Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) is set to Launch Skills Development Project (SDP) this month. SDP is a four (4) year programme funded by World Bank through the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.
According to Luanar’s Open and Distance Learning (ODL) Coordinator, Dr Joshua Valeta,the launch is mainly to create awareness of the SDP at Luanar so that stakeholders should be aware of the project components.
He said Luanar has developed its Institutional Improvement Plans (IIP) that will increase access to quality agriculture higher education.
“In this regard, Luanar is to introduce other teaching and learning delivery modes that will allow more students to access its academic programmes. The emphasis of the SDP IIP Luanarcomponent is to expand the Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode,” said DrValeta.
He said through the project Luanar will introduce open and distance learning which will start with Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Extension, Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics, Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness and Bachelor of Science Agriculture Innovations.
“ODL at Luanarwill combine e-learning, correspondence approaches and face-to- face interactions. The e-learning will be employed in real time while supporting it with printed and web-based materials to facilitate individual and group learning processes, said DrValeta.
DrValeta said the project will also enhance the capacity of Luanarfor quality programme delivery saying this will be achieved through full-time training programmes, short-courses; on-job training, exchange visits and other strategies will include industrial attachments.
“The project will also enhance entrepreneurship in the curriculum. Deliberate efforts will be undertaken to address this need whereby the overall curriculum review will be undertaken to identify gaps and a stakeholder demand analysis against the existing curriculum will also be undertaken. This is to promote technical and vocational approaches for economic growth,” said DrValeta.
He said apart from these Luanar through the project has developed a performance management system that aims at improving performance of the institution and individuals in terms of efficiency, effectiveness and utilization of resources.
“The system has been designed based on the attainment ofLuanar’s strategic plan in which work plans by each member of staff will be measured on the set targets,” he said.
He said In addition, Luanarestablished a quality assurance directorate to improve management of teaching and learning for both ODL as well as conventional programmes.
Other beneficiaries of the project are Mzuzu University, The Polytechnic, Chancellor College and Teveta.