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STRENGTHENING ANIMAL PRODUCTION IN MYANMAR BY TRAINING SPECIALISTS IN ANIMAL PRODUCTION Professor G. H. McDowell Melbourne, Australia
Professionals skilled in Animal Production will be required to enhance Animal Production in Myanmar • These professionals should: • engage in research and development of relevance to the Animal Production Industries; • interpret technical information for Producers; • advise Producers and personnel in related industries (eg Food Processors); and • ensure compliance with regulations
More veterinary graduates • As the Animal Production Industries in Myanmar expand and the complexity of the industries increases there will be demand for increased numbers of veterinary graduates • See later
Issues which must be addressed by the Animal Production industries in Myanmar • Animal Production Systems must be cost effective and produce required products which are affordable • Animal Production Systems must be sustainable • World’s best practices should be adopted • Practices must meet local and international ethical standards • Research relevant to local needs should be undertaken and the results communicated
It will be essential to train local personnel rather than engage expertise from elsewhere because: - Locally trained personnel will be familiar with local practices and expectations; - local personnel will be better able to transmit information to Producers; - local personnel will be in the best position to make decisions on relevant research initiatives; and - unless local personnel are engaged it will not be possible to communicate credibly with international practitioners
Steps to be taken in the short term • Assistance available from International Agencies should be drawn upon to commence the process of enhancing the Animal Production Industries of Myanmar • It is understood that the Australian Agencies ACIAR and AusAID are poised to mount relevant support programmes • It appears that the Australian Crawford Fund will be prepared to assist with short-term training programmes • Support from other International Agencies should be pursued actively
Steps to take in the longer term • It is considered essential to deliver a course in Animal Production Science in Myanmar • As a first step, local more local personnel must be trained so they can contribute to the delivery of the course • These local personnel should be assisted to gain support to obtain post-graduate qualifications at relevant Universities elsewhere in the World • This process should commence essentially immediately
Course nomenclature • The descriptor for the course should be both descriptive and neutral • A suitable descriptor for the base degree of 3 years would be Bachelor of Animal Production Science (B Anim Prod Sci) • This descriptor should imply that the course is primarily Animal Science with emphases on exploitation of animals to produce required products and the study of these processes
Recommended Entity to be responsible the course in Animal Production Science • It is recommended that the course be the responsibility of a Faculty of Agriculture (or Agricultural University) • It is further recommended that skills available from other Faculties (eg Veterinary Science, Science, Economics, Information Technology) be utilised to assist with the delivery of the course
Rationale for recommending that the course in Animal Production Science be the responsibility of an Agricultural Faculty (University) - Cost of providing facilities including staff - Students must obtain sound bases in agricultural areas (eg crop and pasture production, nutrition, agricultural economics including marketing, communication, general husbandry of animals)
Why three years? • Increasingly economic imperatives are leading to the offering of courses in Agricultural Science with a duration of three years • Counteracting the economic imperative is the benefit derived by completing a fourth year of study to gain specialist knowledge.
Support for the recommendation that the course in Animal Production Science be the responsibility of an Agricultural Entity • “Agriculture, also called farming’ or husbandry, is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fibre, biofuel and other products used to sustain life” (Wikepedia) • “All Flesh is Grass” (McClymont)
Suggested Course Content • Year 1 – Agricultural Chemistry, Biology of Living Organisms, Statistical Analyses, Soil Science, Bioethics, Introductory Agricultural Economics • Year 2 – Crop and Pasture Production, Biochemistry, Anatomy and Physiology of Production Animals, Parasites of Production Animals, Microbiology
Suggested Course Content (cont) • Year 3– Nutrition of Ruminant Animals, Nutrition of Non-ruminant Animals, Animal Biotechnology, Animal Reproduction, Ruminant Production Systems, Non-ruminant Production Systems, Animal Products • Year 4- either further study in a specialist area of Animal Production OR preparation for a career in research (both restricted to students who perform well in earlier years of the course)
Orientation programme • Immediately prior to commencement of the first period of study (term or semester) in first year students should undertake an orientation period of 1 or preferably 2 weeks • Participation in this orientation programme will introduce students to the Animal Production Industries of Myanmar • Students will be able to ‘bond’ • Staff will be able to know their students and inculcate good study and other practices
Practicum Placements • Students should be assisted to find placements in Animal Production Units after completion of the first and second years of study • Each placement should be of 5 weeks, one in a Ruminant production unit and the other in a Non-ruminant Production Unit • A student who can provide a convincing case for relevant prior experience could be given exemption from one or both placements
Practicum placement (cont) • Reports of the placements should be assessed and graded as either satisfactory or unsatisfactory • Completion of satisfactory placement reports should be considered as a hurdle requirement necessary for graduation • Through the placements contact will be made with the Animal Production Industries and their personnel engendering a sense of ‘ownership’
Duration of the Proposed course in Animal Production Science • It is recommended that the duration of the course be 3 years with an optional 4th year for capable students • There should be a pathway for students to ‘up-grade’ a degree of three years duration after completing this qualification • Those completing the course in 3 years will be in a position to provide general technical support and advice • Those admitted to the fourth year will position themselves to obtain specialist knowledge in a particular area of Animal Production or to enter research careers
Admittance to the course in Animal Production Science • Students who have completed at least Chemistry, Mathematics and English at senior Secondary School should be offered admission to the degree programme of 3 years. • Entry into the fourth year of study should be restricted to students who perform well during the programme of 3 years • It should be possible for those who complete the programme in 3 years to up-grade their qualifications at a future time
Up-grading of Qualifications • Graduates who complete the base course of three years should be able to enter the fourth year of study at a later time by demonstrating that they have gained relevant experience in a particular area of Animal Production after a minimum period of 3 years.
Nomenclature for the different degrees • Completion of the base programme of three years should lead to the award of the Bachelor of Animal Production Science (B Anim Prod Sci) • Completion of the fourth year of study in a specialist area should lead to the award of a Bachelor of Animal Production Science (specialist area) - for example Bachelor of Animal Production Science (Ruminant Nutrition) [B Anim Prod Sci (Rum Nutr)], The degree should be awarded with High Distinction (80%) or Distinction (70%) or without classification – less than 70% • Completion of a fourth year of study to gain access to a research degree should lead to the award of a Bachelor of Animal Production Science (Honours) ; for example [B Anim Prod Sci (HonsI)]The level of Honours awarded should be specified and based on the overall mark awarded in the fourth year of study – HI- 80%; HIIA – 75%; and HIIB – 70%; HIII- less than 70%
The Standing of Graduates • It will be essential that graduates be recognised as skilled professionals who are in a position to provide valuable inputs into the Animal Production Industries • The graduates should be considered to be the equal of other professionals who provide expertise to the Animal Production Industries.
Strategic Alliances • It is recommended that strategic alliances be established with Universities in the region • There are several Universities which have undergone the process of up-grading their status and now have the experience of developing appropriate infra-structure and courses for graduates • It is suggested that Maejo University in northern Thailand and The Yunnan Agricultural University in Kunming, PRC be approached to enter into alliances
Benefits of Strategic Alliances • Partner Universities will be able to provide advice on appropriate developments • Staff from Partner Universities will be able to assist with teaching and engage in collaborative research • Staff from Myanmar will be able to gain relevant experience at Partner Universities • Students will be able to undertake reciprocal exchanges • Under-graduate students from Myanmar may be able to complete parts of their study programmes at a Partner University • Post-graduate students from Myanmar should be able to complete some or all of their study at a Partner University
Suggested remodelling of the veterinary degree • A model which now operates in several countries is to have two stages to the degree • The first stage is a non-clinical period (this could be first 2 years of the Bachelor of Animal Production Science) • The second phase of 3 years is the clinical phase, completion of which leads to the award of the Bachelor of Veterinary Science
Remodelling the veterinary degree (cont) • Students who complete the first phase of 2 years and wish to proceed to the Bachelor of Veterinary Science should be given entry on a selective or competitive basis • Students not selected for entry to the Bachelor of Veterinary Science and others who elect not to complete the veterinary qualification may complete the Bachelor of Animal Production Science • Students entering the Bachelor of Animal Production Science intending to proceed to the Bachelor of Veterinary Science should be able to take elective subjects during the first 2 years of study to satisfy requirements for later study in years 3 to 5