Bayer CropScience to provide vocational training to underprivileged youths in India
Memorandum of understanding signed for Vocational Training Centre in agriculture in Hyderabad.
Hyderabad.– Bayer CropScience will establish a Vocational Training Center for underprivileged children and teens in India. The center will prepare youths for a professional life after finishing school. They will be tought professional agricultural skills to enable them to later earn their living in a sustainable way. Teenagers with a child labour background will be accepted with preference. At a ceremony held in Hyderabad, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Friedrich Berschauer, the Chairman of the Board of Management of Bayer CropScience AG, and Dr. D. N. Rao, General Secretary of Vignana Jyothi, a non-profit organization for Rural Development, signed a memorandum of understanding to found the project.
The Joint Vocational Training Centre will offer one-year field advisor courses for under-privileged youth from rural Andhra Pradesh. “This Training Center is an important element in our Corporate Social Responsibility activities and another mile stone in the Bayer CropScience overarching umbrella strategy to foster access to education globally and to impart knowledge in the area of natural sciences”, said Prof. Berschauer. “This new institution will help to prepare underprivileged children in rural areas for a better life by providing them with thorough hands-on skills in agriculture and farming. This will also enhance their chances for a regular employment in future”, he continued.
Annually, thousands of temporary field assistants are employed in the agricultural sector in India. These field assistants are often hired directly from the villages, having neither any qualifications nor formal agricultural education. The assistants are trained on the job and in many instances lack adequate technical knowledge.
The new Vocational Training Centre aims to fill this gap and train youths who have passed the 10th grade of formal school education in specialized areas such as seed production techniques and Integrated Crop and Pest Management.
Bayer CropScience will provide the initial funding for the establishment of the Vocational Training Center. The company will also contribute to the design of the curriculum to ensure practical relevance, provide technical expertise and carry the cost for the housing and education of the students.
“We welcome the decision of Bayer CropScience to extend its educational activities to this important area of training of professional skills for underprivileged teens,” says Dr. D. N. Rao of Vignana Jyothi. “It is a consistent step into the right direction and a clear demonstration of Bayer Crop Science´s commitment to support initiatives for a brighter future of children in rural areas in India. We hope this will set an example for other companies to follow.”
“Learning for Life” initiative
The Vocational Training Programme is part of the Bayer CropScience “Learning for Life” initiative: Within this project, in cooperation with the Indian Naandi Foundation, a non-governmental organization, Bayer Crop Science already established 19 bridge schools or ‘Creative Learning Centers’ (CLCs) for children without any school-grade. The CLCs offer children a route back into India’s regular education system.
“Learning for Life” is an integral element of the greater child care programme which was originally developed to protect the rights of children working on contract cotton seed production farms. Bayer CropScience started to develop the child care programme in 2003 after the company found that in its newly acquired cotton seed business suppliers to contract farmers continued to employ children in contrast to the company policy. The multi-layered child care programme consists of a broad range of elements including a sophisticated field monitoring system, an incentive and sanctions scheme, a micro-credit programme with the State Bank of India and training elements to help farmers enhance their productivity and train them to use crop protection products properly and safely.
The Joint Vocational Training programme will be offered at Dr. D. Ramanaidu Vignana Jyothi Institute of Rural Development, located in a 33-acre campus near Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. It provides all necessary facilities and infrastructure to run residential agricultural vocational courses.
The Bayer Group is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, nutrition and high-tech materials. Bayer CropScience AG, a subsidiary of Bayer AG with annual sales of about EUR 5.7 billion (2006), is one of the world’s leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of crop protection, non-agricultural pest control, seeds and plant biotechnology. The company offers an outstanding range of products and extensive service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture and for non-agricultural applications. Bayer CropScience has a global workforce of about 17,900 and is represented in more than 120 countries. This and further news is available at: www.newsroom.bayercropscience.com.
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