KAMPALA – The national stakeholders including the Uganda Business and Technical Examination Board (UBTEB), Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) and Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) have called on the agricultural institutions to embrace blended learning in order to improve practical dairy training.
This was during the first meeting held at SKYZ Hotel-Naguru, Kampala which brought together all policy-making and implementation individuals in the said ministries involved in the teaching of agriculture and training of farmers with a focus on the dairy sector in the country under the project East African Regional Network of Excellence in Dairy Training (EARNED). The project is expected to improve institutional, organizational, and individual capacity to offer blended and practical training in dairy production, processing, and business in the East African Region (EAR) and the Netherlands.
The project seeks to enable the key national stakeholders understand clearly the use of Blended Learning approach and methodology in improving practical dairy training, to showcase blended learning dairy training experience during the pilot phase and also to demonstrate the use of Dairy Delta Academy (DDA) platform in the blended learning training approach and methodology for lecturers/dairy instructors, students and farmers.
The project is anticipated to create an inspirational learning and innovative environment to support existing curricula, deepen partnerships between education, private sector, government, and civil society in the EAR and the Netherlands, and provide a common platform to connect members interested in training at both formal (TVET) and informal (farmer, advisor) levels in the Netherlands and EAR.
Speaking at the event, UBTEB Executive Secretary, Onesmus Oyesigye said that the involvement of the training institutions, farmers, and private practitioners will go a long way in producing training modules that will enable the graduate to acquire hands-on skills.
“As UBTEB, we have had engagements with the officials of EARNED project. Our team is ready to work with you in the development of dairy training modules. I am glad to inform you that the Board is already conducting an assessment for specialised TVET programmes such as USDP programmes at Diploma and Certificate level.”
Mr. Oyesigye pledged UBTEB support towards the fulfillment of the objectives of the EARNED project.
One of the beneficiaries of the pilot study – Mr. Tukwasibwe William – Principal Rwentanga Farm Institute in Mbarara noted that his 18 students were enrolled and given smartphones and internet, and 3 members of staff were trained as coaches to assist the students.
“This program involved the students going to the farmers, interacting with them and students send information in form of videos, recordings and photographs to the coaches who would assist them and give feedback immediately.”
“This system is very good and cheap, with easy monitoring, students learn at their own pace,” he added.
“We think this is the way to go,” said Mr. Tukwasibwe, noting that the project helped them to develop a business plan using the converse model for the dairy sector which they have started to implement.
He noted that this has also helped them to teach agriculture practically and online.
Mr. Tukwasibwe, however, decried internet connectivity which he said has highly hindered the study.
He is also concerned on the assessment of learners at the national level.
EARNED project is being coordinated by Mbarara University of Science and Technology.