Fall 1989 // Volume 27 // Number 3 // Research in Brief // 3RIB3

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Improving Extension in Iran


Yousef Hejazi
Department of Extension and Agricultural Education
University of Tehran-Iran

Editor's Note: In the midst of putting together this special issue on the future of Extension, I received a submission from an Extension professional in Iran. It strikes me as particularly appropriate to include an international contribution in this special issue of the Future, since global events and the internationalization of the economy will clearly have important impacts on our future. It's also worth noting that in the midst of the international diplomatic crisis with Iran, Extension colleagues are working in the field with farmers doing the same things we do, trying to create a better future for people. This article summarizes research aimed at identifying ways of improving Extension in the future in Iran.

In March 1988, a survey was conducted of Iran's 920 Extension agents and experts working in the Ministry of Agriculture. Questionnaires were returned by 781 Extension staff for a return rate of 85%. The survey focused on identifying things that motivate Extension workers.

The results showed that the greatest source of Extension agent satisfaction is in meeting social needs. This includes recognition from villagers of the value of Extension, recognition from supervisor, recognition from friends and relatives, recognition from colleagues, and recognition from family. The second greatest source of motivation was psychological in nature. This included such things as professional security, promotion, training opportunities, a good working environment, and receiving credit for work accomplished. The third area of motivation was physical factors, including salary, loans, availability of housing, health care, and educational opportunities for children.

The most important motivating factors for Iranian Extension staff were, in order of importance: (1) recognition from others of the value of Extension work, (2) opportunities for continuing education, (3) recognition from villagers and farmers directly, (4) administrative help in meeting physical needs, (5) salary, and (6) inexpensive housing.

Iran is having difficulty attracting people to Extension and maintaining Extension staff. To overcome weaknesses in the perceived occupational attractiveness of Extension, the conditions at work must be improved in Iran and special attention must be paid to things that motivate Extension workers.