BUGS / FAP Adjusts to Covid-19 through Virtual Interactions
Board of Undergraduate Studies & Field Attachment Programmes (BUGS/FAP) is mandated with the review of, and recommendation to the Senate on, the quality of undergraduate programmes. The Board also coordinates and facilitates field/industrial attachment (FA) and teaching practice (TP). Therefore, BUGS / FAP interacts with undergraduate students long before they set foot in class, as the Directorate coordinates the departments and faculties in the process of developing new programmes/ courses and reviewing the existing curricula to make them better suited to the needs of students and the market.
The Directorate has continuously improved on the Farm Attachment Programme (FAP), whereby students are attached in farms and work with the farmers to make meaningful gains in implementing relevant projects and activities in collaboration with the farmer.
Feedback from the students emphasised the need for reliable, unbiased sources of agricultural information to farmers. The database of the farmers and other organisations participating in the programme has been updated and reviewed in the past 6 months with the assistance of the Faculty of Agriculture and facilitation from the TAGDev project. However, the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the planned attachment period for this year (May-August 2021) as the University calendar was revised following closure of learning institutions in March 2021.
Through BUGS/FAP, Egerton University has continued to partner with Arava International Agricultural Training Centre (AICAT) in Israel to provide hands-on skills for students undertaking agricultural related programmes. The 11-months programme provides selected students with an opportunity to be attached to farms and farmer organisations in the Arava region of Israel for five days in a week, and to spend one day in class at AICAT. Most of the students are involved in field work and different agricultural activities usually within each farm or group of farms.
The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the programme and so far the 2019-2020 cohort (the seventh cohort), which includes 25 Egerton University students who were to complete the internship programme in June 2020, have been in different locations in Israel since August 2019. BUGS/FAP is keenly following the situation to ensure resumption of the programme as soon as possible.
In line with the “new normal”, BUGS/FAP has embraced virtual meetings to ensure the scheduled reviews of programmes are not delayed. On 26 October 2020, on 17 March 2021, and on 23 March 2021, the Board held meetings to discuss and review curricula from various Faculties. The Board also held a Field Attachment Coordinators' virtual meeting on 22 March 2021 to plan for a Field attachment exercise that had been originally scheduled to commence in May 2021.
Finally, teaching practice took place between January and March 2021, during which a total of 1,151 students successfully completed their teaching practice in various schools.