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Challenges for agricultural education and training (AET) institutions in preparing growing student populations for productive careers in the agri-food system

Isaac Minde (Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, United States AND iAGRI, Morogo, Tanzania.)
Stephanus Terblanche (Department of Agricultural Economics, Rural Development and Agricultural Extension, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa.)
Bernard Bashaasha (Department of Agricultural Economics, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda.)
Ignacio Casper Madakadze (Department of Plant Production and Soil Science, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa)
Jason Snyder (Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, United States.)
Anthony Mugisha (Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources & Biosecurity, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda.)

Journal of Agribusiness in Developing and Emerging Economies

ISSN: 2044-0839

Article publication date: 16 November 2015

Abstract

Purpose

Agricultural education and training (AET) institutions will play a strategic role in helping to prepare Africa’s rapidly growing youth populations for productive careers in agriculture and related agri-businesses. The purpose of this paper is to examine the magnitude of skills and youth employment needs emanating from high-population growth rates. It then explores how agricultural education institutions are responding to these challenges in four different countries at different levels of food system development: South Africa tier 1, Tanzania in tier 2 and Malawi and Uganda in tier 3.

Design/methodology/approach

Demographic and school enrollment data provide information on the magnitude of job market entrants at different levels of education while Living Standards Measurement Studies in the respective countries provide a snapshot of current skill requirements in different segments of the agri-food system. In order to evaluate AET responses, the authors have conducted country-level reviews of AET systems as well as in-depth assessments at key tertiary AET institutions in each of the four case study countries.

Findings

Growth rates in primary school enrollments are high in sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, because of budgetary constraints, transition rates decline rapidly – about 40 percent from primary to secondary and 7 percent from secondary to tertiary. As a result, substantial numbers of primary and secondary school graduates seek jobs.

Research limitations/implications

The case study countries are limited to four. Had more financial resources and time been available, researchers could have spread further afield and in so doing increasing the precision of the results.

Originality/value

Estimation of the number of primary and secondary school leavers seeking employment because of failure to proceed to the next level of education. Estimation of the level of education shares in the various components of the agri-food system.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to acknowledge all those who devoted their time to respond to the several interviews that led to this paper. The authors also wish to thank the reviewers for their very constructive comments which have helped to raise the quality of this work. We greatly appreciate the technical backstopping and advice received from our committed Board Members – Professor Richard Mkandawire (Chair), Dr John Purchase, Professor Maggie Kigozi, Dr Irene Annor Frempong and Professor Hamidou Boly. Finally, we wish to recognize the financial contribution from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) which supported the field investigations that resulted into these conclusions. As usual, the authors remain solely responsible for the content of this paper.

Citation

Minde, I., Terblanche, S., Bashaasha, B., Madakadze, I.C., Snyder, J. and Mugisha, A. (2015), "Challenges for agricultural education and training (AET) institutions in preparing growing student populations for productive careers in the agri-food system", Journal of Agribusiness in Developing and Emerging Economies, Vol. 5 No. 2, pp. 137-169. https://doi.org/10.1108/JADEE-02-2015-0011

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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