IARI (Indian Agricultural Research Institute), a deemed agricultural university and a premier seat of learning in the country, has extensively revised its syllabi in all its 23 departments spanning five schools. About 800 Indian and international students study in MSc and PhD programmes at IARI.
“Such revisions are done every five years to keep pace with the research done in different parts of the world,” says Dr HS Gaur, Dean and joint director (education), IARI. He goes on to add that over and above the customary updating of the syllabi, done after a fixed period of time, teachers are free to make amends every year to make the course relevant in view of the latest researches that have taken place in a particular branch of agriculture in India or abroad.
Taking cognisance of the changing dynamics of agricultural economics and the continuous development of science and technology in India and abroad, IARI has added three new subjects (which will be compulsorily read in all the existing MSc and PhD programmes run from its 1220-acre campus in west Delhi at Pusa). These subjects are: a) intellectual property rights (IPR), b) basic science techniques and c) information and communication system management.
The course in IPR has been introduced to sensitise researchers and scholars to the growing importance of commercialisation and protection of valuable research carried out by them. “There was a time when we used to share the findings of our research free of cost, primarily for the benefit of the farmers and the public. Now we must realise the worth of this research and other intellectual property, which ought to be protected as per the IPR laws,” adds Dr Gaur.
The second compulsory subject has been introduced to teach students about the basic science techniques, as they sometimes stay focused to applied agricultural sciences and need to apply basic science techniques to understand their subjects. Application of latest scientific principles and techniques is necessary for maintaining high standards of research.
A course in information system management has been started to arm the research students with fundamental knowledge of information retrieval, analysis and dissemination. The e-sources in research can throw up vast amounts of information, available merely at the click of a mouse, from all over the world.
Next year, IARI plans to start a Master’s programme in bioinformatics too. “In agriculture, bioinformatics is at present run only at a few universities in India. This year we will train some of the teachers for this purpose. Besides the 470 permanent faculty members, the services of several eminent adjunct faculty and guest faculty will also be used for teaching MSc and PhD scholars,” says Dr Gaur.