The Collective Action (CA) on Transforming Higher Education in Agriculture, formally launched on 14 September 2023, aims to promote and accelerate the transformation of higher educational models of learning through improved technical and practical skills and effectiveness of agricultural professionals to increase their employability, agricultural entrepreneurship, innovation and ethical leadership within their countries’ agricultural innovation systems (AISs).
The CA is facilitated by the Global Forum on Agricultural Research and Innovation (GFAiR) and coordinated by the Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI), working closely with the Global Confederation of Higher Education Associations for Agricultural and Life Sciences (GCHERA), Africa’s Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS), the Prolinnova international network and the European Forum on Agricultural Research for Development (EFARD) in alliance with the Czech University of Life Sciences. Another close partner is the Office of Innovation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) through its Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP).
The CA, which focuses on four regions – Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe and Latin America – completed its first stage during 2023, achieving the following outcomes:
- Completed stocktaking exercise that included an assessment of the status of transformation of agricultural higher education (global survey report);
- Documented successful innovative models of education based on experiential learning, ethical leadership and participatory curricula development that are being systematically integrated into education systems (ten case studies);
- Documented discussions of four regional e-conferences that engaged key stakeholders to build a common understanding on the process of transformational learning, and created ownership and support (global report on the regional e-conferences);
- Consolidated outputs aiming to reach relevant donors, stakeholders and other potential partners, to collectively work on a full project design and build commitment to scale up the identified transformational education practices and learning models.
Overall, the CA is envisioned to inspire and guide enabling, structural, functional and socio-cultural changes that are needed to facilitate the global transformation of agricultural university education and learning systems in order to proactively respond to the challenges of an ever more complex and dynamic agri-food system so that it positively impacts on family farmers, small-scale producers and rural communities. The focus is on the need to equip students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes that would enable them to grow into qualified graduates with the professional, entrepreneurial, ethical and social capacities needed to engage effectively in the collaborative management of innovation processes with farmers, rural communities and other stakeholders in agriculture.
More information is available on https://www.gfar.net/content/collective-action-transformation-higher-education-agriculture. Join the conversation on this topic on the GFAiR hub https://hub.gfar.net/ and https://hub.gfar.net/gfar-groups.
At a global level, Prolinnova is represented in this CA by Prolinnova Oversight Group (POG) member Violet Kirigua and POG co-chair Lisa van Dijk.