The “picnic” model for research training at African Universities: evaluation and preliminary comparison

Citation:
Stigter CJ, den Van B, Daane JRV, Adam HS, Mohammed AE, Ng'ang'a JK, Mungai DN. "The “picnic” model for research training at African Universities: evaluation and preliminary comparison.". 1998.

Abstract:

What distinguishes the “Picnic” model for research training at African universities from more classical models is reviewed and it is shown how the “Picnic” model deals with remaining drawbacks from the now popular “Sandwich” model. Starting with managerial experiences, criteria guiding this evaluation are used as sub-headings: realistic planning; adequate resource provision; partnership instead of aid; long term impact; high quality supervision; quality and quantity of student input; open and interactive communication; willingness to adapt to local circumstances; ongoing critical reflection; gradual expatriate withdrawal. The training output of the “Picnic” model tests in the four TTMI-countries is assessed after the actual and prospective jobs of its former students. The on-farm quantification of protecting systems/structures led in many TTMI PhD-research cases to improved design criteria for such systems/structures, with direct increases of yield or its preservation. In comparison with the “Sandwich” model, the “Picnic” model particularly incorporates institutional strengthening in the aim that the southern countries will become able to provide adequate education at the postgraduate level, teaching their students how to apply knowledge in their own environment. Degrees obtained at southern universities, therefore, have distinct advantages but joint responsibilities of universities for such degrees are difficult to organize, given the presently existing modes of output-related financing of Dutch universities. In a situation of institutional deterioration, such as Africa is experiencing, the best hope probably lies in strengthening networks of individuals and a collective sense of academic commitment, pending the revival of universities themselves. Emergency research related to the protection of the African agricultural environment by African universities, training NARS staff, must in the long run contribute to restoring an agricultural basis for part of the economies of the many poor African countries. Knowledge developed locally remains the most powerful vehicle for change from within.

The “picnic” model for research training at African Universities: evaluation and preliminary comparison

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