Essay on the Agricultural Extension in India
In India, the terms community development and extension education became more popular with the launching of Community Development Projects in 1952 and with the establishment of the National Extension Service in 1953. Since then, Community Development has been regarded as a programme for an all-round development of the rural people, and extension education as the means to achieve this objective.
Extension education is an applied behavioural science, the knowledge of which is applied to bring about desirable changes in the behavioural complex of human beings usually through various strategies and programmes of change and by applying the latest scientific and technological innovations.
Extension education has now developed as a full-fledged discipline, having its own philosophy, objectives, principles, methods and techniques which must be understood by every extension worker and others connected with the rural development. It must be mentioned here that extension education, its principles, methods and techniques are applicable not only to agriculture but also to veterinary and animal husbandry, dairy science, home science, health, family planning, etc. Based upon its applications and use, various nomenclatures have been given to it, such as agricultural extension, veterinary and animal husbandry extension, dairy extension, home science extension, public health extension, and family planning extension.
Differences between formal education and extension education:
It may, however, be mentioned here that when extension education is put into action for educating the rural people, it does not remain formal education. In that sense, there are several differences between the two. Some of these differences are:
1. The teacher starts with theory and works up to practicals.
2. Students study subjects.
3. Students must adapt themselves to the fixed curriculum offered.
4. Authority rests with the teacher.
5. Class attendance is compulsory.
6. Teacher instructs the students.
7. Teaching is only through instructors.
8. Teaching is mainly vertical.
9. The teacher has more or less homogeneous audience.
10. It is rigid.
11. It has all pre-planned and pre-decided programmes.
12. It is more theoretical.
1. The teacher (extension worker) starts with practicals and may take up theory later on.
2. Farmers study problems.
3. It has no fixed curriculum or course of study and the farmers help to formulate the curriculum.
4. Authority rests with the farmers.
5. Participation is voluntary.
6. Teacher teaches and also learns from the fanners.
7. Teaching is also through local leaders.
8. Teaching is mainly horizontal.
9. The teacher has a large and heterogeneous audience.
10. It is flexible.
11. It has freedom to develop programmes locally and they are based on the needs and expressed desires of the people.
12. It is more practical and intended for immediate application in the solution of problems.
Objectives of extension education:
The objectives of extension education are the expressions of the ends towards which our efforts are directed. In other words, an objective means a direction of movement. Before starting any programme, its objectives must be clearly stated, so that one knows where to go and what is to be achieved. The fundamental objective of extension education is the development of the people.
Agricultural extension in our country is primarily concerned with the following main objectives:
(1) The dissemination of useful and practical information relating to agriculture, including improved seeds, fertilizers, implements, pesticides, improved cultural, practices, dairying, poultry, nutrition, etc.;
(2) The practical application of useful knowledge to farm and home; and
(3) Thereby ultimately to improve all aspects of the life of the rural people within the framework of the national, economic and social policies involving the population as a whole.
Principles of extension education:
The extension work is based upon some working principles and the knowledge of these principles is necessary for an extension worker. Some of these principles, as related to agricultural extension, are mentioned below.
1. Principle of interest and need:
Extension work must be based on the needs and interests of the people. These needs and interests differ from individual to individual, from village to village, from block to block, and from state to state and, therefore, there cannot be one programme for all people.
2. Principle of cultural difference:
Extension work is based on the cultural background of the people with whom the work is done. Improvement can only begin from the level of the people where they are. This means that the extension worker has to know the level of the knowledge, and the skills of the people, methods and tools used by them, their customs, traditions, beliefs, values, etc. before starting the extension programme.
3. Principle of participation:
Extension helps people to help themselves. Good extension work is directed towards assisting rural families to work out their own problems rather than giving them ready-made solutions. Actual participation and experience of people in these programmes creates self-confidence in them and also they learn more by doing.
4. Principle of adaptability:
People differ from each other, one group differs from another group and conditions also differ from place to place. An extension programme should be flexible, so that necessary changes can be made whenever needed, to meet the varying conditions.
5. The grass roots principle of organization:
A group of rural people in local community should sponsor extension work. The programme should fit in with the local conditions. The aim of organizing the local group is to demonstrate the value of the new practices or programmes so that more and more people would participate.
6. The leadership principle:
Extension work is based on the full utilization of local leadership. The selection & training of local leaders to enable them to help to carry out extension work is essential to the success of the programme. People have more faith in local leaders and they should be used to put across a new idea so that it is accepted with the least resistance.
7. The whole-family principle:
Extension work will have a better chance of success if the extension workers have a whole-family approach instead of piecemeal approach or separate and unintegrated approach. Extension work is, therefore, for the whole family, i.e. for male, female and the youth.
8. Principle of co-operation:
Extension is a co-operative venture. It is a joint democratic enterprise in which rural people co-operate with their village, block and state officials to pursue a common cause.
9. Principle of satisfaction:
The end-product of the effort of extension teaching is the satisfaction that comes to the farmer, his wife or youngsters as the result of solving a problem, meeting a need, acquiring a new skill or some other changes in behaviour. Satisfaction is the key to success in extension work. “A satisfied customer is the best advertisement”.
10. The evaluation principle:
Extension is based upon the methods of science, and it needs constant evaluation. The effectiveness of the work is measured in terms of the changes brought about in the knowledge, skill, attitude and adoption behaviour of the people but not merely in terms of achievement of physical targets.
Role of Extension Education in Agricultural Development:
1. Making the adoption of new technology possible:
i. To help the farmer to accept new agricultural technology for obtaining higher yields.
ii. Extension workers carry out field demonstrations about new technology. `
2. Helps the farmers to visualize farming as a profitable occupation
i. Helps farmers to understand their own situation, resources and critical analysis helps them to take rational decisions for the best use of the available resources.
3. Trains the local leaders
4. Helps getting necessary inputs
5. Helps in decision making
6. Helps to change Attitude
i. To bring about this change through education.
7. It helps in achieving cooperation of people.
8. It develops, strengthens and organise groups, institutes and people to achieve their aims.
9. Extension helps the planners, policy makers and administrators with local conditions and latest technologies suited to it.
10. Job of extension is to bridge the gap between the scientists on the one hand and the farmers on the other. This is done by taking new farm technology and innovations to the farmers door and helping him to adopt them.
It also brings the farmer’s problems to the research stations for further investigations and to find out the required solutions.