YPARD is engaging on a new study to contribute to the agricultural curriculum debate. We want to find out the new skill sets that are required of young professionals in ARD, contributing specifically with the voice of the youth!
Agriculture is changing, and with it, a revised set of skills is needed to address new challenges in agriculture. A number of prominent documents point to professionals in Agricultural Research for Development (ARD) with different characteristics than the ones universities ‘develop’ at present. The ‘new professional’ should, for example, be better able to work across different disciplines and in partnership with different stakeholders. YPARD is aiming to contribute to the agricultural curriculum reform discussion by developing a series of profiles of the ‘new’ future young professional starting a career in ARD. This scenario tool will inform educational policy makers to modify the ‘recipe’ to enable educational institutions to ‘produce’ a young professional that can contribute to a sustainable and effective ARD with a more relevant set of skills.
This study intends to contribute to the debate on change in formal higher agricultural education. Key documents in ARD will be consulted to provide a set of guidelines for the development of new profiles and will be supported by discussions with expert groups and with feedback from youth networks. This will enable the study to capture aspirations of young people, assess the degree to which their expectations of education are being met and which skills would enable them to be more effective or obtain a desired role in their field. Experts in the field will also be consulted on those skills that they see as having increasing importance. With these consultations, experts will also be asked to commit to making room for those young professionals with said skills, to make sure that these skills are consistent with the way organizations are moving.
These profiles are expected to be broad, flexible and dynamic; to enable them to be more useful across a range of profiles. By integrating the outcomes of this study into the university curriculum, it better reflects the interests, experiences and aspirations of youth, making the program more attractive to potential applicants. It will also serve to ‘create’ graduates better attuned to the needs of the workplace and thus, more successful in their fields, who become success stories for the universities themselves.
Promote agriculture among young people