Global Need for Revitalization of Agricultural Extension Training
Keywords:Agricultural extension, human resources, competency
AbstractThis article surveys the trends in agricultural extension programmes and services found across the world, including privatization, decentralization, and pluralism. The general movement from top-down extension services to demand-driven programmes is explored along with its impact on the skills needed by extension professionals. Process skills and competencies required of modern extension professionals—programme planning and development, programme implementation, written and spoken communication, educational and informational technology, facilitative leadership, diversity and multiculturalism, public relations, and applied research and evaluation—are explained and linked to relevant skill sets. In-service training of current extension agents and improvements to the facilities, faculty, and curricula used in the education of future agents are proposed as solutions to the challenges facing agricultural extension programmes and services. In-service training would raise knowledge, skills and attitudes of extension agents to meet changing contexts and needs. The changing nature of professional extension work requires that university training programmes respond with new courses and experiences for students. Practical education through fieldwork, internships, or practicums and techniques for adult learning, technology and communication skills, and leadership development are all possible solutions for closing the gap between the agricultural and extension education training programmes and the competencies required of professional extension agents.
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