Department of Rural Development and Agricultural Extension

 
General Background to the Programs Run by the Department

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia has been giving emphasis to human resource development in the past two decades with an aim of combating the prevailing issues of poverty and food insecurity in the country using trained professionals in the areas of agriculture and rural development through expansion of higher education. The 5-year Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP, 2010/11-2015/16) of the country states that 23,000 graduates will have to be produced at the ratio of 75:25 at Master’s and Doctoral levels within the plan period. In addition to this, the GTP envisages that technology transfer-centred research system for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) will be put in place. Along with this, the relevance and quality of the programs in HEIs to support the economic development of the country has to be ensured.

In line with the development plan of Ethiopian government, Haramaya University also has given attention to initiate demand driven training programs in rural and agricultural sectors. Department of Agricultural Extension was established in 1994 in the university as the first of its kind, which was renamed as Department of Rural Development and Agricultural Extension in 2004 and now offers degree programs at undergraduate and post graduate levels.
Currently, the Department has several programs leading to the award of Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. The department runs Bachelor’s degree in Rural Development and Agricultural Extension as Regular, Mid-career, Summer-in-service, and Continuing Education Programs, Master’s degree in Rural Development and Agricultural Extension with two streams namely Rural Development as well as Agricultural Communication and Innovation for Rural Development and also in Agricultural Information and Communication Management as Regular and Summer-in-service programs. It also has Continuing Education Program (CEP) of Master’s degree in Rural Development and Agricultural Extension and Agricultural Communication and Innovation for Rural Development streams.

So far, the Department of Rural Development and Agricultural Extension has produced about 950 graduates at B.Sc. level (till 2010, July) in Regular, Summer-in-service, and Mid-career programmes and about 250 graduates at M.Sc. level in Rural Development and Agricultural Extension. The contribution of these graduates to the development of agricultural sector in the country is enormous and there is a growing demand by higher institutions (other national universities) to train lecturers, regional and federal agriculture bureaus, regional and federal agricultural research institutes and other development agencies for such qualified professionals.

Undergraduate BSc Programs in the Department of Rural Development and Agricultural Extension

Realising the emerging need of creating extension professionals with enough competence and technical knowledge to revamp Ethiopian farming sector, Haramaya University has been giving much thrust for the academic programmes in this subject matter for the last several years. In 1967, it began to offer a BSc degree programme with a major in agricultural education / extension but the Department was closed in 1977 – 78. After several years of interruption, the University, as per the recommendation from the Ministry of Education of Government of Ethiopia, and UNDP, re-institutionalised the Department of Rural Development and Agricultural Extension (formerly Department of Agricultural Extension) in 1994. The only one of its type in the country, the Department of Agricultural Extension at Haramaya University has been created at about the time when the new national extension intervention programme was on the anvil and was meant to specifically serve the purpose of agricultural development led industrialization (ADLI) policy by providing the required trained human resource.

At present, the Department of Rural Development and Agricultural Extension runs three BSc level training programmes (1) Regular (2) Mid-career and (3) Summer-in-service. The first one admits students who completed their preparatory education in various schools of the country (till 2004, from the freshman students in the University). This regular undergraduate programme B.Sc (Rural Development and Agricultural Extension), started in 1994, is unique by giving more emphasis on extension related courses along with technology inputs in crop and livestock production and natural resource management. This extends to three years after freshman course or preparatory course in natural science. The graduates of this programme are substantially contributing to the agrarian development of the country by serving as extension functionaries under the Ministry of Agriculture as well as NGOs in various capacities.

Another unique teaching programme of the Department is the Mid-Career undergraduate programme leading to the award of the degree B.Sc (Agricultural Extension). This is offered to the in-service and sponsored candidates from among the front line extension workers of regional bureaux of agriculture and rural development or NGOs, who already possess Diplomas in Agriculture and allied subjects as well as several years of service. Started in 1996, this programme has been producing on average 30 graduates every year since 1999.
Another notable course programme at undergraduate level is the Summer-in-service Programme leading to the award of the degree BSc (Rural Development and Agricultural Extension). Started in 2002, this is also meant for in-service candidates to enable them to be trained for better professionalism during their off-seasons (summer) of every year, though with long duration.

Post Graduate Programs

MSc in Rural Development and Agricultural Extension (MSc RDAE)

The Department of Rural Development and Agricultural Extension started Master’s degree in Rural Development and Agricultural Extension in 2003-04, realising the emerging need of higher learning in the subject matter. The graduate students are selected based on merit after rigorous entrance test procedures. This programme is also expected to add some contributions to the research pursuits of the Department on priority issues. This program offers two sub-specializations: ‘Agricultural Communication and Innovation for Rural Development’ and ‘Rural Development’. It provides common courses for all sub-specializations and specific courses to each sub-specialization. Elective courses are available to fulfill the requirements for M.Sc in RDAE depending on the thesis path and/or interest of students.

Admission Requirements to MSc RDAE

The general admission requirement for the MSc program in the field of Rural Development and Agricultural Extension is successful completion of academic requirements of the B.Sc. degree in Agricultural Extension/Rural Development and Agricultural Extension and related field of study and performance in entrance examination. However, graduates in agricultural sciences and non-agricultural stream (such as sociology, economics, psychology etc) have to undergo bridging/remedial courses prescribed by the DGC on the basis of their undergraduate studies before they take up graduate research. The courses may include: Adult Teaching Methods and Audio-visual Techniques, and Extension Methods and Approaches. In addition, those from non-agricultural discipline are required to successfully complete the following courses: Crop Production and Management, Animal Production & Management, and Introduction to Farm Management.

Those from agricultural stream but from other field of studies (such as Animal Science, Plant Science etc) have to take two bridging/remedial courses at undergraduate level namely ‘Extension methods and approaches’ and ‘ and ‘Adult Teaching Methods and Audio-visual Techniques’

Regional Masters Program – MSc in Agricultural Information Communication Management (MSc AICM)

The MSc AICM program is a new regional masters program hosted by RDAE department since summer 2010. This program is currently offered in other two RUFORUM member universities (Egerton University and University of Nairobi). Brief rationale of the program, learning objectives, learning outcomes and graduate profile is presented here under.

Admission Requirements to MSc AICM

The admission requirements for the MSc program in AICM are:

  • successful completion of academic requirements of a B.Sc./BA degree in agriculture, ICT or related disciplines from an accredited university, and
  • applicants must pass entrance exam and fulfill other admission criteria of the University.
Background and Rationale of the Regional MSc (AICM) Program

Agriculture is the economic driving force in most of the African countries. Agricultural research in Africa and elsewhere in the world is generating agricultural technologies that can improve food security and community development, but the impact is yet to be felt in sub-Saharan African (SSA) households in general and East and Central Africa (ECA) in particular. Even though hundreds of technologies are generated in the region, its dissemination and adoption is estimated to be very limited for various reasons. Appropriate information and communication management (ICM) is necessary to support food security by facilitating agricultural research and technology diffusion and uptake. Poor communication of information on emerging technologies, however, limits the impact of agricultural research. Most graduates of agriculture and related programs often do not acquire adequate capacity to integrate ICT in communicating agricultural knowledge. On the other hand, ICT specialists lack technical capacity to understand agricultural packages and communicate new developments in agricultural sector.

The Master’s degree program in Agricultural Information and Communication Management (AICM) is one of the key strategies set out to realize the objective of enhancing the contribution of information and communication to improved and sustainable productivity in agriculture, and to add value and competitiveness to the regional agricultural system. The program was designed through extensive consultations with national, regional and international partners and aimed at producing AICM professionals to complement rather than to duplicate national efforts that centered on short-term skills up-gradation training. Development of the program at postgraduate level was strongly supported by the findings of a training need assessment (TNA) undertaken by the Regional Agricultural Information Network (RAIN) of the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in East and Central Africa (ASARECA) in 2005 that showed the number of agricultural professionals in the region with AICM skills are few. More specifically, agricultural researchers, educators and technologists in National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS), Universities and extension services lack skills that can make them self-sufficient in meeting basic information needs to generate and disseminate agricultural technologies.

Learning objectives

The overall learning objectives of the program is to produce graduate with skills (in AICM) to make concrete contributions towards achieving market-led and knowledge-based transformation of small holder agriculture in Ethiopia as well as in the region. The program intends to realize its goal through producing graduates who are:

  • knowledgeable in both agricultural sciences and information and communication management,
  • capable of designing and managing agricultural information and knowledge management systems,
  • capable of providing support to the different agricultural information and knowledge users, generators, and disseminators,
  • competent to carry out basic and applied research in AICM aimed at addressing key agricultural extension problems and push the frontier of knowledge in AICM.

Learning outcomes

  • The MSc (AICM) program will realize its capacity to tackle the challenges facing transformation of small holder agriculture in the region through its competent and skillful graduates,
  • The program will obtain the capacity to respond to the needed market-led and knowledge-based transformation of small holder agriculture through practical problem solving research conducted by graduate students and senior academic staff, and
  • Key national and regional development partners will appreciate the role of graduates of AICM in harnessing challenges of agricultural development endeavor
Graduate profile of AICM

Graduate of the program will play pivotal role in nurturing “business as usual” mode of operation of actors involved in agricultural development such as national/regional research institutes, extension advisory services, input supplies, and marketing. The graduates will be able to develop and manage ICM strategy of organizations, able to design system of information flows along the value chain. They will be capable of blending enhanced use of ICTs with agricultural knowledge management so as to assist the relevant stakeholders involved in the agricultural development process.

Efforts to Strengthen the New MSc AICM Program

In order to strengthen the quality of the AICM program the RDAE department has been working on open educational resource (OER) for the program. This has been supported by AgShare pilot project funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation led by Michigan State University, USA and South African Institute for Distance Education (SAIDE). The OER modules produced during pilot phase of AgShare project for HU AICM program and other programs/AgShare partners are available on the OER Africa website http://tinyurl.com/agshare. The pilot phase of Agshare project was completed early 2012 and currently the department is working on continuation of the second phase led by South African Institute of Distance Education (SAIDE). Detail of project background and AgShare OER resources are available online at www.oerafrica.org/agshare.
For 2011/12 Academic Year, the RDAE department secured RUFORUM’s (Bill and Melinda Gets Foundation) competitive grant amount to US $ 30, 690 to support ten AICM students’ theses research work and publication of these students’ research results. Out of this fund one student is sponsored for 7 to 10 months research work at Bunda College, Malawi. Further efforts are underway to strengthen the program. Recently, RDAE led a project proposal submitted to EDULIK funding along with RUFORUUM and other African and European partners.

PhD in Rural Development and Agricultural Extension

The PhD has two streams: ‘Knowledge Management and Capacity Development’ and ‘Commercialization and Rural Institutions’. The objective of this program is to produce highly qualified and competent human resource for research, education, policy advice, and development practice in rural development and agricultural extension, focusing on the following thematic areas:

  • Knowledge management and innovation
  • Capacity development
  • Commercialization and rural livelihoods
  • Rural institutions and collective action
  • Rural and agricultural service delivery
Admission Requirements to PhD in RDAE

The candidates who fulfil the following criteria will be eligible to join the Doctoral Degree Program in Rural Development and Agricultural Extension.

  • Master’s degree in Rural Development and Agricultural Extension or similar nature.
  • Submission of an application with authenticated educational documents, three recommendations written by candidate’s former instructors and/or employers, a letter of sponsorship to cover tuition fees, living costs and doctoral research costs, and a two page dissertation research synopsis
  • DGC’s recommendation after scrutiny and evaluation of documents before approval by Council of Graduate Agricultural Extension (CGS) of the University.

The number of students to be admitted to the PhD program varies over years and it is mainly determined by the availability of senior lecturers in the department to supervise PhD students.

Professional Profile

The proposed PhD program is expected to create professionals who will:

  • serve as practitioners of rural development planning and facilitation;
  • act as researchers in rural and agricultural development process in different aspects;
  • help in policy advice and advocacies;
  • serve as academic experts to strengthen the universities in the country; and
  • be expert consultants for different stakeholders involved in Rural Development Agricultural Extension
Graduate Profile

The outputs of the program with Doctoral Degree in Rural Development and Agricultural Extension will have the capacity and competence in terms of knowledge, skills and attitudes in:

  • facilitating the process of designing, implementing, monitoring, evaluation and learning in development interventions addressing various problems prevailing in the country;
  • carrying out rural development policy research and analysis;
  • serving as academicians in institutions of higher learning;
  • taking up consultancy assignments for different stakeholders as might be needed in the thematic areas
Other Activities in RDAE Department

In addition to the teaching programmes, the Department has capacity to undertake development research, constancy services and offer short term/in-service training for NGOs and GOs in different areas such as development agents communication skill; participatory tools for rural development works; food security; rural development project design, monitoring and evaluation; demand driven market oriented extension advisory services; etc. In this regard, the Department has taken up and executed some consultancy projects and research projects. The department has also been proving in service training in collaboration with NGOs such as CISP, CARE, OXFAM, GOAL, etc

  1. Academic Programs:

 1.1. Undergraduate

–          Rural Development and Agricultural Extension, BSc R,S,C,D, Mid career

1.2. Postgraduate

–          Rural Development and Agricultural Extension, MSc R,S

–          Rural Development, MSc R,S

–          Agricultural Innovations and Communications for Development MSc R

–          Agricultural Information and Communications Management (AICM), MScR

–          Rural Development and Agricultural Extension, PhD with two streams:

  • Knowledge Management and Capacity Development
  • Commercialization and Rural Institutions
  1. Currently Enrolled Students
Students’ Profile By Program
BSc MSc PhD Total
Regular Mid-Career
213 104 51 10 378