Water literacy and organic farming have now made it to college education. In a rare initiative, a college in Dakshina Kannada has begun teaching them as certificate courses from this year.

The Sacred Heart Degree College at Madantyar, near Belthangady, which was offering these courses even otherwise, has taken several other water conservation initiatives over the years. They include roof-water harvesting, rainwater harvesting through percolation pits on campus and building check dams in nearby villages.

Joseph N.M., an Associate Professor of Economics, who teaches the two certificate courses in the college, is a water conservationist himself as his family uses rainwater (roof-water) collected for about eight months a year in his house in the same village.

Water literacy taught covers hydrological cycle, techniques of rainwater harvesting, water resource management such as reducing, re-using and recycling water, increasing water demand by industry and agriculture, water availability and the like.

The topics of organic farming include soil erosion, salinisation, adverse effects of farming practices, marketing issues of produces, preparing organic manure, field visits and the like.

“They are more of practically oriented courses than purely theoretical,” Mr. Joseph told
The Hindu

The certificate course are optional for students during their main course of study. The students are practically trained in the nearby farming fields of farmers and on campus.

College principal Alex Ivan Sequiera Ivan is very supportive in strengthening the courses further, he said.

Each one of the three batches has 20 hours of class in a year.

Hence, when a student who has joined the course in the first year will get 60 hours of teaching when he completed the three-year degree course, Mr. Joseph said.

Ritesh, a B.Com student, said that the two topics are interlinked. “We also learn grafting, making vermicompost and organic manure and how to grow vegetables,” he said.

The student said that they cultivated cowpea sometime ago in a barren paddy field of a farmer at Ballamanja village and went to nearby paddy fields to get practical experience on paddy cultivation.

Venkatesh, another B. Com student, said that the students also learnt bore-well recharging techniques. The courses helped in taking up vegetable cultivation as a substitute to the main job after passing out.

Source: Read Full Article