The Program “AGRICULTURAL HIGH SCHOOLS – EDUCATION OF THE NEXT GENERATION OF FARMERS”
- the second stage has begun
The program “Agricultural High School – Education of the Next Generation of Farmers”, initiated by the RAF and implemented by a consortium of five NGOs, entered its second implementation phase.
The program provides a successful model that could help turn agricultural high schools into educational resource hubs by combining study visits, capacity building sessions and connecting local communities to agricultural companies.
In the first two years of the program, over 60 teachers and 900 students from 8 participating high schools were directly involved in the program. We are already in the third year and the second stage of the program implementation, with an increased number of 12 participating high schools.
Within the consortium, CEED Romania is responsible for assessing needs and teaching staff, as well as helping schools to develop and fund their own education projects tailored to local needs.
The second phase of CAPADITY DEVELOPMENT FOR AGRICULTURAL HIGH SCHOOLS (CADAS) implemented by CEED within this program is based on the results and lessons learned during the first two years, and contributes to the overall program objective.
By the end of the 5-year pilot project, 12 schools will demonstrate an improvement in the ability to raise funds through effective project design and project management. By achieving its objective, CADAS will make a significant contribution to achieving the overall objective of the program, as teachers in the 12 agricultural high schools will acquire new skills and know-how and will be better prepared to raise funds in cooperation with local stakeholders to improve the education of future farmers – small and medium-sized entrepreneurs in agriculture.
Consortium members’ interventions are complementary: World Vision offers models of practical experience for students and supports high schools to promote their educational offer, Junior Achievement Romania runs entrepreneurial education programs for teachers and business competitions among students, Civitas is the coordinator of study visits at relevant agribusiness so students can learn the value chain, and the Romanian Center for European Policies covers the research and advocacy component of the program.
In the long run, we want to see a network of 30-40 high schools with good geographic distribution and an educational offer, both relevant and of good quality, well connected with local businesses, recognized as an important actor in community development and sustained by local authorities, considered an attractive option and a reference point in their county for all those young people (and their families) interested in developing a career in agriculture.
At present, although agriculture has a strategic role in Romania’s development, accounting for 7% of GDP and covering 30% of the active labor force, the productivity of small farmers (representing the largest part of the labor force) is 30% European average. And only one out of five agricultural workers graduated from a school. Studies show that by 2025, the number of jobs in agriculture, forestry and fishing will be eight times higher than the EU average. Who will take up these jobs, given that there is currently a shortage of skilled labor?
Poor understanding of the 21st century agriculture coupled with the decline in agricultural education make programs like the one initiated by the RAF crucial, as there are many opportunities in this sector and technical education is a safe and wise future option.