South Africa’s economy is heavily reliant on the agricultural sector, which plays a critical role in improving food insecurity and alleviating poverty. However, the South African agriculture workforce is ageing and the youth have a limited understanding of the vast number of agri-business and career opportunities that exist within the industry.
Over the last 4 years, AGRICOLLEGES international has gained significant market recognition for its world-class online learning platform and approach to learning, earning a place as one of the Top 30 Most Inspiring Digital Innovations of 2020 by Dutch organisation, Partos. AGRICOLLEGES international, through its existing short courses and NQF4 Certificate in General Agriculture has alumni in 23 countries.
This platform provides the perfect learning environment for young people wanting to follow a career in agriculture, where they can develop and use modern skills and stay connected to their peers. In 2019, almost 60% of Africa’s population was under the age of 25, making Africa the world’s youngest continent. There is an essential need to provide this growing number of youth in Africa with the opportunity to learn and, more importantly, to encourage them to study and become involved in agriculture.
Online learning provides a platform that is perfectly suited to the younger generation, is more affordable than traditional bricks and mortar institutions, and offers the convenience, flexibility and safety of being able to learn in a place and at a time that suits the learner.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), Africa needs its young people to modernise its agricultural sectors. “Migration, both to urban areas and abroad, risks depriving African countries of the young people they need to modernize their agriculture sectors, which are key to achieving growth and prosperity,” said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.
The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the value of technology in all industries, and a world-class online learning platform, such as that offered by AGRICOLLEGES international provides the added benefit of delivering the course in a modern format that encourages the youth to embrace agriculture as an industry that is moving forward and has much to offer.
Young learners require an approach to learning and teaching that offers support, customisation of content and flexibility. For these students to succeed, they will require a technology-enabled and enhanced distance education experience with a different approach.
AGRICOLLEGES international’s online agri-education platform requires that students are self-motivated and able to take accountability for their performance. Online studies give them an excellent opportunity to build their digital and computer literacy skills and the online theory is supplemented with face-to-face practical sessions, which equip them better to deal with the reality of working in a farm environment. Highly-qualified course facilitators provide students with the help and support they need to master the online platform as well as the course material and assignments.
The AGRICOLLEGES international NQF4 qualification offers students an excellent opportunity to achieve accredited e-learning in the wake of coronavirus fears and restrictions. As a more affordable option than traditional universities, online learning also opens doors to many students who would otherwise be unable to continue their studies.