Consensus Study: Revitalizing Agricultural Education and Training in South Africa

ASSAfThe Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) has as a specific mandate the provision of evidence-based scientific advice to South African policymakers on matters of crucial scientific importance. Evidence-based study project activities thus form the core of the Academy’s function. This consensus study was initiated by the ASSAf Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education Standing Committee, deriving from a deep concern about the status of agricultural education and training (AET) in the country. The study seeks to identify and address the challenges facing the AET sector in South Africa. It is a timely study given the important role that this sector needs to play in meeting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

The study aims to provide evidenced-based information and clear recommendations
to policymakers and other relevant stakeholders with an interest in agricultural human
capital development. Some of the key findings of the study include inadequate funding
for practical-level training; weak linkages to industry for understanding training needs;
poor quality and inadequate numbers of educators who are appropriately trained to
teach agriculture at school level; and poor linkages in the research–teaching–extension
nexus. The recommendations are wide-ranging and very practical. It is hoped that they
will be used to influence policymakers and thereby result in an improvement in the quality of AET in South Africa.

Although specifically focused on South Africa – a collation and analysis of international
practice within the South African context – the report is potentially a useful resource for
other countries on the African continent seeking to strengthen their own AET systems.
The report was developed and guided to its successful conclusion by an 11-member study panel of experts, under the leadership of Prof Frans Swanepoel. It was peer-reviewed by three experts and will be made available in an open access and free format.
The ASSAf Council would like to extend its sincere appreciation to the panel for their
expert contribution to the study and the attention with which they carried out their task. Click here to download full report.

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