Guwahati: In a bid to ensure quality human resources in Assam’s 200-year-old tea industry, a postgraduate course has been imparting practical training in the gardens coupled with wide-ranging theoretical knowledge of plantation and management.
The North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) in collaboration with Golaghat Commerce College had started the one-year Post Graduate Diploma in Tea Plantation Management (PGDTPM)’ in 2016, and since then, seven batches have passed out with almost 100 per cent placement, an official said.
“We decided to initiate the course to impart training to aspiring local youths desirous of working in the industry. Initially, we were not sure about how it will evolve, but the journey has been inspiring with cent per cent placement, and even a foreign student from Zambia joining the course this year,” NETA chairman (CSR Committee) Sunil Jallan said.
Trained human resources are key for the survival and growth of an industry and “we decided that youths desiring to join the tea industry must have the necessary knowledge required”, NETA Advisor Bidyananda Barkakoty told PTI.
“The syllabus has been created by a team of industry and academia. It is focused on the industry and there are both theory and practical classes in the field (factory and plantation),” he said.
Barkakoty pointed out that this course was the “first of its kind” in industry-academia collaboration in the field of tea education.
NETA members produce over 150 million kg of tea annually, and students get the opportunity to do their internship in the factories and gardens owned by the members of the association, he said.
”The tea gardens of NETA members are an extended campus and provides support to students for field, factory visits and practical training on all aspects of tea production,” Course Coordinator Rajesh Jasiwal said.
Most of the students have so far been absorbed in tea gardens owned by NETA members, while few others have also joined tea marketing companies, Jaiswal said.
A new batch of students enrolled for the course recently and among them is Tiza Banda from Zambia, and ”we expect many more international students to join in the years to come”, Jallan said.
Banda said she decided to come here to learn about tea crop management from experts.
”Having searched online, I found this place safe and friendly and rich in knowledge on tea cultivation. I expect this course to equip me with vast knowledge and skill in tea plantation management, including cultivation, factory and labour management,” she said.
Mahesh Baraik, who belongs to the tea tribe community and has grown up in the gardens, said he had enrolled for the course to gain a proper scientific knowledge of tea production.
Baraik joined the Jutlibari Tea Estate as an assistant manager after successfully acquiring his diploma.
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