Fate of Savoi-Verem agriculture school hangs in balance in absence of grants

PANAJI: The future of the Savoi-Verem-based RCPR School of Agriculture, which is the first institute in the state dedicated to agriculture, is now in the hands of the government with those who had set it up six years ago finding it extremely difficult to run it, in the absence of the government grants.
Speaking to the pressmen, the director of RCPR School of Agriculture, Manguirish Pai Raikar said that when the institute was set up in 2013-14, the government had assured regular educational grants to it, on the condition that the school doesn’t charge fees from the students.
“Today, six years down the line, we have more than 100 students passing HSSC from our school, besides more than 50 students clearing our diploma and advance diploma courses in agriculture, which were introduced two years ago,” Raikar pointed out, informing that 90 per cent of these students belonged to the families of farmers.
“They come from talukas ranging from Pernem and Valpoi, in North to Quepem and Canacona, in South,” he noted.
“Running an agriculture school is very difficult as compared to running an arts and a commerce school or even a business administration school as it needs to have fields, plantations, gardens, orchids, poly-houses, nurseries and much more, besides laboratory for soil testing etc,” Raikar stated, maintaining that he completely redesigned his ancestral house to run higher secondary classes, while constructed a new building at a cost of Rs 1.6 crore, through private financing.
“And, then the agriculture school had to start from the scratch right from preparing syllabus, first for Class XI and Class XII, and then for diploma as well as advance diploma courses,” he informed, adding that a community college has also been started in the school premises.
“We have only 6 permanent teachers with us, besides others, who teach on a lecture basis,” he informed, mentioning that even staff salary grants from the government would help immensely.
Speaking further, Raikar said that the Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had assured financial assistance to the school, in the state legislative assembly in 2014, while the Agriculture Minister Vijai Sardesai had also done so in the House, during its monsoon session of 2018.
“However nothing has come out of it,” he lamented, stating that the University Grants Commission is also turning away from helping the school, in the absence of the state government support.
“This is perhaps the only agriculture school in the country, which is running without any government support, in spite of the fact that the central as well as the state governments have agriculture on their priority list,” he said, adding that the state government, in fact, can reimburse all the funds from the Centre, which it provides to any agricultural institute in Goa, and that way ensure that there is no burden on its exchequer.

Source:: The Navhind Times

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