The National Agriculture Education Accreditation Council (NAEAC) was established by the Higher Education Commission, Govt. of Pakistan in 2008 to implement a comprehensive program of accreditation of agriculture education degree programs based on policies, procedures, and criteria setup by HEC to assure high quality and standards of education. The Council is responsible to publish a list of ranking of agriculture qualifications / programs and promote intellectual development and understanding of subject areas that impact accreditation activities in the agriculture profession. Besides, the NAEAC is mandated to provide guidance for the improvement of the existing educational programs and development of future programs leading to the agriculture profession.
Currently, there are around 50 institutions in the country offering Agriculture-related degree programs. One of the challenging tasks for the council is to ensure that the prevailing standards of education are met in both established and newly founded universities/DAIs which lack in available resources, infrastructure, labs, tools, equipment and professional human resource, so that their graduates are equally trained and equipped with the same standard of scientific knowledge. Also, constant challenges have been observed in the universities on compromised practical training of agri graduates and developing industrial linkages. The council will ensure that due emphasis is given to students getting ands-on experience of practical work in the field and the industry. Again, I expect more industrial cooperation for accommodating agri graduates for practical training, for development of entrepreneurial culture and support for entrepreneurs and job creation in the agricultural sector.
It is also notable that commercialization of professional education, particularly agriculture education is a threatening factor which is damaging the basic spirit of acquiring agriculture degree for sustainability and prosperity of the sector and food security. Instead, the institutions focus on increasing enrollment every year without considering the key factors of compromised quality of graduates and employability by their possible employers. In order to ensure that quality human resource is available to serve the industry, the Council is in process of developing a mechanism for registration of agri graduates, in line with other councils like PEC, PMDC, etc.
To ensure best practices in agricultural education and training, continuous commitment in quality assurance is inevitable. As Chairperson, I will make an endeavor to ensure that agriculture graduates are equipped with the right knowledge and skills through maintaining standards of professional ethics, ensuring that national and international benchmarks are met, stimulating a culture of entrepreneurship and providing opportunities for continuous development. I expect that the mandate granted to NAEAC will be respected by all stakeholders and together we would be able to better achieve our goals and deliver on our core objective of stimulating the improvement of agriculture education and research in Pakistan.