Rethinking agricultural higher education in public institutions of sub-saharan Africa
Tenywa, Moses M
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Higher Education Institutions (HEI) in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are in crisis. The capacities of institutions to maintain quality is often undermined by declining funding, brain drain, deteriorating infrastructure, civil disorder, and massive expansion of undergraduate enrolment. Graduates are ill-prepared to meet the demands of the employers in the global market and to address the needs and priorities of the local communities. Past models (U.S. Land grant universities-1960s &1970s and State Agricultural University, India 1980s), introduced in African universities to overcome the persistent challenges facing agriculture higher education by increasing efficiency and effectiveness through enhanced connectivity between education, research and extension functions, failed. An EDULINK project “Strengthening of university capacity for promoting, facilitating and teaching rural innovation processes (SUCAPRI) has been conceived to address this issue through south-to-south and south-to-north partnership. It involves a network of teaching and research staff in Makerere University in Uganda, four universities (Nairobi, Egerton, Kenyatta, and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology) in Kenya, the International Centre for development-oriented Research in Agriculture in the Netherlands (ICRA), and National Agricultural Research Organizations in Kenya and Uganda (KARI and NARO, respectively). The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) has been strategically co-opted to enhance ICT capacity. This proposal seeks to provide a platform for sharing with stakeholders our pilot experiences in to strengthen the capacity of five African universities to prepare professionals with the competencies needed to promote agricultural and rural innovations. The platform will provide an opportunity for stakeholders to share relevant lessons and experiences on capacity building that promotes holistic learning to address the real needs and priorities of the communities. It is hoped that we will come out with the answer the question –What is the best model for capacity building that integrates the research, training and outreach functions of agriculture?