INDIAN COUNCIL OF AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH

NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL INNOVATION PROJECT


DEVELOPMENT OF e-COURSES FOR B.F.Sc. DEGREE PROGRAMME

      Ensuring sustainable nutritional security is the major challenge confronting all the developing countries. In India 16% of world population has to be sustained on 2.4% of global land area. It is imperative to look for alternate sources of nutritious food to feed increasing population. The rich bio-diversity from marine / aquatic environment offers protein rich food and other products of use to mankind. Fisheries are emerging as one of the fastest growing food production system all over the world. The potential for fisheries development in India is highly promising in view of physical and biological resources available in the country coupled with technological developments. With present trend of preference for health foods, demand for aquatic products is rapidly increasing. Fish is a highly perishable commodity and supply of acceptable quality is a challenging task to the all concerned in fisheries sector. This is compounded further with the world fish production from capture fisheries is more or less stagnant at around 100 million metric tons (mt). As human population is ever increasing, the stagnation in fish production implies that less and less fish will be available every year.

 

      Fisheries sector plays an important role in the Indian economy, country and in the livelihood development of fisherfolk. National income from fisheries was estimated at Rs.22,000 crores at current prices in 2000-01 contributing about 1.4% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country. The fish production reached 6.65 million tons registering an average growth rate of about 7.5%. About 20 million people depend on fisheries and its related activities including about 7 million people engaged in indirect employment in auxiliary sectors. Export of fish and fishery products earned foreign exchange worth Rs.7245 crores in 2005-06. The major contributing factor for this accelerated growth in fisheries are availability of skilled human resource, development and dissemination of new technologies, high receptivity of fishermen and women and increased investment by the government. The technology development has been the result of sustained research efforts of the Central and State Fisheries institutions and State Agricultural Universities.

      Increasing contribution from economy let the Union Government to realize the need for developing trained manpower to further catalyze fisheries development. Professional fisheries education in India started in 1969 with the establishment of the first College of Fisheries at Mangalore under their University of Agriculture Sciences, Bangalore following the pattern of Land-grant Universities in the USA. This college offers a four year professional Bachelor of Fisheries Science (B.F.Sc.) programme from 1969 onwards. Subsequently, two-year Master of Fisheries Science (M.F.Sc.) and Ph.D. in the Fisheries Science programmes are also being offered.

      The Fisheries College and Research Institute, Thoothukudi was the Second Fisheries College to be formed in the country in 1975 as a Department of Fisheries Sciences under the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University and subsequently as a Fisheries College. While the B.F.Sc. programme was started in 1977, M.F.Sc. and Ph.D. programmes were started subsequently.

      Today in India, there are 15 Fisheries Colleges, of which 14 are under State Agricultural Universities and the Fisheries College, Agartala is under the Central Agricultural University in Tripura which offer B.F.Sc., M.F.Sc., and Ph.D. programmes. The CIFE at Mumbai was conferred deemed University status by the University Grants Commission (UGC) in 1989. It abolished the D.F.Sc. course which was merged with the national stream of professional fisheries education from the year 1998-99 onwards by offering M.F.Sc. and Ph.D. programmes. Fisheries education in the country has progressed at a good pace over the years. Now there are fifteen fisheries colleges in the country.

 

      At present, our country needs technically qualified fisheries professionals to meet the future challenges of the industry. The traditional method of teaching and learning (what can be called as the 'chalk and talk' method) needs to be strengthened. Because these teaching methods and aids are out of date, the needed links between course work and practical are often found missing. As a result, the students fail to acquire problem solving skills which would enable them to assess new and or changing situations and to make rational judgments. There is little emphasis in the present teaching and learning system to prepare the graduates for careers outside government service particularly to the needs of the growing fisheries industry.

      Hence, it becomes increasingly necessary to improve the teaching quality and learning ability. Exposure of teachers to the modern educational methods and systems is the need of the hour. Among the new teaching / learning systems, e-learning has become the most popular and most effective learning system, supplementing and complementing traditional classroom education as well as distance education. This new technology learning system, by structuring and organising information and by displaying and demonstrating procedures and operations more systematically, makes learning more experiential and memorable.

      In this context, a project on Development of e-Courses for the B.F.Sc. degree programme was approved for funding by National Agricultural Innovation Project (NAIP) of Indian Council of Agricultural Research to College of Fisheries, Mangalore and Fisheries College and Research Institute, Thoothukudi. The main thrust in this project is to create e-learning modules to enable students of B.F.Sc. degree programme throughout the country to acquire more effective learning systems.

      The present system of fisheries education in India is more of classroom based. Most of the class room timings are allotted for lectures, with little time being available for interaction between teachers and students. The net results are poor understanding and inadequate application of concepts, techniques and procedures by the learners. The present project is envisaged to create e-learning modules to enable students of B.F.Sc. degree program to get more effective learning system – class room teaching by teachers and self learning by students themselves. This system will allocate more time for the teachers to get well equipped with recent advances in the subject matter and thereby enable the students to interact with the teachers more effectively for enhancing their knowledge and skills. Further, the e-learning modules would provide the students an anytime and anywhere learning opportunity.

 
 
Fisheries College and Research Institute
Tamil Nadu Fisheries University
Thoothukudi - 628 008, Tamilnadu, India.
Phone : 0461-2340554; Fax : 0461-2340574; E-mail : elearnfish@gmail.com
Website : www.elearnfish.net
Last Updated on 22 January 2014