and exploration of unutilised resources in the Himalayas.
Manoj Sinha hailed SKUAST-K’s digital agricultural initiatives and quality-promoting climate that makes the varsity a preferred destination for agri-education. He said the aim is to invite international students to J&K for short-term and long-term courses in various disciplines, and strengthen the international connect. Over the past three years, we have focused on strengthening the education sector, and developing knowledge workers for sectors like industries, agriculture & health care, the LG said.
Dr Vinay Sahasrabuddhe hailed the idea of organising the fair in collaboration with ICCR, connecting people of new aspirational J&K to the outside. Financial Commissioner Agriculture Production Department, J&K Govt, Atal Dulloo highlighted the futuristic initiatives taken by the UT Government and the role of SKUAST-K in preparing the roadmap for holistic development of agriculture in J&K. Vice Chancellor, SKUAST-K, Prof Nazir A Ganai threw light on the university’s achievements and the climate of quality education, research, innovation and entrepreneurship besides the scenic beauty, inclusivity, rich civilization and cultural heritage of J&K, and the country’s resolve to become knowledge superpower in the world.
Deputy Director General (Education)-ICAR, Dr RC Agrawal while proposing the vote of thanks appreciated SKUAST-K’s role in redefining the agri-education not only in J&K but at the country level, and hailed the varsity’s education model that emphasises on innovation, entrepreneurship and trans-disciplinary research.
The event included an exhibition depicting SKUAST-K’s academic, research, innovation and outreach ecosystem which was appreciated by the attendees. The event showcased the university’s literary contribution to science, faculty and student startups and niche crops of the J&K. It also featured a documentary on SKUAST-K highlighting various academic, research, outreach, entrepreneurship and student activities that project the varsity as a preferred destination for agri-education in the country and beyond. International Admission Brochure was also released indicating the undergrad, postgrad, and doctoral degree programs, short skill and diploma courses offered by the varsity across different campuses. The event was telecasted live on the SKUAST-K’s social media pages and Door Darshan Srinagar and was watched by thousands of people including educators, students, entrepreneurs, policymakers etc.
Analysis of the feedback received revealed that the participant delegates rated the SKUAST-K organised ‘International Education Fair, 2023’ as either excellent (61%) or very good (32%) with cent percent affirming that they would recommend SKUAST-K to their acquaintances for higher education in agriculture and allied sciences.
The SKUAST-K, of late, is working hard to promote international cooperation and collaboration in education, research and innovation and provide a platform for students and educators to learn about the latest trends and opportunities in higher education. The university inked MoUs with a number of foreign universities and institutions for dual degrees and collaborative research.
Over the years, SKUAST-K has emerged as a leading centre of agricultural education and research in India and is presently ranked as the 6th Best SAU in the country. The varsity has contributed immensely to the holistic development of agriculture and allied sectors in the UT of Jammu & Kashmir through the promotion of knowledge-based and innovation-led sustainable commercial agriculture. It has played the main role in the recently formulated Rs 5012-crore holistic agriculture development policy aiming to transform the agriculture and allied sectors in J&K.
The authors are working at the Internal Quality Assurance Cell of SKUAST-K.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.