BROADENING THE ENVIRONMENTAL VISION OF AGRICULTURAL STUDENTS THROUGH TRAINING: A CASE STUDY OF SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURAL TRAINING AT THE ELSENBURG COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE, SOUTH AFRICA

Some perspectives on the tertiary educational process of the Elsenburg College of Agriculture are given. The challenges of promoting and ensuring sustainable farming practices are central to the training of future agriculturists. This training needs to acknowledge the fact that agriculture function within a broader system and that it cannot be isolated from its environment. Sustainable agriculture is an approach or philosophy based on human aims, which incorporates land stewardship with agricultural activities. The problem is that it is too often seen merely as an outcome - rather than a process of change. Although agricultural education is but one of many factors shaping the professional role of farmers, this process does play a fundamental role in the process of re-orientation towards sustainable agricultural production. Education and training should help the farmer develop a deep awareness of his role in the ecology - understanding, insight, and the sldlls necessary to participate in the sustainable utilisation and management of his environment. A course named Environmental Management was developed. Through action research a 'horizontal' approach was used for this, with participants evaluating the current status of the agricultural environment and themselves maldng suggestions and/or finding appropriate solutions to certain agricultural issues. The researcher functioned as a facilitator in this stimulating process. To strengthen the attempt to influence value systems of students, additional actions were taken: themes were developed, workshops were organised, video material was utilised, a Wildlife Society was founded, hildng trips were undertaken, etc. The article briefly summarises the development of the course. It warns that no single course has the power to truly change values of students towards multidisciplinary or holistic thinldng. To be able to really activate a positive change towards sustainable agricultural practice, the help of the full complement of subjects presented at colleges is needed.


Issue Date:
1998
Publication Type:
Conference Paper/ Presentation
PURL Identifier:
http://purl.umn.edu/187674
Total Pages:
20




 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-08-28

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