Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338
April 13, 1999
U of G gets $1.2 million from CIDA for programs in Egypt, Russia
Two University of Guelph programs aimed at improving educational opportunities in Egypt and Russia have received more than $1.2 million from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).
The Distance Learning Program in Agriculture and Rural Development in Egypt has received $750,000 from CIDA Tier 2 funds. Tier 2 programs are managed by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, and promote the development and internationalization of education, research and extension activities of Canadian universities.
CIDA is also contributing $528,000 to the Farm Management and Distance Education Training Project in Russia. Both projects are headed by the University of Guelph's School of Rural Extension Studies and modelled after a successful distance education program Guelph established at the University of Dschang in Cameroon.
The Egyptian program is in partnership with the University of Mansoura, which is supplying an additional $400,000 of in-kind funding. Faculty from Guelph's School of Rural Extension Studies will assist Mansoura faculty in delivering and managing distance learning programs in agriculture and rural development. Faculty in Egypt will design and write the courses, and visit Guelph to receive additional training and information.
Egypt faces serious limitations on its farming capabilities, said Prof. Jana Janakiram, School of Rural Extension Studies, who is involved with both CIDA projects. Only about 10 per cent of the land is non-desert and can be cultivated, so resources must be managed very carefully, he said. "The people there are very capable. They just need added information and a broader spectrum."
The project was one of 60 proposals submitted from Canadian universities to CIDA for Tier 2 funding. Nationwide, 13 programs were supported. "We've done very well in terms of receiving Tier 2 funding," said Doug Pletsch, chair of rural extension studies.
The Russian program will focus on distance education. It was initiated by Prof. Kandiah Anandarajah, research associate in the Department of Plant Agriculture, after a visit to Russia in 1995. Anandarajah observed that Russian farmers are having difficulty adjusting to "the new Russia." "Farmers have always received information and been told what to do, but they were never asked to make decisions," he said. "Now, they need to know what to do to make their farms and production profitable for their survival."
University of Guelph faculty will work with Russian People's Friendship University to develop training programs for students, agricultural support personnel, farm managers and farmers. They also will create distance courses in farm management, marketing and productivity for people currently working in the field. Russian People's Friendship University will contribute $200,000 of in-kind funding.
Contacts: Jana Janakiram, Department of Rural Extension Studies; (519) 824-4120 Ext. 2241; Kandiah Anandarajah, Department of Plant Agriculture, Ext. 2510.
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