Erasmus plus CBHE "Dual Curricula - Study and Work Practice in Agriculture and Food Safety" (DualAFS).
International Workshop "The Future of Higher Education in Agricultural Sciences".
The Agricultural University of Tirana (UBT) organized an International Seminar on “The future of university studies in agricultural sciences“, in the frame of the International Scientific Conference in Agricultural and Life Sciences (ICOALS 3) and the EU project – Erasmus CBHE “Dual Curricula – Study and Work Practice in Agriculture and Food Safety “(DualAFS).
This seminar was attended by professors of AUT and partner universities, University of Nürtingen – Germany, University of Savonia – Finland, University of Molise Italy, University “FS Noli” of Korca, University “H. Prishtina” of Prishtina, University “I. Boletini” of Mitrovica, the University of Tetova and the University of Skopje, representatives of about 30 farms and other livestock and food enterprises, other representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, the Agency for Agricultural & Rural Development (ARDA), the National Employment Agency and Skills, representatives for GIZ projects – Germany and RisiAlbania Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation, as well as principals of vocational high schools in the field of agriculture.
A labor market study for graduates in the field of animal sciences and agribusiness conducted by AUT, in cooperation with other partner universities participating in this Erasmus project, clearly showed that over 150 farmers and representatives of livestock businesses from Albania and Kosovo, who participated in this study, assess practical vocational training as the most important, almost determining, factor for the rapid employment of graduates. They also require that graduates, in addition to solid scientific and technical training, need also training in the use of information technology and digitalization, mastery of foreign languages, as well as training in communication and extension in agriculture and livestock. Similar assessments of the skills of graduates were expressed by about 140 representatives of public institutions, central and regional, of the sector of agriculture, livestock, food and food security of Albania and Kosovo.
Business in the field of livestock and agribusiness and representatives of the public sector in this field, expressed, in this seminar, a full support and encouraged AUT for the application of university studies combined with practice (Dual Model) in the field of Animal Sciences and other fields of agricultural sciences, as the safest way to increase the quality of professional, theoretical and practical training of students, as young specialists, who will contribute to the long-term, sustainable development and modernization of the livestock sector in our country, in order to successfully meet the challenges for sufficient production of livestock products of a good quality and safety for the country, preservation of the environment, preservation of health and welfare of farm animals, as well as competitiveness, in the domestic and foreigner market of agricultural and livestock products production
Business representatives in the field of livestock and agribusiness expressed their full readiness to cooperate closely with AUT, as co-contributors in the realization of practical training of students, through long professional internships, directly on farms and businesses, and to formalize this cooperation, initially with the expansion of existing cooperation agreements for student internships, as well as, in a second phase, the approximation by farms and businesses of this sector of internship contracts with students. Also, business representatives demanded the recognition and institutionalization, by the state, of their contribution to the realization of students’ professional internships.
In the seminar was discussed in detail the forms of cooperation for mutual benefit between businesses and the university, the approach of services and expertise by the university for businesses, the institutionalization of the status of farms and businesses of practical training of students, as well as possible incentives for their support, through special incentive policies, such as: giving a bonus in the evaluation of projects or applications to ARDA for financial support within the state budget or IPARD program, fiscal facilities for the contribution to the practical training of students, to financial support for a training expert for students during professional practice, etc., on farms and large businesses in the livestock sector.
The Rector of AUT, Profesor Fatbardh Sallaku and the Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, Profesor Ilir Kristo, expressed their gratitude to the representatives of farms and businesses of the livestock sector and those of public institutions of this sector, for the full support they are giving to AUT in the development and initiation of the implementation of university study programs in a combination with internship (Dual studies), especially for the development of students’ professional internships> They assured the participants that AUT, with its faculties and departments, will have the doors open to them, as well as to the training, expertise and other professional scientific services that theywill need. They also invited representatives of farms and businesses as well as public institutions of the agricultural sector, to continue further cooperation with AUT and the consortium of partner universities of the Erasmus DualAFS project, for the development of the full institutional framework, which will regulate, promote and support the cooperation between the university and farms and businesses of the agriculture and livestock sector for the realization of university studies combined with the practice (Dual) in the direction of Animal Sciences, as a model that will be extended, step by step, in other in the field of agriculture, food and food security.