Curriculum renewal talks get underway for Bachelor of Agricultural Extension Programme

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Mr Sifiso Mdletshe, Dr Antonia Makina and Dr Folla Yusuf 

In a bid to further enhance the graduateness of our students, the University’s Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension has started a process of reviewing the Bachelor of Agricultural Extension programme to align it with current trends in the labour market.

To fast-track the process, the Department recently held a curriculum renewal workshop facilitated by Dr Antonia Makina, an Education Consultant in the Directorate: Curriculum Development and Transformation at the University of South Africa.

The session brought together specialists and stakeholders who assisted with the drafting and mapping of the proposed new or updated Agricultural Extension programme that seeks to talk to new opportunities in the profession.

The stakeholders included the Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, the Agriculture Research Council, agricultural colleges, a programme review specialist and academics from the University’s Agronomy, Livestock and Pastures Departments.

The HOD, Mr Sifiso Mdletshe said the reason for the curriculum redesign is mainly driven by the intention to enhance the employability of the students who graduate from the programme.

“We want to align our programme offering to what the employers are looking for. We also want to introduce work-integrated learning to ensure that our graduates are ready for the job market, as such, we are proposing that the degree be offered for four years as to the three years.”

Mr Mdletshe said the process aims to improve further the quality of education and the training offered by programme. “Currently, the qualification is an NQF Level 7, we strive to make and implement the necessary improvement to get it accredited as an NQF Level 8 qualification,” said Mr Mdletshe.

Dr Makina said re-circulation is very important because it ensures that the qualifications offered are fit for purpose. “The curriculum needs to be relevant to what is happening in the country, economically and socially. Also, we need to be geared towards curriculum transformation which is a core requirement from the Council of Higher Education and the Department of Higher Education and Training.”

Dr Folla Yusuf who is a Senior Agricultural Extension Lecturer said the extension programme has always been of high quality however, current and emerging societal issues necessitated a review. “When we look at the current and emerging issues in society, and then look at the University which is repositioning itself to be a distinctive African University, advancing excellence and innovation teaching and learning, requires us to move with current issues.”

“Our curriculum needs to speak to the Fourth Industrial Revolution and transformation to ensure that when our graduates enter the labour market, they meet the demand.”

According to Mdletshe, the process will now be escalated to the University’s Senior Management and Senate for further deliberations and advancement.