Role of lifelong learning in skill development and social networking among marginal farmers.

Paper #1569 presented at #husITa14 in Melbourne, Australia, July, 2014.


Amirtham Thomas (Loyola College, Chennai, India).


The demography of India is dominated by the rural agrarian population and their development is the crux of India’s development. The growth stories of India remain truncated as long as the growth story of the vast majority remains unattended. Developing the rural poor is enabling them to break all forms of barriers, to build their livelihood assets, to expand their social networks, to do better bargain with institutions, to engender innovation in agriculture and above all to restore confidence in agriculture. This can be achieved through systematic social intervention of lifelong learning for marginal farmers.

Lifelong learning is an ICT enabled learning process that introduces horizontal and vertical learning for semiliterate and illiterate farmers on their livelihood struggles. It educates them to improve their farming skills, marketing skills, resource managing skills and negotiating skills. Since the process of learning and skill development takes place in groups; it enables them to establish better connectivity with individuals, groups and institutions to shape their lives. This connectivity positively fosters their trust among one another, begin to build new partnership and learn to do a better bargaining. Consequently lead to expand their social networks and strengthen their social capital.

This paper attempts to assess the quantum of human capital formation and the quality of social capital formation among marginal and small farmers in Madurai, Dindigul and Theni districts of Tamil Nadu, India. The findings elucidate as to how Lifelong learning has helped these farmers to move out of a world of exclusion to a world of inclusion.


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