Developing Agroforestry Curricula: A practical Guide for Academic Institutions in Africa and Asia
Rudebjer, P. G.
Temu, A. B.
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We promote the view that agroforestry is not only a set of practices, but also about the processes in society that influence, and are influenced by, those practices. Recent advances in participatory approaches are heavily influencing rural development paradigms and, in consequence, must also influence agroforestry teaching. By seeking the participation of farmers and other stakeholders, institutions are able to develop and deliver more relevant education programmes. We endorse and recommend the participatory approach here. Institutions use the terms 'subject', 'module' and 'course' interchangeably to describe the components of an education programme. For the purpose of clarity, we consistently use the term 'subject' in this guide. The term 'curriculum' is here used to describe all the teaching and learning content and processes that lead to a desired competence in learners. Thus we interpret 'curriculum' as a much wider concept than merely course subject matter. While agroforestry is taught in tropical, subtropical and temperate regions, this guide primarily targets users in developing countries, particularly those in Africa and Asia. However, institutions in other regions may also find it useful. The guide is organized into five Chapters. In Chapter 1, our introduction briefly looks back at agroforestry innovations over the past 25 years, and discusses different concepts o£ agroforestry and multifunctional landscape mosaics. We then look at the different scales of agroforestry research and development. Global experiences in agroforestry education are summarized in Chapter 2. After an overview of the history of agroforestry education, we discuss the diverse teaching approaches employed at different technical and professional levels. We then point out some of the common shortcomings of existing curricula. Finally, we briefly explore how the job market for agroforestry graduates has developed. Chapter 3 presents some commonly used methods for curriculum development. The participatory method is then discussed in some detail, because experience suggests that the participation of farmers, employers and other stakeholders helps create more relevant and applicable curricula. Agroforestry curriculum development is then discussed in Chapter 4. Based on the various processes available, we suggest a set of seven requirements for the planning and implementation of a curriculum development project. Methodologies for a simple training needs analysis and a stakeholder analysis are also provided. In Chapter 5, we present a framework for agroforestry curricula. This is intended to guide the content development within an agroforestry education programme, subject or topic. At the centre of the framework are farmers' decisions related to the agroforestry production cycle: overall management, the products and services produced, and the use and marketing of these outputs. We present a model of how these decisions are influenced by biophysical and socioeconomic conditions, and how agroforestry practices may impact on people and landscapes. We also discuss risks and potential challenges, and how policies and governance relate to agroforestry. Finally, we offer some additional resources. Firstly, we present Internet resources related to agroforestry, natural resources management and education. Secondly, Annex 1 presents a quick reference summary of the complete agroforestry curriculum framework.