Knowledge for Development

Reshaping tertiary agricultural education

Globalization and rapid advances in information and communication technologies are expanding the opportunities for collaboration and networking while simultaneously spurring competition among firms, nations and regions. Agricultural science graduates are expected to be critical thinkers, multi-disciplinary problem solvers and team players who are also “work ready”. ACP universities are challenged to produce these quality graduates while increasing their efficiency, relevance and effectiveness, in responding to societal needs. Yet, resources – financial and human, are dwindling and demand and competition among national, regional and international universities for staff, students and funding are increasing. In this folder, attempts are made to find answers to how best to reshape tertiary education in agriculture to meet future needs of ACP agricultural sector. Prepared by KIT in Collaboration with CTA - January-February 2008. Edited by J.A Francis (CTA) and J. Sluijs (KIT)

How to educate in a changing world? Towards competence-based tertiary agricultural education

by Arjen Wals, Martin Mulder and Natalia Eernstmann, Education & Competence Studies, Wageningen University, Wageningen, Netherlands
In this feature article, Wals and colleagues provide a brief review of some trends in Tertiary Agricultural Education (TAE) within Europe and examines the world-wide shift from traditional transmissive to emerging transformative development of more dynamic competencies in a real-world setting. They note that a number of new competencies are required including: interdisciplinary problem-solving, addressing multiple stakeholder interests, participatory approaches in innovation, interactive methods in conflict resolution, responsive actions regarding community needs, critical media literacy, and social responsibility in entrepreneurship, to name a few, along with those that still connect to specific content areas (e.g. animal science, plant science, environmental science and agro-technology). 11/02/2013
For Kenya to fully realize the national goal of becoming a knowledge-based economy, provision of a favourable policy environment which emphasizes the universities’ pivotal role in the research and innovation process and necessary financial resources for R&D is a prerequisite. The universities also need to enhance collaboration with industry to be able to respond to the challenges and contribute to speeding up the innovation process. Ensuring the relevance of doctoral education, accessing financial support for research and having the right people is key. 11/02/2013
The vital contribution that higher education must continue to make to the development process is increasingly recognized, especially given the growing awareness and acceptance of the role of science, technology, and innovation in economic renewal (UN Millennium Project, 2005). Recently, the Inter-Academy Council (IAC) highlighted the important need for universities in developing countries to become vibrant centres of excellence capable of propelling their nations into the knowledge economy (IAC January 2004; and IAC June 2004). The emerging trends suggest urgency in rethinking and reshaping the way agricultural education within the ACP regions is delivered, particularly at the tertiary level. The focal points that will play a role in the process are grouped into clusters: Knowledge; sustainability; globalization; collaborating, strategizing and funding, and dealt with in some detail hereafter. 22/02/2008
RUFORUM is an initiative by a consortium of 12 universities in east and southern Africa to develop and strengthen human resource capacity for interdisciplinary problem-solving. It achieves its goal through grants programmes to support research and to address rural (agricultural) development issues, especially community and smallholder farmer needs. RUFORUM’s mission is to foster innovativeness and adaptive capacity of universities engaged in agricultural and rural development to develop and sustain high quality in training, innovative and impact oriented research, and collaboration. 22/02/2008
The recent diversification of tertiary education provision in the Anglophone Caribbean is explored, paying particular attention to the role of “external” (foreign/private sector) providers of tertiary education. Main areas for consideration are the identification of such providers, the impact this provision has had on student enrolment at the national level, and the level of quality assurance associated with the new providers. Recommendations are made as to how they might be harnessed to provide the greatest benefits to the region. Read this document. 22/02/2008

Descending the Ivory Tower and re-making higher education in the era of (un)sustainability

by Dr. Paul Kibwika, Makerere University, Uganda , Dr. Arjen E.J. Wals, Wageningen University & Research Centre, The Netherlands
We live in an essentially ‘systemic world’ characterised by multiple causation, interactions and complex feedback loops, yet the dominant educational structures are based on fragmentation rather than connection, relationship and synergy (Sterling, 2001). Universities, confronted with 21st century challenges must therefore not only rediscover, build on and share indigenous ways of knowing and acting, but generate and or adapt new concepts and practices that will contribute to creating a world that is more sustainable. Academics who still believe that universities are Ivory Towers must be willing to make a paradigm shift so that universities become an integral part of the communities that support them. Hence, a challenge to those involved in shaping higher education in agriculture and life sciences in the ACP region is to revisit institutional practices, examine the disciplines and provide more synergy and become more accountable for economic and human development. 22/02/2008

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