Building Capacity of Serbian Agricultural Education to Link with Society “CaSA” - Part 1. Project Summary
Izgradnja kapaciteta srpskog obrazovanja u oblasti poljoprivrede radi povezivanja sa društvom “CaSA” - Deo 1. Rezime projekta
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This is a presentation of the CaSA project and the role it plays in linking research and innovation with knowledge improvement in agriculture. CaSA is a national project, coordinated by The University of Belgrade, Faculty of Agriculture. It belongs to the TEMPUS sub-program Structural measures and the Action Higher education and society. These two benchmarks point out what are the main objectives of the project: to improve quality and availability of vocational agricultural education; to strengthen competences of educators; to create a National Repository for Agricultural Education (NaRA) . Basic course is strengthening links between higher education (HE) and society by building capacity of Serbian: - University teachers from Faculties of Agriculture (FA) - Agricultural secondary school (AMS) teachers - experts in Extension services (ES) to improve teachers’ competences in pedagogic skills and provide in-service vocational training courses. Specific objectives of the project are: - SO1 - Improvement of quality and availability of vocational agricultural education - SO2 - Strengthening of professional and pedagogical competences of educators - SO3 - Creation of the “open source“ repository for educators in the area of agricultural education Creation of a National Repository for Agricultural Education (NaRA) - a repository for online courses and teaching resources to ensure project sustainability and networking of all stakeholders in agricultural education. There are 13 partners contributing to the project, 10 Serbian and 3 EU partner institutions. Serbian partners are 5 agricultural faculties from Belgrade, Novi Sad, Kragujevac, Novi Pazar and Sremska Kamenica, as well as Association of Agricultural Middle School in the area of agriculture, food processing and food production, Institute for Science Application in Agriculture responsible for in-service training of agricultural advisors, 2 NGO training organization (Education Forum and Balkan Security Network) and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia. EU partners are universities from Timisoara (Romania), Maribor (Slovenia) and Foggia (Italy) All project activities are grouped into 11 work packages. The project lasts for 3 years (01/12/2013 - 30/11/2016) and aims to build the capacity of main holders of Serbian agricultural education: university teachers, teachers in agricultural middle schools and agricultural advisors working in extension services. The CaSA project’s main achievement will be the creation of a NaRA, available as an electronic platform that should enable the sustainability of the project and connection of stakeholders involved in all levels of agricultural education and training in Serbia. This repository will include: information necessary for teaching traditional courses as well as online courses for professional development of Agricultural Middle Schools and experts in extension services; databases of results obtained by research; selected and recorded classes of interactive teaching; selected parts of courses realized and/or developed within the project, prepared in the form of online video tutorials and posted together with additional teaching contents; and other relevant contents added to the repository based on authorized decisions of the NaRA Advisory Board. All project participants have agreed and signed the Constituent agreement on project implementation and NaRA management. PROJECT SUMMARY The project, coordinated by Faculty of Agriculture, Belgrade, will build capacity of Serbian faculties of agriculture to improve teacher’s competences in pedagogic skills as well as in their ability to provide distance learning in-service teacher training vocational courses for teachers in agricultural middle/secondary schools (AMSs)  and for experts in extension services. Networking of all relevant stakeholders in agricultural education as well as project sustainability will be enabled by creation of the National Repository for Agricultural Education (NaRA) . At all Serbian Faculties of Agriculture and State University of Novi Pazar, courses in active teaching/learning (ATL) including e-learning for young university teachers and teachers from AMSs will be held during project lifetime. ATL courses, given by experts from NGO Education Forum, are important for both groups of teachers (University and AMS) since they did not have any pedagogical training during their graduate courses in agronomy. University teachers, that have improved teaching competences and other academic skills, will develop and implement classical and web-based vocational courses targeting recent advances in agriculture for AMS teachers  and agronomists in the extension services as beneficiaries. It will be done in collaboration with University from Maribor and with University of Foggia, Italy. Implementation of these courses will be done in year 3 at AMSs under the supervision of EU partners. During the project lifetime NaRA will be formed with the help of EU partner from Agricultural University, Timisoara, Romania, to provide relevant information, to serve as stakeholder data-base and to be used as repository for e-learning courses developed in the project, as well as for various teaching materials developed during ATL trainings of both university and AMS teachers. NaRA will then become a platform for improving teaching skills of both, university and AMS teachers as well as for improving professional skills for AMS teachers and agronomists in the extension services. Since the agronomists working in the extension services lack: modern techniques of communication to work with farmers, as well as skills needed for preparation of project proposals, this project will provide training given by experts from NGO Balkan Security Network (BSN) for agronomists how to communicate with farmers and how to prepare a project proposal. Academic and communication skill courses, given by experts, will be recorded and stored together with accompanying teaching material as a live stream courses, available at NaRA for all university and AMS teachers and agronomists in extension services to be used after the project lifetime. Creation of NaRA will, therefore, provide sustainability of the project since all project deliverables (all types of e learning courses and teaching materials) developed during project lifetime will be stored and available for future users. NaRA will also provide networking and active communication of all relevant stakeholders (Universities, AMSs, extension services, governmental and non governmental bodies). Sustainability of NaRA will be ensured after the project life-time by the support and recognition of the Ministries of Education, Science and Technological Development and of Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Serbia, as well as with some courses commercialization, while some databases, professional forums, and relevant information will remain open access. Management of the NaRA will be regulated by the Agreement between universities and other project partners.