The just-ended Technical Education Development for Modernized Agriculture in Ghana (TEDMAG) project has transformed agriculture education at the tertiary level, giving students hands-on practical skills to be market-oriented entrepreneurs before graduation.
One of the main objectives of the CA$15million TEDMAG project, which span six years, is to upgrade the curricula of five agricultural colleges of education to make them more market-oriented, value chain-centred and gender sensitive. Tutors in the various colleges were also given post-graduate education to upgrade and be better-equipped to deliver modern teaching methods to students.
The project was implemented at the Damango, Ohawu, Ejura and Kwadaso Colleges of Agriculture, and the Animal Health and Production College.
The newly-developed curriculum for training students is focused on market-oriented and farming as a business approach to agriculture. It is designed to support trainers and equip students with skills and knowledge that translates into practice for all agriculture extension and development workers.
To ensure the expectations of students and teachers alike are met, the teaching manuals and materials were developed and validated by experts in collaboration with some of the students and tutors.
With testimonials pointing to an excellent execution of the project, experts are confident that agricultural education has been transformed for the better.
TEDMAG was implemented by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) with funding support from Global Affairs Canada.
The project has also seen a physical infrastructure overhaul for the colleges of education. For instance, it saw the retooling of ICT units, science laboratories, and rehabilitation of libraries at five campuses.
Incubation hubs for entrepreneurship training were also created on all the campuses to further assist soft skills and advisory needs.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Yaw Frimpong Addo, in his remarks at the closing ceremony reiterated that the best way to empower people and create lasting change is to provide them with the tools and knowledge needed to become self-sufficient – and that’s exactly what TEDMAG did to transform the agricultural space.
“I am elated to announce that depending solely on government for employment will be reduced drastically, as students from these colleges of agriculture will be self-sufficient and fully equipped to start and sustain their own ventures after graduation,” he said.
Some of the initiatives under this objective – such as the establishment of student-managed farms (SMF) among other exercises to provide students with hands-on practical training and have real-time experience in agribusiness – are said to have already produced several entrepreneurs.
The SMF and commercial projects in the colleges are providing students with the needed practical skills which encompass all aspects of the agricultural value chain in various products.
In her remarks on behalf of the TEDMAG consortium, Mary Buhr emphasised that agriculture has been the Ghanaian economy’s backbone and investing in the sector is important to ensure its modernization and sustainability, as well as the economy in general.
She added that women in agriculture were also given tremendous support to be independent and will want to see an increase in their enrollment at agriculture colleges.
A tutor beneficiary from Damango Agricultural College, Mary Badu, testified that the project has ignited interest for agriculture education in the northern sector because of how practical the curriculum is now – and the massive upgrade of the school’s infrastructure.
She said the Damango College, beyond the new curriculum, was also provided with a school bus, laptops for an ICT lab, science lab retooling, an incubation hub centre, and land for student-owned farms.
She also indicated that as head of the agriculture and economics department, she got a scholarship to study for a Master of Agribusiness at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology as part of the capacity building programme.