2.2 The universities in developing countries work under different conditions

There are certain preconditions to be fulfilled in order to change universities into an instrument of socio-economic change:

  • the society must be ready to let new knowledge influence its values and goals,
  • the society must allow universities to participate in the process of forming values and setting goals.

Needless to say, it is not the task of universities to decide on values and goals — this is a field of political institutions —, but it should prepare the material and intellectual basis for the decision and contribute to the discussion. It is not unproblematic for universities to play an active role in the development process. The university must contribute, discuss, and even criticize, but should not enter a situation of dependence. An antinomy between freedom and self-determination of science and the demands of government and society may come up. Each society has to find its formula to use scientific knowledge for gearing the development process and profit from the university's competence without giving up the primacy of the political institutions. A society will attain full value from its university only if society and the university are linked together and confront the realities of today and the development needs of the country. This requires a transition from the traditionally introspective university to a university playing an active role in the process of change in the economy and society.

The new and much broader role of a modern college of agriculture has implications for its teaching and research activities.