Reporting Training

A Swedish Model and a South African Dream for Training in Agriculture

The quality of the AgrAcademy’s Vocational Training in Agriculture intervention received a phenomenal boost as a result of the visit to South Africa by the Dillegård Naturbruksgymnasium from Sweden.

This was glaringly apparent this morning at the Nelson Mandela University campus in George, Western Cape, SOUTH AFRICA. Students, teachers, educators, University lecturers, small-scale farmers, youth farmers, youth training startups, business and corporate representatives and agriculture specialists from George and Haarlem gathered at the campus for the workshop/seminar on the nature of vocational training in agriculture in Sweden. The partnership potential between the Swedish school model and Learning Academy Worldwide South Africa (LAWW) are encouraging possibilities to help realize the dream of providing high quality learning experiences for young people in high-stakes communities in South Africa.

Moderated by LAWW director, Leon October, the workshop started at 09h00 in the morning and concluded with a lunch. Visitors were from Bluedelite Nursery, Nelson Mandela University, Tania Phillips Agriculture Training, Haarlem Small-scale farmers Association and the Haarlem Youth Farmers Association..

Prior to the Swedes’ presentations, Sonica Swart made a compelling case for the inclusion of language literacy in vocational training in agriculture programmes. Not only is there a need for improved literacy amongst students, Sonica argued, the way teachers are trained often omits introducing programmes that will help teachers address reading literacy needs in their area of subject expertise. Sonica provided data and several examples to call for a realignment of the existing teacher training programmes and a modification of the curriculum to provide opportunities for students to improve their reading with understanding skills within their vocational training in agriculture programs.

During the session from the Swedes, teachers Linda Degermark, Linda Johansson and students, Tindra Savehed, Johanna Degermark and Albin Gustafsson provided a fascinating overview focusing on Forestry, Livestock Farming and Animal Health at the Dillegård Vocational Training in School in Sweden. They showed pictures highlighting the different climate in Sweden that impact on what is learnt and how learning is conducted. Mechanisation options, care for animals, automation in farming and forestry training and interventions were highlighted. The corporate sector and business, explained the Swedes, are very involved in the life of the vocational training programmes. This is seen particularly in forestry. They further explained that Sweden’s short planting season and its extremely small areas of arable land demand innovative solutions for all of the agriculture sectors in the country. 

“I was totally blown away by the knowledge level of these young people’, said Vukani Maverick, Iona Beukes who traveled from Cape Town to attend the presentations. Dr Ernest Dube thanked the presenters and participants at the conclusion of the morning’s presentations. He had particular thanks for the technical support at the University and the project management work of Elaine Stubbs.

Theophilus van Rensburg Lindzter joined in remotely and expressed his deep appreciation for Tania Phillips and Mariana Moolman, two South African students whose determination, diligence and eagerness to learn accounted for the start and flourishing of the AgrAcademy project in South Africa. Participants at the event applauded their fine example.

The Swedish team remain in South Africa till the 21 September including visits to farmers, understanding livestock and small-scale farmers’ work in the region and spending one full week with students and farmers in Haarlem to participate in the planting of potatoes, onions and butternuts.

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