Agricultural education, research and Extension are facing great challenges in terms of democracy, decentralization, and the issues of population, resources and environment in nearly all countries. It is especially the case in the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) where the centralized planning economy is being replaced by a market economy after 15 years of reform efforts. This paper attempts to illustrate the emerging role of agricultural universities and colleges in the national efforts for agricultural Extension and rural development in China.
After briefly reviewing the historical evolution of agricultural Extension in China, the authors provide information on changes since 1949. The developments are discussed in terms of the objectives of Extension, the institutional settings, the approaches followed, the main types of technologies disseminated and the consequences. These provide a background to understand the reasons for Chinese agricultural universities and colleges to develop their Extension functions.
Several approaches are described for the Extension activities of the universities and colleges. Finally, the endeavor of Beijing Agricultural University are introduced. The paper is concluded by providing some implications for the development of the Extension roles of Chinese universities and colleges.