Distance Delivery of Graduate Education in Agricultural Economics For Middle- and Low-Income Countries
|In a recently completed study supported by Farm Foundation, the National Association of Agricultural Economics Administrators (NAAEA) evaluated the demand for distance graduate education in agricultural economics. Distance delivery courses would enable U.S. institutions to deliver significant parts of graduate programs through institutions in developing countries, reducing time students from developing countries must spend in North America or Europe. The study also outlined a framework and evaluated the feasibility of delivering course work or degrees.
The study concluded that there was substantial interest worldwide within medium and low-income countries in receiving graduate courses and graduate degrees in agricultural economics by distance. Demand was assessed by both personal contacts with departments in medium and low income countries (mainly in Africa) and a formal sample survey of similar countries worldwide. Some of the observations from the study were:
The study examined current distance education programs and concluded that the program being investigated would be unique. Other programs fall into two main categories: programs where users or their employers have a high ability to pay such as MBA programs online and master’s degrees in agribusiness, and programs aimed primarily at broadening the number of students within the delivering institution’s area such as distance education programs which most land grant universities currently offer. The NAAEA program proposes that universities cater to the needs of students who are outside of the traditional catchment areas and who cannot afford to pay full costs.
Desirable features of the programs and their feasibility were identified. The programs should be:
Peter Wyeth, Distance Delivery of Graduate Education in Agricultural Economics for Middle and Low Income Countries. Final Report to the Farm Foundation. Pullman, WA: Washington State University, April 30, 2002. https://www.farmfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/attachments/1037-01-63.pdf
Farm Foundation supported this project as part of its role of agricultural institutions priority area. This study is envisioned as a starting point for developing distance delivery programs and has the potential to change the way graduate training is delivered. Making better graduate training available in low and middle income countries will benefit these countries and the world.