Educational Institutional Approach for Rural Development through Distance Learning: The Experience of University of Technology in Papua New Guinea

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF5 Sub-theme: Livelihoods // Papua New Guinea University of Technology (PNG Unitech) has developed an educational institutional model for technology transfer and rural development suitable for the island countries of South Pacific. The programs are being operated by the South Pacific Institute for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural development (SPISARD) attached with the Department of Agriculture of the university. The model has been tested in PNG villages for the last 5 years and its results are encouraging. The Department of Agriculture, PNG Unitech has started this program since 2003 and by now seven villages in four provinces has been covered. Island countries being isolated cannot run rural development programs like other mainland countries of Asia. The program has been running in collaboration with GOs and NGOs and local farmer’s organizations. Farmers are the most important stakeholders and they have established resource center in each village by themselves. // The mode of delivery of messages in this program is two folds: One is personal contact and the other is distance mode using the Department of Distance Learning (DODL) facilities of the University. However most farmers and the farming family in the villages are educated through the village level training centers on regular basis with the messages and also a follow up visits by the Unitech staff on particular dates fixed earlier. The distance-learning mode is cost effective and more of self-learning than the traditional system of extension delivery system. // Four main important programs of this model are: Capacity building, research, training and technology transfer. The students and teachers of the university are involved in all the programs in collaboration with other internal and external agencies. The program is cost effective and sustainable as the existing facilities and the resources of the university are being utilized. The outputs of the program are used as inputs in teaching and research of the university. The existing institutions of the farming and rural communities plays the vital role to implement the activities being facilitated by SPISARD. The other local educational institutes such as schools, colleges and similar other institutions as churches have also been involved. By now 4 secondary schools have been involved in the program. // Paper ID 294

Papua New Guinea