Talk:COL SUCAPRI IAR4D PCF5 Preparations

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Dear esteemed partners and friends. With pleasure once again I wish to take this opportunity to inform you that our abstract concerning “Strengthening Capacity of Higher Education Institutes for enhanced impacts” for presentation to the upcoming Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning in London (PCF5), taking place from 13 – 17 July 2008 was accepted. The abstract is here in presented. Guidelines for next steps The next step is the development of our proposals, which we should submit by email to no later than 31st March 2008. The guidelines for formal papers or outlines of workshops/debates/discussions and displays/demonstrations are available online at As I mentioned in my earlier email the strategy is to hold a one day pre-conference meeting in which we shall contribute to workshops/debates/discussions or displays/demonstrations. The planned contribution must be articulated in detail of no more than 3,000 words covering the content and how the session will be organised. We can also work on a poster, handout or presentation. It is important that we have enough information to guide and give potential participants a description of our session.

So I would like us to make contributions along the lines: Abstract- improvements Introduction- justification, objectives, scope, Approach and methodology Lessons and challenges Conclusions and way forward. Strengthening of university capacity for promoting, facilitating and teaching rural innovation processes (SUCAPRI)

Higher Education Institutions (HEI) in sub-Saharan Africa are in a crisis. The capacities of institutions to maintain the quality is often undermined by declining funding, brain drain, deteriorating infrastructure, civil disorder, and massive expansion of undergraduate enrolment. The graduates are ill-prepared to meet the demands of the employers in the global market and to address the needs and priorities of the local communities. Past models (U.S. Land grant universities-1960s &1970s and State Agricultural University, India -1980s) introduced in African universities to overcome the persistent challenges facing agriculture higher education by increasing efficiency and effectiveness through enhanced connectivity between education, research and extension functions failed. This is particularly true for the agriculture sector that remains the major pathway to combating poverty, and African universities should play a major role in innovation-oriented agricultural research and development programmes. However, they are not sufficiently equipped for the complex outcomes expected from agricultural R&D teaching and research. A EDULINK project “Strengthening of university capacity for promoting, facilitating and teaching rural innovation processes (SUCAPRI) has been conceived to address this issue through south-to-south and south-to-north partnership by strengthening the capacity of five African universities to participate in decentralised national agricultural research systems, and to prepare professionals with the competencies needed to promote agricultural and rural innovation. It involves a network of teaching and research staff in Makerere University in Uganda and four universities (Nairobi, Egerton, Kenyatta, and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology) in Kenya and the International Centre for development-oriented Research in Agriculture in the Netherlands (ICRA). Commonwealth of Learning (COL) has been strategically coopted as a partner to bring along the strength of using ICT to enhance communication and partnership. Planning and training meetings have been held to identify appropriate platforms and mechanisms for collaboration, co-learning, curricula review and content development using free open libre source softwares.

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