Best-fit considerations

Developing a curriculum at the global level has the highest potential to reach large-scale audiences, but runs the risk of not being specific enough. The legitimacy of the institution leading the curriculum development process is crucial for credibility and the quick adoption of the process and products.

Global-level curricula require more advocacy effort, without which trickling down to local level could be a challenge. Global-level products also require translation into different languages, and further development to suit local contexts, all of which will require additional resources. At the national level, an enabling policy environment and allocation of resources are crucial for effective curriculum development.

Governance

Coordination of the curriculum development process is crucial. In the GFRAS case, coordination at global level entailed managing participation of context specialists and technical writers, organising writeshops, facilitating testing workshops, and monitoring and evaluating the process.

At the national level, coordination follows similar processes. Monitoring and evaluation is very important to keep track of inputs and outputs at various stages of the process. As in the South African case (Box 3), an accreditation system as well as universities and national regulatory systems play a critical role in governance and quality assurance.

Evidence of impact, sustainability, and scalability

There is evidence of increasing demand for online training programmes for RAS. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has a long history of using online learning materials for agricultural extension. (9)

Oakley, P. and Garforth, C. 1997. Guide to extension training, 5th ed. Rome: Food And Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, ch. 2.
In India, the National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE) implements a postgraduate diploma in agricultural extension management (PGDAEM) using massive open online courses (MOOCs); (10) and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) offers MOOCs through the National Virtual Academy for Indian Agriculture. (11)
ICRISAT. 2014. Massive open online courses for agricultural professionals to usher in classrooms without boundaries. Press release. Patancheru, India: International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics.

Demand for the New Extensionist Learning Kit is growing, from GFRAS network partners and beyond. Between June 2015 and May 2017 over 2,000 people were exposed to the kit through testing and/or training, and the feedback received is encouraging. Some universities have adopted some of the modules for integration into existing programmes e.g. in South Africa, Sierra Leone, and the Philippines.

This paper has been compiled by Hlamalani Ngwenya of the University of the Free State and Mercy Oluwayemisi Akeredolu of Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Education (SAFE) with assistance from Nalize Scheepers of Pedagogix, with financial support provided by the agencies with the logos below.

Acknowledgement: The special contribution on the accreditation of programmes (Box 3) was written by Nalize Scheepers, a director and principal consultant at Pedagogix (Pty) Ltd. Pedagogix is an independent consultancy offering specialised services to support academic planning, with specific reference to the development and implementation of education and training programmes, curriculum design and teaching, and learning support material at multiple levels in the education and training sector.