Responsiveness of Agricultural Training Curricula in African Universities to Labour Market Needs: the case of Gulu University in Uganda

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Duncan Ongeng

Abstract

Agricultural universities in Africa have a core responsibility to develop and implement relevant curricula to produce a well-trained human resource to guide stakeholders in production, value addition, and marketing to meet the expected quantity and quality requirements of modern agri-food supply chain systems. This paper presents innovations in agricultural training curricula at Gulu University in Uganda designed to produce the breed of graduates, blending in character, the attitudes, hands-on practical skills and knowledge to exploit and succeed in the commonly perceived “non- attractive” labour market of the agricultural sector in Sub-Saharan Africa. Key ingredient in curricula orientation, as a critical input in modelling that type of graduate, is the integration of community engagement and agri-enterprise development in student training. Making use of the Bachelor of Agriculture (BAG) degree programme, the pioneer programme that kick-started the new training orientation, we conducted a tracer study to document employment characteristics, transition to employment and the level of satisfaction with training approach among the first five graduate cohorts (2009-2013) in 2014. Results showed that 84 % of the graduates were employed within the first six months after graduation. The employment rate surpassed 90 % after one year. About 80% of the graduates were employed in rural and semi-urban localities. Employment was in diverse sectors including government extension advisory services, financial institutions, non-governmental organisations, the private sector, agricultural research and graduate-own agro-based enterprise. Only 1.7 % of the graduates had established businesses. 

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