India's population largely lives in the villages and as an economy is dependent on agriculture. The programmes offered are meant for those who would like to acquire higher education and are interested to work in the field of rural development. “People working with NGOs, cooperatives, Panchayati raj institutions and banks or in government sector can enrol in this programme for career enhancement,” explains Singh. Besides public and private institutes, IGNOU offers various courses that are available in ODL mode.
“The programme has been blended to create knowledge and skill development needed for effective utilisation and management of human and valuable resources within the parameters of rural development,” says S T Rehman, programme coordinator, Masters in Rural Development (MARD) Programmes, Odisha State Open University (OSOU). He adds that it is an innovative, skill and employment-oriented programme and offers an opportunity to students to understand the broad framework of development in rural India.
Eligibility and admission
Graduate in any field can enroll in MA Rural Development course, Diploma in Rural Development (DRD), Postgraduate in Rural Development (PGDRD), Master’s program in OSOU Career prospects Candidates gaining expertise in Rural Development can hope to have lucrative career opportunities. “They can get employment opportunities in Panchayati Raj institutions, Rural Cooperatives, NGO and in any field where knowledge of rural society/ development is required,” adds Singh. “Setting up small scale industry in rural areas supported by the government, District Rural Development Agencies (DRDA) or District Industry Centre (DIC) can be another option,” says Rehman. “They can also start a Non- Governmental Organisation or voluntary agency to serve for the welfare of the rural people. The funds for the running of such NGOs will be available from both Central and state governments based on the projects and requirements of the NGOs,” adds Rehman. Research is also another option that can be explored after completing the PG course. “As far as regional distributions of the learners are concerned, 78% are from rural areas and 22% are from urban areas," says Rehman.