Why does UGC want herds of students to take ‘cow science’ exams?

Vice-chancellors have been told by the University Grants Commission to ‘encourage’ students to write Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog’s ‘cow science’ exam

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Seeking newer pastures to encourage the popularisation of Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog (RKA), the University Grants Commission (UGC) has now told Vice-Chancellors to ‘encourage’ more students to appear for the exam on ‘cow science’. The ‘exam’ will be held on February 25, and as it is not mandatory, perhaps the registration so far needs some official help to increase.

The Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog, is under the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying. This is their first major ‘public exam’ and is titled: Kamdhenu Gau-Vigyan Prachar-Prasar Examination.It has five categories for students : primary (up to class 8), secondary (from Class 9 to 12), college and university students, the general public and Non Resident Indians can also take the exam and everyone will earn a  certificate.

According to news reports, Aayog chairman Vallabhbhai Kathiria wrote to the Minister of State for Education, Sanjay Dhotra, seeking support in scoring “wide publicity” to the proposed exam. The January 18, 2021 letter states that the minister issued instructions to all educational bodies and boards to make sure the exam got publicity and eventually became a great success. It stated, “I request you to advise the Secretary (Higher Education)/Secretary (SEL) and the concerned officials of UGC, AICTE, Central Universities, IIT, IIM, NITs, CBSE, Kendriya Vidyalayas, NIOH, IGNOU, and other Central Governmental educational institutes to issue necessary instructions for help in the online Kamdhenu Gau-Vigyan Prachar-Prasar Examination and give wide publicity to make the examination a great success.” 

On February 12, UGC Secretary Rajnish Jain wrote to all VCs to ensure “wide publicity to this initiative”, and to ‘encourage’ students to register for the examination. It, of course, does not specify what this “encouragement” must be, but has been marked to “all vice-chancellors of all universities”. 

According to the Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog’s official website, it was set up “vide Resolution dated 21st February, 2019” to organise animal husbandry on “modern and scientific lines and to take steps for preserving and improving breeds, and to stop the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.” It is a “high powered permanent apex advisory body with mandate to help the Central Government to develop appropriate programmes for conservation, sustainable development and genetic upgradation of Indigenous breeds of cows. The Aayog will review existing laws, policies as well as suggest measures for optimum economic utilisation of cow wealth”

The “Gau-Vigyan Exam will be an on-line exam to be conducted throughout the country on the same day” and “there is no registration fees.” It also mentions that the results of the hour long will be announced on February 26 on the RKA’s website and “successful and meritorious will be given cash prize / certificate in a ceremony.” The exam is in multiple Indian languages including Sanskrit. The registrations started on January 5 and will end on February 20, there will be a ‘mock exam’ on February 21, and the real exam will be held on February 25.


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