About project

About project

Project summary

TITLE Lifelong learning for sustainable agriculture in Alps-Danube-Adriatic Region“
GRANT HOLDER University of Zagreb Faculty of Agriculture
TOTAL GRANT 1.039.598,58 EUR
PROJECT LEADER Prof. Renata Bažok, Ph.D.
PROJECT DURATION 3 years (December 1, 2013 – November 30, 2016)
PROJECT PARTNERS J. J. Strossmayer University of Osijek Agricultural faculty, Croatia, Universitat fur Bodenkultur Wien, Austria, University of Hohenheim, Germany, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, "Fan S. Noli" University, Korce, Albania, Agricultural University of Tirana, Albania, University of Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, University of Pristhina, Republic of Kosovo, University of Montenegro, Montenegro.
PROJECT SUMMARY In a rapidly changing world, lifelong learning (LL) needs to be a priority. It is the key to employment, economic success and allowing people to participate fully in society. One of the goals for Europe 2020 is that an average of at least 15 % of adults (age group 25-64) should participate in LL. It is considered as one of the most important activities in the development of education and research in all partner countries. Wider objectives of the project are to modernize and harmonize higher education by development of Lifelong learning (LL) system for sustainable agriculture in non-EU Alps-Danube-Adriatic region countries and to enhance networking between EU and Partner countries (non-EU) in Alps-Danube-Adriatic region by promoting LL system as a tool for permanent modernization of higher education. Project shall achieve specific objectives as are: to develop the strategy for lifelong learning in sustainable agriculture among partner institutions in order to initiate and develop different models of lifelong learning; to establish pilot activities of lifelong learning in partner institutions; to set quality benchmarks and indicators for lifelong learning competencies in the field of sustainable agriculture; to develop an appropriate guidance and counseling services. During the project HEIs will identify its own potential for LL for sustainable agriculture. The needs for LL activities will be identified at national level of partner countries. The case studies will be prepared by EU partners and will include not only positive practices with desirable effects, but also the risks and possible misconceptions that should be avoided in the future. Based on these outcomes, regional guidelines for LL in sustainable agriculture will be developed. RG will serve as a common platform for national strategies on LL which will be developed by partners. The skills of teacher for LL will be improved during the training. Pilot activities on LL will be designed and implemented on each HEI.

Project background

To meet food demands and preserve environmental resources, agriculture needs to increase the quantity and quality of harvests while reducing its ecological footprint. The common codex for integrated farming was developed in January 2001 by the members of the European Initiative for Sustainable Development in Agriculture. Sustainable agriculture requires that today’s production needs are met while improving the production resource base for future generations. This requires the most cost effective, environmentally sound and socially acceptable method of agricultural production. Sustainable development of agriculture in Europe relies on the design of innovative cropping systems able to achieve high productive performance (quantity and quality) with low use of pesticides and other agro-chemicals, while remaining compatible with socio-economic (e.g. labour use) and other environmental objectives (e.g. energy use). Over the last decade, this has led to the emergence of inter-disciplinary research and new knowledge. The implementation of sustainable agriculture requires new and updated knowledge generated by science and accepted by agronomists and farmers.

In the past, Slovenia, Croatia and partner countries (except Albania) were the parts of the same country. In ex. Yugoslavia, the 2.6 million privately owned farms accounted for 84 percent of all agricultural land. The state sector in agriculture included large agroindustrial complexes which also processed the food, state farms, and general agricultural cooperatives. In this part of agricultural sector highly educated agronomists were responsible for agricultural production. On the other hand, majority of small farms were maintained by farmers who did not have any formal agricultural education.

Currently, out of the total of 190,000 registered farms in Croatia, 63% avail of less than three ha of land. The power of medium to large farms (20-300 ha), which own about 32% of agricultural land and whose importance for market sale is increasing, has been on the rise for the last ten years. In partner countries the structure of the agricultural sector is mainly characterized by small-sized family farms, around 80% of agriculture holdings are estimated to be 2.5–2.8 ha on average; they are owned or leased, and are highly fragmented into small parcels.

During the process of joining EU, Croatian agriculture was exposed to the strong demands to producers to implement basic elements of sustainable agriculture in the whole agricultural production. The same will happen with partner states once when they will start accession. While agricultural sector in EU countries has been changed step by step towards the adoption of the basic principles of sustainable agriculture, it is expected that agronomists and farmers in Croatia and in partner countries adopt these principles almost immediately.

In order to fulfill these requirements and achieve the goals and in accordance with the Common Agricultural Policy, the priorities for those countries are professional and technological modernization of agriculture and creation of adequate information base for scientific and professional interpretation and management in agriculture and rural areas by means of the education and training of specialized staff and farmers.

Therefore it is necessary to spread new knowledge to different stakeholders: agronomists working as extension officers, policy makers, or in agricultural production; high school teachers who are teaching technicians; farmers who requires new information in order to be able to implement sustainable agriculture in their production.

Lifelong learning has been on the European agenda since the European Year of Lifelong Learning (LL) in1996, and its importance has been highlighted in the Bologna Process, the Lisbon Strategy and EU 2020. In a rapidly changing world, LL needs to be a priority – it is the key to employment, economic success and allowing people to participate fully in society. One of the goals for Europe 2020 is that an average of at least 15 % of adults (age group 25-64) should participate in LL.

The LL activities have formed an important part of universities’ contribution to societal development. In order to ensure that LL contributes to the EU agenda on social inclusion and learning societies, universities are developing educational offers that are attractive for different groups of EU citizens to access and participate in throughout their lives. The concept of LL from a HE perspective means that institutions have to provide services to target groups without losing sight of the importance of providing quality-assured, research-based education. From its origin, LL had two main pillars: widening participation and learning throughout life.

LL is set up as priority in all partner countries. One of the milestones in HE strategies in partner countries is to establish or to wide capacities for LL. Until now, all completed and ongoing curricula reform projects were focused on modern teaching contents at the agricultural faculties in the region, of the quality and modularization of their curricula and the improvement of the teaching skills of their existing staff or at strategic planning management. No effort was done in the field of LL in agriculture.

Therefore the wider objectives of the project are to modernize and harmonize higher education by development of LL system for sustainable agriculture in non-EU Alps-Danube-Adria (ADA) region countries and to enhance networking between EU and Partner countries (non-EU) in ADA region by promoting LL system as a tool for permanent modernization of higher education. The main innovation is setting up a common regional platform for LL for sustainable agriculture. This will enable target groups (scientists, university teachers, students...) to participate in LL activities at larger scale and will ensure access to different forms of LL for sustainable agriculture to the final beneficiaries.

Project structure

Summary of work packages

Work package N° Type of work package Title of work package Start End
WP.1 Development Network of working groups and development of working concept 1 3
WP.2 Development Analysis on LL potentials and needs in sustainable agriculture 4 15
WP.3 Development Harmonization of Lifelong Learning (LL) system 16 21
WP.4 Development Development of Lifelong Learning pilot activities for Sustainable Agriculture 16 21
WP.5 Exploitation lm piementation of pilot activities and on- line courses 22 34
WP.6 Dissemination Dissemination 1 36
WP.7 Quality plan Quality control and monitoring 1 36
WP.8 Management Project management 1 36

List of deliverables - outcomes

Deliverable No Title of deliverable Type or nature Language(s) Delivery Date Dissemination level
D1.1 Working teams set- up and working concept developed Methodology EN, 2014-01-31 Institution level
D1.2 Officer for LL, expert career guidance appointed Other products SR,EN, SQ, BS, HR, DE, S L, 2014-01-31 Institution level
D1.3 Opening conference and tra ining working agenda Events: Conferences and Seminars EN, 2014-03-31 Interna tional level
D2.1 S urvey on LL potentia ls Other products S L, SR, DE,HR, BS, SQ,EN, 201 4-08-31 Institution level
D2.2 S urvey on LL needs Other produc t s HR, SR, BS,SQ, EN, 201 4-08-31 Nationa l level
D2.3 Repor t on LL potentia ls Report S L, SR, DE,HR, BS, SQ,EN, 2015-02-28 Institution level
D2.4 Repor ts on LL needs Report SR,EN,HR, BS, SQ, 2015-02-28 Nationa l level
D2.5 Case studies on existing LL Report E N, 2015-02-28 Interna tional level
D2.6 Workshop on assessment of report s Event s: Conferences and Seminar s EN, 2015-03-31 International level
D3.1 Round table on Regional Guidelines Events: Conferences and Seminar s EN, 2015-05-31 Interna tional level
D3.2 Regional Guidelines developed Report E N, 2015-06-30 Interna tional level
D3.3 Strategies on LL for Sustainable Agriculture Other products SR,EN,HR, BS, SQ, 2015-09-30 National level
D4.1 Identifying training needs for LL Methodology SQ, BS,HR,EN, SR, 2015-05-31 National level
D4.2 Training on adult educational methods for LL Training EN, 2015-08-31 International level
D4.3 Advisory board agreement Other products SQ, BS,HR,EN, DE, SR, SL, 2015-05-31 National level
D4.4 Pilot activities curriculum developed and approved Learning resources SL, SR, DE,EN, HR, BS, SQ, 2015-09-30 Institution level
D5.1 Pilot activities conducted Training SL, SR, DE,EN, HR, BS, SQ, 2016-09-30 National level
D5.2 Participants questionnaire conducted Other products SL, SR, DE,EN, HR, BS, SQ, 2016-09-30 National level
D5.3 Conference - improvement of educa tional standards Events: Conferences and Seminars EN, 2016-11-30 International level
D6.1 Project's website and Facebook pr ofile Other products SL, SR, DE,E N, HR, BS, SQ, 2016-12-31 Interna tional level
D6.2 Di ssemina tion through project assembles Event s:Conferences and Seminars SL, SR, DE,E N, HR, BS, SQ, 2016-11-30 International level
D6.3 Car eer guidance panels Events: Conferences and Seminars SQ, SR,HR,BS, 2016-10-31 National level
D7.1 Evalua tion Boa rd established Other products EN, 2014-01-31 Institution level
D7.2 Monitoring of general pr ocess Report E N, 2016-12-31 Institution level
D7.3 Monitoring of the pilot activities Report EN, 2016-11-30 Institution level
D8.1 Project Management Committee established Other products EN, 2014-03-31 Institution level
D8.2 Project administration Other products E N, 2016-12-31 Institution level
D8.3 Procurement of equipment Other products E N, 201 4-06-30 Institution level