Integration Population Issues Into Agricultural Education: Population projections suggest that the world population will continue to increase from the present figure of nearly six billion people to between 11 and 14 billion people by the end of the next century. There is a great need in the developing countries to teach agricultural student population issues in relation to development problems. Institutions of agricultural education need to incorporate population education concept and principles into curricula since many agricultural graduates will become managers, planners, and policy-makers who need to understand the dynamic inter-relationships between food, population, the environment and soci-economic development.
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- AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
- Agriculture: Contextual Constriants, Budgetary and Financial Crisis
- Marginalization of Agriculture and Rural Life
- Relationship between agricultural education and research and extension
- Integration Population Issues Into Agricultural Education
- Agricultural Change to Curricular Content and Emphasis
- Agricultural education: Changes to Educational Processes
Furthermore, students trained to work as extension agent need to be able to engage farm families in dialogue about sensitive population issues and to effectively communicate population messages to rural people.
Population education should develop awareness and understanding of the nature, causes and implications of population growth and distribution as they relate to agricultural productivity and rural development, and how these issues affect, and are affected by, farmers, their families and society as a whole. Population education course required of all students; by introducing population education as modules into existing course; and by integrating population education issues and content into topics of study within existing curricula.
An FAO project in Malawi has taken the route of integration population issues into existing courses of study at the Natural Resources College and the National Forestry College. The country has one of the highest annual population growth rates in African and its population density is one of the highest on the continent (sigman, 1998) the project was a response to escalating concerns about the relationships between rapid population growth, food security, land use, environmental stress and poverty in Malawi.
The basic strategy of the project was to enable extension agents to include population education, as it relates to agriculture and forestry, in their work with farm families. To implement this strategy the project had two training components-pre-service training for student and in-service training for agents in the field.
Population issues are a good example of how integrate the teaching of values and attitudes into an agricultural subject area. Educators need to develop teaching strategies that emphasize and help students develop their affective reasoning skills. Since the attitudes and values that people possess are difficult to change, educators need to place greater emphasis on the psychology of the change process, thus improving the likelihood that change in practice will com as a result of educational efforts.
Gender Issued in Agricultural Education
Women play a major role in the world’s agricultural production systems. In the less developed countries, an estimated one-third if all rural households are managed by women. In sub-Sharan Africa and the Caribbean, women produce 60-80 percent of basic foodstuffs, while in Asia they perform over 50 percent of labor involved in intensive rice cultivation.
In recent years, there has been widespread recognition of the vital roles played by women in all areas of agriculture and the need for women to have access, through formal and non-formal training, to the knowledge and skills needed for improved agricultural production, processing and marketing. Extension agents, researchers, teachers and students all need to be educated and informed about rural women’s problems, potentials and aspirations.
The 1991 FAO expert consultation urged that special efforts be made to recruit and support female students from rural areas who could become extension agents, agricultural researcher, teachers and policy-makers. One of the reasons why there are few women extension workers, researcher and other agricultural professionals is the small number of female graduates from intermediate and higher-level agricultural education institutions. Yet there are various countries where the enrollments of women are proportionately high. On average in Africa, FAO data show that there has enrollment in agricultural education institutions.
The question of how to attract more female students to agricultural disciplines is linked to the issues of encouraging students from rural areas to enter higher education. As noted above, the number of female students has increased over the past ten years and this trend should be supported and encouraged.
Also, more role models for young women to emulate are needed, including teachers in agricultural education institutions. Raising the number of women in agricultural education both as educators, administrators and students is important as a means of reinforcing a commitment to understanding and changing the status of women in agricultural.
Educators need to become more responsive to gender related issue by taking into account women’s roles and contributions in the agricultural industry. While there is a trend for increased enrolment of women students in agricultural science at the technical or higher levels, this has not resulted in the dissemination of improved technology to women farmers because few female graduate are employed in extension work.
Agricultural education institutions may increasingly have gender-sensitive admittance policies, but due to traditional barriers female graduates continue to have problems finding employment in agricultural (Crowder, 1998). Strategies, curricula, and policy shifts need to emphasize and include women as role models and leaders in agriculture.
Gender-sensitive policies have, at best resulted in training programmers in which women are treated equally with men. However, it is equally employment benefits that are important. Equal treatment does not necessarily lead to equal benefits for women; indeed, the treatment may have to be different in order to take into consideration the different needs, time constraints and productive activities of women.