This cross-sectional study examined perceived level of importance, perceived level of competency in extension core competencies, and whether and how perceptions of competency vary by respondents' demographics; ascertained gaps in competency, if any; and identified ways for agricultural development professionals in Cambodia to acquire core competencies. Data were collected using a group-administered survey among 39 agricultural development professionals participating in a national workshop in December 2015. The survey consisted of 48 competencies representing eight core competencies, and each competency had level of importance and level of competency parts. The findings show that extension workers in Cambodia deemed all competencies highly or very highly important to their extension work; however, their perceived level of competency in those competencies appeared not to meet the expectations. The level of competency in all but communication skills and diversity significantly differed by gender but not by age and experience. Respondents indicated all four methods-preservice, in-service, basic induction training, and participation in seminars, workshops, and webinars-equally appropriate to acquire core competencies. The findings imply that the agricultural development authority in Cambodia should review, update, or design extension education curricula incorporating the competencies highlighted in this study and train its extension cadres on those competencies.
Keywords: Acquiring competency; Agricultural extension workers; Education; Evaluation; Extension core competencies; Training.
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