Seminars, symposia, conferences, workshops and congresses are the ways and means to introspect ourselves, take a stock and pave the way for the future. All subjects take the advantages of such events and reinvent themselves. Likewise, Extension Education professionals also hold seminars, symposia and conferences which succeed in varied magnitude in achieving its goals. Usually, such events are announced with a short notice of six months or so. Due to which the participants hardly get time to conduct suitable research as per the title/theme of the programme resulting into making presentation of inappropriate research which were conducted much earlier. Besides, number of participants (quantity) is the top most indicator of the success than quality presentations which forces the organizers to accept below par research presentations. Shri Suresh Kumar, former Additional Chief Secretary & Principal Secretary (Agriculture), Government of Maharashtra has elaborated on these issues at length in his blog Click.
In order to overcome these shortcomings, it was decided to follow a methodology that would provide solutions to these problems. Accordingly, Dissensus based Delphi technique was used to determine title, themes and sub-themes of the International Extension Congress - 2018 through online survey. This method not only ensured wider participation and acceptance but also helped in deciding meaningful title, themes and sub-themes which are usually decided by few extension professionals. You can see the title, themes and sub-themes in this website.
The next challenge is to avoid old wine in new bottles. That means enough time should be available to the participants to conduct relevant research(es) of their choice. Accordingly, IEC2018 follows two stage registrations, first to choose the topic well in advance (nearly 2 years) and secondly, after having completed the registered research. The first stage registration is kept free of cost. The participants are required to pay registration fee only during second stage registration alongwith the full length paper. Again, a deliberate attempt is made to avoid only Abstract submission during registration. At second stage, full length paper is supposed to be available with the participant therefore, Abstract submission is redundant.
Yet another limitation of usual seminars/ symposia/ conferences is parallel sessions which are kept to accommodate a large number of oral presentations. However, participants have to make tough decision to attend one important session at the cost of another important session (may be a little less important as compared to the first one). Appropriate method is devised to solve this issue. During IEC2018, no parallel session will be organized rather META-PRESENTATIONS will be encouraged so that every participants get a chance to know about all the researches and development in every themes/subthemes of the Congress.
Lastly, it is planned to invite all Secretaries and Directors of Agriculture of various state and central governments to participate on the concluding day of the congress. The specific focus of this session would be policies and issues related to field extension.
Overall, we are in the process of evolving methodology for organizing seminars/ symposia/ conferences/ congresses more effectively and meaningfully. Your endorsements, suggestions and criticism for improvement are highly solicited.