Capacity Building in Open and Distance Learning (ODL) for Agricultural Development in Zambia

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

In its efforts to reduce poverty and improve food security, the Government of Zambia has given priority to agriculture. However, this sector faces a lot of challenges such as the need for trained human resource. // In order to address this challenge, agricultural training institutions need to supply adequate trained human resource to the agricultural sector. One of such institutions is the Natural Resources Development College (NRDC), which is the only public institution offering diploma courses in various fields of agriculture. However, due to inadequate resources and limited physical facilities, NRDC cannot meet the human resource needs of this sector from its residential courses. // As a means of increasing its capacity, the College has introduced an ODL programme. Since the college has no experience in ODL, there was a need to develop capacity in this area. Therefore the In-Service Trust of Zambia (ISTT) and the Directorate of Distance Education (DDE) at the University of Zambia (UNZA) developed a capacity development programme in consultation with NRDC. // The first phase of the programme involved conducting training workshops in Instructional Design and Materials Development. This was because an analysis of the characteristics and situational circumstances of prospective learners showed that the print medium would be the most appropriate mode of delivery. Subsequent training activities will concentrate on other aspects of ODL such as management and learner support. // The paper highlights the importance of agriculture in Zambia and the rationale for adopting ODL in developing human resources for the agricultural sector at NRDC. It also describes the nature of the programme, the output from the first phase and the level of commitment by the college management to provide the necessary resources for the programme, a critical success factor. // Paper ID 560

Open and Distance Learning (ODL),Capacity Building,Agriculture