1 1Employment of Agricultural Graduates: Who are we training for ? Sidi Sanyang Program Manager CORAF/WECARD Young People, Farming and Food 19 – 22 March 2012 University of Ghana, Legon Accra, Ghana
2 IntroductionFunding for higher education in Africa kept pace with the expanding institutional baseduring the 1960s and 1970s but this has fallen well behind the growth in student numbers since 1980sImpact of trained agriculturalists on the performance of African agriculture continues to bedebated Africa’s food and poverty challenges require a redirection of thinking about agriculture’s role in the development process and the need for a reliable food supply as a precondition for national developmentThere is therefore a necessity and urgency for change in agricultural education the “new universities” need to demonstrate willingness and capability to induce changeRecently however, the performance of the agricultural sector has started to show positivetrends in a number of African countries but issues such as: Is the agricultural training on offer adequate in terms of curricula and teaching methods? Does it equip the trainees with the requisite mindset and skills needed to help increase agricultural productivity by smallholder farmers?
3 MethodologyAssessment of employment opportunities for agricultural graduates through the Project --Strengthening Capacity for Agricultural Research and Development in Africa (SCARDA) to enhance institutional and human capacity of national agricultural research systems , in particular the NARIsInvolved four (4) countries -- Mali, Congo, Ghana, GambiaThree approaches were used Follow-up approach o assessment of the training received by the students o evaluation of courses delivered prior to examinations o the same assessment is then conducted some time after graduation especially with working graduates Employer’s approach o to understand the degree of employers’ satisfaction with the work performance of graduate employees Retrospective approach investigated o the impact of the graduates’ working experiences on the reform and or development of new training programs
4 MethodologyStudy focused on agricultural education and training institutions eg. universities, polythenics, colleges employers of agricultural graduates in the public sector, agribusiness, farmers’ organizations, NGOs active in agriculture to a limited extent, regional and international organizationsOpen-ended interviews were used to gather information from training institutionsStructured questionnaire was used for the various levels of agricultural graduates andemployersSample size and character 5-10 employers per country 150 – 170 employed only 20 – 30 unemployed agricultural graduates men and women employees were interviewed covering the previous 10 yearsTraining and employment opportunities assessed included crops and livestock production fisheries Agricultural engineering and food processing agricultural inputs environment and forestry
5 Agricultural training institutions interviewedMali Republic of Congo Ghana GambiaCentre d’Apprentissage Lycée technique agricole University of Ghana, Legon, Gambia College,Agricole (CAA) de Samanko Amilcar Cabral (LAAC) Accra University of The GambiaCentre d’Apprentissage Institut Sylvo Agro Kwame Nkrumah UniversityAgricole (CAA) de Samé Pastoral – Centre of Science and Technology University of The d’Education (KNUST), Kumasi GambiaCentre de Formation Pratique Professionnelle Agricoleen Elevage (CFPE) de Sotuba (ISAP-CEPA) Kwadaso Agric. College in Ashanti RegionCentre de Formation Pratique Lycée TechniqueForestier (CFPF) de Tabacoro Agricole d’Ouesso Animal Health and (LTAO) Production College in PongInstitut Polytechnique Rural de TamaleFormation et de Recherche Institut deAppliquée (IPR/IFRA) de Développement RuralKatibougou (IDR)Faculté des Sciences etTechniques (FAST),Université de BamakoUniversité Mandé Bukari
6 Results: Employment of Agricultural GraduatesSector / Country Graduate subject area GenderPublic sector employed agric. Mali Maligraduates 55% in crops & agricultural reported 13.7% female Mali -- 94% engineering agricultural graduate in the Gambia --- 84% public service 20% in forestry Ghana -- 55% Congo – 84% Gambia Ghana only 5% femaleNGOs 50% of employed graduates in Mali -- 4% economics & crops Overall Mali, Ghana & Gambia -- 7% Gambia 17% in animal science Ghana -- 14% 5% - 14% graduate women Congo -- no information employeesPrivate sector/Agric. Business Ghana Mali -- 2% 5% female unemployment Gambia -- 7% rate Ghana -- 12% only 16 in Congo 11% male unemployment rate CongoFarmer organizations 40% female agricultural Ghana -- 4% graduates
7 Results : Key competencies required by Employers of Agricultural Graduates agricultural engineering and farm machinery agricultural economics with emphasis on farm management innovation systems and value chains communication including report writing and ICT skills interpersonal skills participatory technology development and dissemination rural sociology / socio-cultural contextsLimitations of curricular students spent significantly less time engaged in practical or hands-on training (except Mali & Congo) very few changes have been introduced into the curricula since the creation of the training institutions subjects taught remain almost the same with the same contents and the same number of hours quality of students’ supervision by teaching and support staff was not adequate Ghana general growing disinterest in agricultural training number of applicants dropped sharply from 1000 in 2003 to 370 in 2004 at University of Ghana & similar situation at the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi disinterest in agricultural training can be partially explained by the declining job opportunities offered by the major public sector employer since 2003
Conclusion 8Study clearly demonstrates a mis-match or difference between the agricultural education that is on offer and what potential employers are seeking need to establish strong linkage, partnerships, networking and learning with civil society employers o agribusiness / private sector o farmers’ organizations o with greater emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship will help make agricultural training more responsive to the changing job marketSuch linkages should enable students’ access to practical attachments and internships at enterprisesTo achieve this however, radical change is required in the mindsets of policy makers and those running agriculturaltraining institutions in terms of Governance, leadership and management; norms, values and practices policy analysis learning processes / innovation entrepreneurships participatory curricular and teaching methods project design, financial and human resources management climate change