The Future of Agricultural Education: The Case of the Netherlands

Author: Mulder, Martin; Kupper, Hendrik
Organisation: Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension
Published: June 2006
Agricultural education has been an essential factor in the success of agricultural development in the Netherlands. At present, as in many countries throughout the world, the position of agricultural education is threatened. Does agricultural education have a future in the Netherlands, and if so, what strategies are being used for its survive? This paper discusses these questions. First the agri-food complex is described briefly, to give some contextual information about agricultural education. Additionally, some factual information about agricultural education itself is given. Subsequently, the trend towards green education is described, followed by a description and discussion of the first Policy Letter of the Ministry of Agriculture on the future of agricultural education. Then, the second Policy Letter is presented, including the shift towards content innovation of agricultural education and the implications for a general green curriculum. The paper then concludes with an overview of the types of responses used by institutes of agricultural education (schools and colleges) to cope with the uncertain developments. These responses are presented as metaphors: evaporating (vanishing), dissolving (merging into much bigger regional non-sectoral educational institutions) and crystallizing (regional and supraregional sectoral cooperation and merging). The conclusion is that the crystallizing scenario is the most promising one for agricultural education, which has to support systems innovation of the agri-food complex. A further conclusion is that more attention should be given to the organization of the knowledge infrastructure to stimulate effective cooperative knowledge production and learning
Research type: Report