The Global Consortium for Higher Education and Research for Agriculture (GCHERA) 2011
During this conference, several trends emerged. There is a general consensus is that agricultural curriculum is outdated and is lacking in innovation, that partnerships with potential employers is not as strong as it should be, that soft skills are lacking and that a more inter-disciplinary approach is needed. A recurring theme was the need for students to gain entrepreneurial skills and the importance of universities engaging with the private sector.
Many universities expressed concern over declining enrollment rates in traditional agricultural subjects and many expressed the need to attract more young people into agricultural subjects. While involving the youth is important to many, real steps and understanding on how this can be done are still not clear.
CIPCAD meeting discussions on skill sets
Move away from discipline based towards industry led activities and work more closely with businesses and support orientation in this field
Greater community engagement is required
Skills: inter-personal, communication, process management, planning, facilitation, interaction.
Skills need to be dynamic and evolving
Learning methods: experiential learning and practical experience. However student centered and experiential learning are very expensive.
Sokoine agricultural university in Tanzania have started to include communication and writing skills for agricultural students.
Some arguments against:
The curriculum will then be producing generalists rather than specialists
When the skills are published new skills will already be needed and this will inhibit a more forward-thinking approach
Can anyone ever know everything we need?
If you need to know so many things there is less room for innovation
YPARD presented its new profiles study, for which more information is available on the blog here