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Pathways to Agricultural Skill Development in the Indian Himalayas

Trent Brown

Journal of South Asian Development, 2020, vol. 15, issue 2, 270-292

Abstract: Policymakers and practitioners in the field of skill development often carry individualist and narrowly instrumental understandings of the reasons people enrol in their programmes. This article argues that people in the Global South seek to develop skills for a range of reasons, many of which are strongly influenced by their social environment and factors outside of their control. It presents the findings of a study involving surveys and semi-structured interviews with 53 trainees enrolled in agricultural skill development programmes in the state of Himachal Pradesh in the Indian Himalayas. Trainees’ responses were analysed to determine common ‘pathways’ to agricultural skill development programmes. Seven major pathways were identified: supporting one’s family; adopting commercial approaches to agriculture; managing a transition to agriculture after working in other sectors; gaining new knowledge; contributing to society; working from home; and developing a fallback option while seeking other work. These pathways were highly inflected by gender, age and caste. It is suggested that agricultural skill development practitioners will benefit from working with these pathways rather than assuming trainees carry more economistic motivations, but also from being critically aware of how the social factors that impinge on trainees’ pathways are influenced by local power structures.

Keywords: Skill development; agricultural skills; gender; youth; aspirations; India (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1177/0973174120943081

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