Recently a colleague at VHL reminded me that there is more to education than getting the competencies to students. As he knew I was teaching Bachelor students Disaster Recovery Management (DRM) he shared the situation of a partner university in the Balkan where education came to a stand-still. The floods of a month ago ruined the campus of the partner univeristy. At the time DRM students were spending time in rural Hungary for field work. We should have shifted the location a few miles.
This situation illustrates that teaching Disaster Recovery Management in the Netherlands in one sense is a luxury position having all the educational support at hand and in another sense it is often 'swimming-on-the-shore'. As a lecturer I just have to live with the fact that I do not have recovery situations at hand to connect learning and practice. In their second year these students will be allowed to spend two months with an organisation engaged in disaster recovery. And a longer placement period in the third year hopefully offers them some practical experience.
Battle of Ideas
Unlike the Bachelors education the Professional masters education we are providing for practitioners offers ample opportunity to engage. This week I enjoyed doing the facilitation of a module on Project Cycle Management where we did a Real-Time project identification with a group of stakeholders linked to a Centre of Excellence in Farmer Field Schools in Egypt in the context of a Nuffic project. The Egyptians had the benefit of picking the brains of our bright international students for bringing innovative ideas to the Centre. Both a Dean from Agricultural Faculty of Fayoum University and the Undersecretary of Fayoum Agricultural Department were present in the classroom. They were consulted by a group of agricultural experts from Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Nigeria and Ethiopia (students from the Management of Development who signed up for the capita selecta PCM). Both groups loved the interaction. A great way to combine theory and practice at VHL University. Students may consider to submit one of these proposals to the Battle of Ideas of NWO-WOTRO next week. The Egyptians could try the Facility for Sustainable Entrepreneurship of which the second round was launched this week. We only need to resource a food or seed company to partner with us.
"I believe that in the short run, within 2014, the floods will have a downward impact on growth (...) Overall we can have very cautious optimism and if reforms are pursued and with recovery from the floods, I think we can expect to see a positive growth trajectory and job creation coming forward."
My name is Reinier van Hoffen.
Click here for a summary.
Also find the text of a lecture Dr. Achterhuis held at the 2012 Bilderberg conference.