Agricultural extension service training in Uganda and delivery competence acquisition.
Agriculture training in Agricultural Institutions has a bearing on the quality of the competences needed for appropriate agricultural service delivery. However, knowledge, skills and attitudes for agricultural service delivery still remain a challenge in farming communities to cater for the vast and dynamic agricultural needs. The study investigated how the content of the crop production curriculum taught at Agricultural Institutions supported service delivery competence requirements, assessed the extent to which teaching and learning methods enhanced competence acquisition and determined the relevance of the training given to Agricultural Extension Workers to the competence requirements. A descriptive study design was adopted employing a qualitative approach. Respondents were students, lecturers, farmers and agricultural institutions administrators. Responses were also collected from extension workers, the district Production and Marketing Officers, the Agricultural Officer and NAADS coordinators at the District. Interviews, observation and documentary analysis aided the process of data collection. Data analysis was done qualitatively by so1ting, editing, and coding of the findings. It was found out that the content of the crop production curricula supported acquisition of the required knowledge, skills and attitudes for service delivery to a limited extent. The teaching and learning methods enhanced acquisition of the required crop production knowledge, skills and attitudes for extension service delivery to a limited extent. The methods included: lectures, team teaching, research discussions and Information technology: projects, demonstrations, outreach programs, industrial training, study tours and exhibitions. The teaching and learning methods were influenced by the expertise of lecturers/instructors, time allocation and the availability of tools, equipment and materials. While the training of the extension workers would be relevant to the service delivery competence requirements, it provided limited crop production knowledge, skills and attitudes. To cater for the mismatch, it was recommended that; relevant course content of the crop production curricula such as crop agronomy, pest and disease control, soil and water conservation, agricultural extension methods should be maintained. More time need to be accorded to the practical component; teaching and learning methods should be modified and integrated; tools, equipment and materials be availed; the lecturers and instructors should be provided with pedagogical skills of teaching; the training should be integrated with training students at agricultural research centers, farmers' farms and at other agricultural related fields such as agro-based industries, agro-processors and agro-input providers