A three-month online international internship training programme, ‘Sustainable Asian Aquaculture Systems & Practices’, for students of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Kashmir at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Bangkok, Thailand commenced.

The internship was earlier scheduled to be conducted physically at AIT, Bangkok, a reputed international higher education institute, but because of the travel ban due to the second wave of COVID19, the SKUAST-K students could not travel to Thailand. Therefore, the internship was conducted online.

The purpose of the training is to expose the students to the international environment, provide them with training from acclaimed international experts to make them professionally competitive for the international market. More than 50 fisheries graduate students are participating in the training organised by the university’s Faculty of Fisheries and AIT Thailand under the World Bank-ICAR funded National Agricultural Higher Education Project for the institutional development of SKUAST-K.

Besides the AIT faculty, the training is being conducted by international Aquaculture experts from Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Malaysia; KHULNA University, Bangladesh; University of Sunshine Coast, Australia; University of Putra, Malaysia; Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO); Aqua Development Ltd, Korea; and National University of Agriculture, Vietnam.

Vice-Chancellor, SKUAST-K, Prof JP Sharma, who was the chief guest at the inaugural function, emphasised the training of the students in high potential agricultural skills and modern farming techniques, which are market-driven with high potential for entrepreneurship and agribusinesses.He appreciated the efforts of the Faculty of Fisheries, Course Coordinator Dr Gohar Bilal, PI NAHEP Prof Nazir Ahmad Ganai and Prof MH Balkhi for initiating such international training programmes for the students. He also thanked the faculty of AIT, Thailand for conducting the training.Earlier Prof Farooq Ahmad Zaki, consultant HRM NAHEP, highlighted how such international internship programmes are important for students to create an impact on their learning outcomes.

Dr Gohar Bilal Wani gave a brief overview of the program. Prof MH Balkhi focused on fisheries production in the state and stressed that fisheries scientists should introduce new intervention for fish production to bridge the gap between the demand and supply without disturbing the water and land resources and environment. Prof Nazir Ahmad Ganai highlighted the various training programs conducted under NAHEP and also explained how under NAHEP faculty and students were benefited during this COVID-19 pandemic.

He observed that SKUASTK and AIT Thailand shall further explore the possibility of dual degree programmes and joint courses to give international exposure to the students. Dr Vilas Nitivattananon of AIT Thailand briefed about the functioning and achievement of the Asian Institute of Technology and how the Institute is ranked globally. Dr KR Salin gave an account of different training programmes conducted in AIT, the vibrant collaboration they have in different countries and how the students and development departments have been benefited from their expertise.

The inaugural function was attended by more than 70 students and faculty members. The function concluded with a vote of thanks proposed by Dr FA Bhat, Head FRM.

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