Agricultural vocational training in Romanian professional secondary schools

copera-liceu-agricol-en-corect (1)CRPE Policy Memo 55, September 2014, Authors: Alexandra Toderiţă, Bianca Toma. The attractiveness of agriculture as a professional domain registered a substantial decline in Romania since 1989. Between 2001 and 2011, the number of high schools with agricultural specializations decreased by 52%, while the number of graduates has decreased by over 44%. Thus, in 2010, only 2.5% of farm managers has some kind of formal agricultural education background, a figure 3 times smaller than in 2005 (7.3%) and well below the European average of 29.6%. In recent years, however, an opposite trend has started to take shape in this sector and the number of students enrolled in vocational education has increased considerably (in the last 3 years especially). Annual tuition for 2014-2015 indicates a number of 35,740 students enrolled, almost three times more than in the previous period (12,693 in the 2013-2014 school year).

The greatest difficulty of vocational agri schools / high schools was and continues to be engaging with business and integrating into the labor market. The difficulty arises from the practical training yet, there are a small number of partnerships between companies / farms and vocational and technical schools in rural agricultural areas.

Despite these difficulties, a number of examples of good practice can be replicated on a national level. The report Education for Agriculture includes as case studies two high schools with vocational agricultural programs – the „Barsa” College of Agriculture and Food Industry from Prejmer and ” Constantin Dobrescu ”  Agricultural School from Curtea de Arges, and also three good practice models developed by World Vision, Junior Achievement (entrepreneurship education) and the Romanian-German Agricultural Professional Training Center in Voiteg.

CRPE emphasizes the importance of implementing measures to improve the performance of technical vocational agricultural education in Romania on two levels:

1) on the existing functional framework of agricultural high schools by:

– Reforming the existing institutional infrastructure;

– Stimulating practice partnerships between agri high schools and commercial farms / agricultural cooperatives / agro-industrial agents;

– Improving the situation in existing didactic farms;

– Implementing on a wider scale “My Company” –type of entrepreneurship teaching modules;

2) on the public policy level by:

– Resuming the structured dialogue and collaboration between the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on the reform of technical and vocational agricultural education

– Implementing a public information campaign on the employment prospects in modern agriculture in Romania

The report “Education for agriculture” is part of the “Rural development through entrepreneurship and association” program, financed by the Romanian-American Foundation, which together with organizations with expertise in rural development -CIVITAS, CSDF, CMSC and CEED has developed cooperative pilot projects in areas: Vidra-Ilfov, Apahida-Cluj, Iasi-Prisacani.