Capacity Building for Sustainable Agricultural Development in the GMS: Taking Advantage of eLearning

B.R. Abdon (Japan)


Agriculture, sustainable development, GMS, eLearning


In the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), where agriculture contributes over 40% of the GDP and provides employment for 75% of the population, sustainable and equitable development is intrinsically linked with improvements in the agricultural sector. While the role of education as a key mechanism for promoting improved agricultural practices and development is universally accepted, delivering agricultural knowledge in the GMS and other developing countries remains a challenge. In response to the needs and to assess the potential of eLearning as an effective delivery mechanism, a project was implemented under which 3 online courses were implemented targeting agricultural educators and professionals. Although problems were encountered, the project demonstrated that eLearning can and does work even in a region as technologically underdeveloped as the GMS. Based on the experience and student feedback the following recommendations are put forward to strengthen eLearning in this region: (1) continue to support and encourage online learning for agricultural professionals in the GMS; (2) recognize and respond to the need to adequately promote online courses; (3) develop indigenous eLearning capacity in the region, and (4) look for opportunities to subsidize or lower the costs of internet access for online learners.

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