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Friday, July 19, 2024
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Zimbabwe launches first online agricultural college

Story by Cordelia Ngara

ZIMBABWE’S move towards the digitisation of competence-based education has seen the country launching its first online agriculture learning institution, the Zimbabwe Online Agricultural College.

The Zimbabwe Online Agricultural College (ZOAC) launched by Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Permanent Secretary Dr John Basera in Harare this Wednesday, is anchored on pillars that include training, research, innovation, and entrepreneurship, to achieve sustainable agriculture and human capital development.

Dr Basera said the institution is meant for beneficiaries of the land reform programme and seeks to provide access to agriculture-related education and instruction using internet-based technologies.

“This is a noble programme which is indeed a 9th agricultural college in Zimbabwe but mainly targeting the beneficiaries of the land reform A1 and A2. Along the way, we need to close information and knowledge gaps hence the launch of this programming targeting farm owners which we are targeting to reform those owners to real agro-farm business owners.  We believe that it will go a long way in terms of closings the gaps that are there and also consolidating the gaze of the land reforms,” he said.

Director of Agricultural Education at the college, Dr Jotamu Dondofema revealed they have partnered with the University of Zimbabwe to produce students equipped with practical knowledge.

“We are working together with UZ mainly in partnership with the training program for them to assure quality as we train students so we get guidelines in terms of the qualifications framework and we standardize programmes with the aim of delivering at regional and international level so the university of Zimbabwe is coming in to add quality,” noted Dondofema.

This comes after the government reviewed the agriculture education curricula to close capacity gaps covering all aspects including farm management and farming as a business.

The transition is from Agricultural Education 2.0 whose outputs were trainers and extensionists to Agricultural Education Development 5.0 which focuses on training, research, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

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