Identification of Constraints and Effective Educational Strategies Influencing the Professional Competencies of Agricultural Extension Officers
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main objective of this study is to identify the constraints and effective educational strategies influencing the professional competencies of agricultural extension officers. Other specific objectives of the study are:
- To identify effective education strategy for developing competencies of agricultural extension officers.
- To identify the most preferred period to acquire competencies in extension service.
- To determine the level of competency possessed by respondents.
- To identify the constraints that limit the acquisition needed competencies.
REVIEW OF LITERATURE
Our focus in this chapter is to critically examine relevant literatures that would assist in explaining the research problem and furthermore recognize the efforts of scholars who had previously contributed immensely to similar research. The chapter intends to deepen the understanding of the study and close the perceived gaps.
Precisely, the chapter will be considered in three sub-headings:
- Conceptual Framework
- Theoretical Framework
- Empirical Review
“Competency” is a skill, a personal characteristic or a motive demonstrated by various behaviors which contribute to outstanding performance in a job. Generally, competency is the quality of being adequately or well qualified, having the ability to perform a job (Cernucca & Dima et al. 2007). Competencies of staff lead to effectiveness which is a product of an organisation ability to attain and efficiently use existing resources, (particularly human resources) to achieve its goals. Focusing on competencies will aid any organisation to outline the responsibilities, knowledge, and skills required for positions to their current employees. Competence refers to a person’s underlying characteristics that are causally related to job performance (Boyatzis 1982). Competence is defined in the context of particular knowledge, traits, skills, and abilities. Knowledge involves understanding facts and procedures. Traits are personality characteristics (e.g., self-control, self-confidence) that predispose a person to behave or respond in a certain way. Skill is the capacity to perform specific actions: a person’s skill is a function of both knowledge and the particular strategies used to apply knowledge. Abilities are the attributes that a person has inherited or acquired through previous experience and brings to a new task (Landy 1985): they are more fundamental and stable than knowledge and skills (Fleishman and Bartlett 1969). Competence can be defined as the ability to perform a specific task in a manner that yields desirable outcomes. To Lane and Ross (1998), competence is the ability to apply knowledge, skills, and abilities successfully to new situations as well as to familiar tasks for which prescribed standards exist. It is traditionally viewed that the development of competencies was based on job responsibilities. However, to Langdon and Marrelli (2002), it is more significant to generate competencies based on the needed outcomes from the job. Stone (1997) described competencies as the application of knowledge, technical skills, and personal characteristics that are designed around the abilities individuals and groups need to give effective job performance and use in making human resource decisions.
Competence (1) is a physical or intellectual ability, skill or both; (2) is a performance capacity to do as well as to know; (3) is carried out under standardized conditions; (4) is judged by some level or standard of performance as ”adequate,” ”sufficient,” ”proper,” ”suitable” or ”qualified”; (5) can be improved; (6) draws upon an underlying complex ability; and (7) needs to be observed in real-life situations (Shavelson, 2010).
The above definitions provide insight into what one should expect upon hearing the term. Operationalising this concept, competencies can refer to a person’s general knowledge and abilities used to carry out both specified and unspecified tasks leading to the satisfaction of all stakeholders’ current and future desired standards.
Research designs are perceived to be an overall strategy adopted by the researcher whereby different components of the study are integrated in a logical manner to effectively address a research problem. In this study, the researcher employed the survey research design. This is due to the nature of the study whereby the opinion and views of people are sampled.
POPULATION OF THE STUDY
According to Udoyen (2019), a study population is a group of elements or individuals as the case may be, who share similar characteristics. These similar features can include location, gender, age, sex or specific interest. The emphasis on study population is that it constitute of individuals or elements that are homogeneous in description.
This study was carried out on the identification of constraints and effective educational strategies influencing the professional competencies of agricultural extension officers in Oyo and Ogun states. All the frontline extension officers working under the ADPs in the two states agricultural zones form the population of the study. Available statistics from the four agricultural zones in the study areas indicated that the total number of extension officers in the zones is 204.
DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS
Table 4.1: Demographic data of respondents
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
In this study, our focus was In this study, our focus was on the identification of constraints and effective educational strategies influencing the professional competencies of agricultural extension officers in Oyo and Ogun states. The study specifically was aimed at ascertaining the effective education strategy for developing competencies of agricultural extension officers, their most preferred period to acquire competencies in extension service, the level of competency possessed by agricultural extension officers in Oyo and Ogun state and the constraints that limit the acquisition needed competencies.
The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 84 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are active workers extension officers in the study areas.
The findings revealed that The mean age of respondents was 46 years, majority were males (65.0%), married (95.0%), had household size of 5-6 persons (53.75%), had 9-16 years of job experience (40%) and all had attained tertiary education with 47.5% of them at HND level. FNT/MTRM (=1.91) was considered the most effective education strategy while job shadowing (=0.73) was rated the least effective. During in-service training (45.7%) was the most preferred period to acquire extension competencies. Organizational management (=19.7)) was the most possessed competency and on the overall, 51.2% of respondents possessed high level of competency. The most severe constraint to acquiring competency was lack of funds (=1.77). There was a significant relationship between age (r=0.244, p<0.05), years of work experience (r=0.224, p<0.05), education delivery strategies (r=0.435, p<0.05) and level of competency. Also there was a significant negative relationship between the constraints to acquiring competencies and competency level of extension officers (r=-0.292, p<0.05).
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