Professional Training of Teachers in Biological
and Agricultural Sciences for Rural Areas

01 November 2001 - 31 January 2005
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1 Agricultural University of Plovdiv - BULGARIA;
2 Eastern Europe Centre, University of Hohenheim - GERMANY;
3 University Foundation CERA for Agricultural and Rural Development - ROMANIA;
4 University of Agronomic Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Bucharest, Faculty of Agriculture - ROMANIA;
5 Scholar Inspectorate of Giurgiu County - ROMANIA;
6 General School Daita, Giurgiu County - ROMANIA;
7 University of Maribor, Faculty of Agriculture - SLOVENIA;
8 Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich - UNITED KINGDOM.

Click the links above for details about the partners

1Agricultural University of Plovdiv - BULGARIA  top

The Agricultural University was founded in 1945. It is a unique national centre of higher agricultural education and science.

At present the following majors courses are offered to Bulgarian and foreign students: Agronomy, Horticulture and Viticulture, Plant Protection, Ecology and Environmental Protection, Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Agroengineering, Agricultural Economics and Tourism for the three educational degrees: "Bachelorís", "Masterís" and PhD. The study programmes have been already accredited by the Bulgarian National Agency. The institution as a whole was accredited with the highest grades in November 2000 and in April 2001 the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria voted the transform into the Agricultural University.

Great scientific potential in all agricultural areas is concentrated here. As a result of the many-year efforts, the researchers have worked out scientific products of a theoretical, fundamental and purely applied character.

Major research activities:
  • Breeding, genetic and biotechnological investigations in plant breeding, seed production and introduction.
  • Establishment of advanced technologies in crop production in green-houses and in the open
  • Conservation of the agroecosystems;
Research Laboratories:
  • Central Research Laboratory
  • Laboratory of Electronic Microscopy
  • Laboratory of Plant Biotechnologies

2Eastern Europe Centre, University of Hohenheim - GERMANY  top

In 1995 University of Hohenheim established the Eastern European Centre (EEC). Its responsibility is to support and coordination of interdisciplinary activities within the University's specific research areas of natural sciences, agricultural sciences and economics concerning Eastern Europe. The Centre's functions and activities comprise:

  • A broad network of institutionalised cooperations between the University of Hohenheim and scientific institutions of the Central & Eastern European Countries (CEEC)
  • The support of students education and further education of junior lecturers and professors from the CEEC
  • To manage students and lectures exchange from Central & Eastern Europe to the University of Hohenheim
  • Consultancy on the restructuring and modernisation of curricula at Universities in the CEEC
  • The co-ordination of various elaborate research co-operations
  • The collaboration within reform projects in the CEEC in the fields of science, politics and economics in co-operation with the Federal Ministries and the EC as well as national international organisations.

3University Foundation CERA for Agricultural and Rural Development - ROMANIA  top

University Foundation is a non-governmental organisation acting on the following directions:
  • Studies and programmes in: management, marketing and rural development; economy and administration of environmental and natural resources; lasting systems of agricultural production; rural rehabilitation technologies; nutrition and feeding of animals.
  • Open distance learning (courses for initial professional, university, post-university training and professional reconversion).
  • Consulting and extension in agriculture.
  • Editing of specialised publications.
  • Participation to domestic and international programs.
CERA is also involved in the creation of a co-operation network with governmental and non-governmental organisations form Romania and Western European countries.

4University of Agronomic Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Bucharest, Faculty of Agriculture - ROMANIA  top

The Faculty of Agriculture from the Bucharest University of Agronomic Sciences and Veterinary Medicine is the oldest in its domain from the country, and was founded in 1852. Since then the Faculty has become the most imposing institution of agricultural education from Romania.

Beside the already well-known specialties, dedicated to: Agriculture, Plant Protection and Soil Sciences, new specialties were introduced in the last years, as Silviculture and Biological-Agricultural Sciences, the last one been oriented towards the formation of specialists in agro-biological technologies field.

The Faculty of Agriculture is also offering master courses in: Sustainable Agriculture; Agricultural Consultancy; Project Management.

The teaching and research personnel from the Faculty is actively participating to European Union Programs, such as: Tempus, Socrates, Copernicus, Universitas 2000, Leonardo da Vinci, PECO, INCO-Copernicus, INCO-FAIR, Phare.

5Scholar Inspectorate of Giurgiu County - ROMANIA  top

School Inspectorate of Giurgiu county is a decentralized body, subordinated to the Ministry of Education and Research, and has as a local authority, the following attributions:

  1. It aims the way of organizing and function of the pre-university school system, according to the educational politics at national level;
  2. It provides the application of legislation in organizing the management and development of the educational process;
  3. it provides the quality of education under the national standards, by means of school inspections;
  4. it set up, under the Ministry notification, state institutions: kindergartens, primary schools, secondary schools, vocational and apprentice schools;
  5. it provides, together with the local administrative authorities, the education of students on the compulsory period;
  6. it coordinates the appointment of schools with the necessary teaching staff, according to the actual provisions;
  7. it organizes and guides the training activity of the teaching staff, the research activity and other complementary activities in pre-university education;
  8. it coordinates the organizing of the entrance and graduation exams in schools, as well as the school competitions;
  9. it coordinates the activity of the libraries in the subordinated schools.

It also contributes to the education of adults (teaching staff), by means of teaching and auxiliary staff training. This is done through certain programs in accordance to the educational standards and evaluation of different necessary disciplines and the training necessity of the teaching staff. This activity is coordinated by the Ministry of Education and Research and is carried out in:

  • universities, both for specialty training and the methodical and psycho-pedagogical training of the teachers;
  • pedagogical institutes and colleges for pre-primary and primary education;
  • special educational institutions for foremen and instructors.

The School Inspectorate, together with the above institutions provides the organizing of teaching staff training, according to the Ministry methodology.

At the local level, the main training forms in the pre-university education are:

  • methodical, scientific and psycho-pedagogical activities;
  • scientific sessions, symposiums and experience exchange;
  • periodical training courses in scientific information in specialty and educational science.

Data about education in Giurgiu County

6General School Daita, Giurgiu County - ROMANIA  top

General School Daita is located in the Daita village from the Giurgiu County. Daita village is situated in the Romanian Plain, more precisely eight kilometers far way from Giurgiu city and forty kilometers far way from Bucharest, and its main economical function is agriculture (especially growing plants such as cereals and technical plants). The population number of the Daita village is 1124 inhabitants.

The General School has classes from one to eight and has enrolled 135 pupils and 20 preschoolers, out of which 48 pupils in the primary cycle (classes one to four) and 87 pupils in the gymnasium cycle (classes five to eight).

The school has eleven didactic teachers, out of which an educator, three schoolmasters and seven teachers from which four have the first didactic grade.

The school building is built in the year 1912 and has six classrooms. Also, the school has a gym, a laboratory for physics and chemistry, a laboratory for biology, a library, an informatics laboratory and a kinder-garden class. The school has also a sport ground and a school lot which measures 700 square meters.

7University of Maribor, Faculty of Agriculture - SLOVENIA  top

The Faculty of Agriculture (FAM) of the University of Maribor was formed in 1995 from the College of Agriculture, founded in 1960.

FAM offers undergraduate and postgraduate education. Undergraduate three-year professional higher education study programmes (Agronomy, Livestock Production, Agricultural Engineering) last six semesters and graduates receive the title dipl, ing. The four-year university study programme General Agriculture lasts eight semesters and graduates receive the title univ. dipl. ing.. Courses leading to Masters degrees (Agronomy, Agricultural Economics) take two years.

The location of FAM is in the centre of the most important agricultural region of Slovenia, facilitates with good combination of theory and practice enable the application of academic knowledge to practical work.

The faculty has been entrusted with the management of an agricultural estate "Pohorski dvor and Meranovo", on which the Maribor University Agricultural Centre has been established. It is located at the foot of Pohorje about 2 km from Maribor and covers 155 hectares (ha) of arable land and 240 ha of forests. Most practical work activities and also basic and applied research projects are carried out there.

8Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich - UNITED KINGDOM  top

The Natural Resources Institute (NRI) provides research, consultancy and training and advisory services in the natural resources sector to underpin sustainable development. Most of its activities focus on the employment of natural and human capital for the benefit of developing countries but increasingly its expertise is used in emerging economies and the industrialised countries of the North.

Specialised knowledge areas cover sustainable agriculture and the productive management of natural resources. This includes integrated pest management; use of a broad range of pest control technologies and safer handling and improved application of pesticides; improved food security and income generation through increasing crop and livestock productivity; improved safety and quality assurance systems and post-harvest technologies to improve the marketability of fresh and processed products. Enterprise, trade and finance, which are central to economic development and improvement of livelihoods, are an important part of this work and include commodity trade analysis; market access and rural finance, including warehouse receipts. Social, institutional and policy analysis expertise supports this work.

As part of the University of Greenwich, NRI has strong links with staff working in education (including distance learning), law and business.

NRIís experience in Eastern Europe extends back some 15 years with work on improving the performance of the Romanian inland fisheries sector, funded by the British Department for International Development (DFID). Project work supported the privatisation and restructuring of enterprises. Backing was given to enable the government to define policies compatible with the development of the private sector and to harmonise Romanian policy with that of the EU as well training in enterprise skills to enable enterprises to compete more effectively in a market economy.

"Diversification of income and employment opportunities: feasibility study in selected areas in Bulgaria and Romania" was funded by the FAO. Although the agricultural sector is still dominant in rural regions attention is increasingly given to the non-farm sector and its role in rural economic development, due to its potential in absorbing excess labour from the agricultural sector and reducing urban-rural migration. Activities focused on identification of potentials and constraints regarding employment and income generation schemes; assessment of the capacity and capability of governmental institutions, NGOs and other private entities to assist the rural population in efforts to access improved employment and income opportunities; analysis of possibilities for strategic institutional linkages, including private-public partnerships, and the design of guidelines for appropriate and cost effective policies.

The "Characterisation and Analysis of the Non-Farm Rural Sector in Transition Economies" project, funded by DFID was to improve understanding of the dynamics of the rural non-farm employment (RNFE) in providing employment and income diversification opportunities and to promote mechanisms for integrating research results into policy. Work focused on improving the well being and livelihoods of the rural population through developing their capacity to access resources and actively participate in non-farm rural enterprise and employment opportunities.

NRI participated in a DFID-funded "Sustainable Rural Livelihoods Pilot Project" in Moldova. This focused its attention on six pilot communities in the north. The projectís purpose was to improve access to markets, skills and resources needed to improve income generation (in cash and in-kind) by small-scale rural producers. Successful project activities included the development of agricultural advisory services and the introduction of commercially viable technologies appropriate to small private farmers; the provision of access to seasonal credit; revitalisation of communitiesí social sphere assets and support for the creation of small enterprises; and the provision of a legal arbitration service to secure the legal rights of rural citizens to privatised assets. Other activities included farmersí commercial organisations to improve access to markets, inputs and medium-term credit.

NRI recently collaborated with Romaniaís DDNI on the "Centre of Excellence for Deltas and Wetlands" (DELWET) project, an EU FP5 Accompanying Measures Centres of Excellence programme for pre-accession countries. NRI support focused on training to bring about a client-oriented management system in DDNI and to encourage a multi-disciplinary approach to research. There was also an exchange of post-doctoral scientists to improve the use of GIS by DDNI and to make the information held in DDNIís GIS databases more widely accessible to its staff. Support was also provided to DDNI staff in the design of sampling programmes, experimental design and statistical analysis of data. A PhD student, nominated by DDNI, was supported and registered at the University of Greenwich.

Other similar work has been undertaken in Bulgaria, Armenia and Uzbekistan.