Integration of agroecology and agrobiodiversity in agricultural education curricula of universities and technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions in Kenya
Robert Mbeche1, Clapperton Sindani2, Mwikamba Kaibui1, Mary Nyasimi3, Nancy Rapando4, Matthias Geck5
1Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Dept. of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Kenya
Agro-ecological transformation of agricultural systems is one the appropriate options for enhancing sustainable land management and responding to climate change. Incorporation of such ecological principles into the study of farming systems is key in equipping professionals for future design and management of sustainable agriculture. Unfortunately very few agricultural colleges and universities have incorporated agroecology and the concept of sustainable rural development into their formal curricula. Using an online survey of 24 respondents, the study sought to understand the status of integration of agroecology and agrobiodiversity in agricultural education curricula of universities and technical and vocational training (TVET) institutions in Kenya, including the needs of the respective institutions. The study findings show that there is limited integration of AE and ABD in university and TVET curricula in Kenya. The teaching of AE and ADB is mainly limited to being mentioned in passing during lectures, as part of some topics and to a small extent as part of short courses. Compared to agroecology, a sizeable proportion of institutions (40%) report offering agrobiodiversity courses. While the integration of AE and ABD principles is medium, the application is limited due to poor attitudes of staff, limited resources to move beyond theory based courses and limited training of staff on interdisciplinary training on food systems. In view of the findings of this study, there is need to support universities and colleges in Kenya to create holistic integrated problem-oriented centres of knowledge, reorient academic staff in emerging issues and enhance their ability to facilitate learning of agroecology and agrobiodiversity and build and sustain partnerships and networks for enhancing the learning and teaching of AE and agrobiodiversity. The findings of the study form a basis for a first step in engaging higher education stakeholders about the need to integrate AE and ABD into curricula and obtain their valuable views for effective future incorporation into the curricula.
Keywords: Agricultural training, agrobiodiversity, agroecology, Kenya, sustainable food systems, TVETs, universities
Contact Address: Robert Mbeche, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Dept. of Agricultural and Resource Economics, P.O Box 62000-00200 , Nairobi, Kenya, e-mail: rmbechejkuat.ac.ke