Integrated Rural Development Program (IRDP)
The idea of designing an Integrated Rural Development Program (IRDP) curriculum emerged from a discussion between the Nagarjuna College of Engineering and Technology (NCET) and the Sri Sathya Sai Annapoorna Trust (SSSAT) in 2017. The Annapoorna Trust is an allied Trust of the Prasanthi Balamandira Trust which has established the Sri Sathya Sai University for Human Excellence.
The Annapoorna Trust runs India's largest morning nutrition programme, where five lakh school-going students across 17 States and 3 UTS are being served breakfast every single morning.
When our team explained the various rural-centric programmes, the leadership team at NCET expressed an interest in exposing their engineering students to rural problems to inculcate in them a desire to understand, analyse and address those problems by leveraging their education and skills. Our team then helped formulate a one-credit practical course on rural development. The lecture sessions in the course were supplemented with practical in-field studies and activities.
The students select projects to be executed in the villages as part of IRDP, which strongly encourages the promotion of green and sustainable practices. Projects of the students involve presentations and demonstrations of sustainable waste management, drip irrigation and climate change activities. Students also highlight government initiatives to create awareness amongst villagers and they can accordingly leverage them. These include the procurement of organic seeds, organic fertilisers, and organic pesticides from government-approved outlets.
The course which is part of the Sri Sathya Sai University for Human Excellence also embraces the undergraduate students of the University. Two models of the curriculum are presented below:
Model 1 for IRDPThe first model assumes a 2-semester 1-credit IRDP course. This is a total of 27 hours, with 3 hours of lectures and 24 hours for field activities. This is the model employed at NCET for 600 engineering students (from Computer Science, Information Science, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Civil Engineering) in the third and fourth semesters of their degree programme.
Model 2 for IRDP The second model assumes a 3-semester 3-credit IRDP course. This is a total of 192 hours with an equal number of hours dedicated to lecture and field activities. The curriculum for this course is implemented in the fourth, fifth and sixth semesters at the Sri Sathya Sai University for Human Excellence for the undergraduate programmes.