The project ‘Improvement of the Master Programme in Agronomy in the South of Ukraine’ initiates enrolment of students on the basis of KhSAU
On June 18, a kick-off meeting on the EBRD project ‘Improvement of the Master Programme in Agronomy in the South of Ukraine’ at the Kherson State Agrarian and Economic University from the next academic year took place.
The project stipulates elaboration of the new modern educational master programme to train professional personnel – ‘field commanders’ for the agrarian business of Ukraine through implementation of the latest master programme in agronomy on the basis of KhSAU.
According to Alina Bilan, The EBRD Project Manager of Technical Cooperation in Agribusiness, the agricultural sector of Ukraine is currently experiencing rapid development where the motivated, professional and qualified specialists constitute the key component: ‘They will be the locomotive leading Ukraine to the TOP food producers in the world in the nearest future. Neither state-of-the-art technology nor equipment is worth anything without highly qualified staff, so the process of proficient training for future experts is crucial.
Our role in educational project is that the EBRD involves donor funds and supports projects aimed at facilitating public-private partnerships, strengthening capacity of educational institutions, ensuring free access as well as increasing level of knowledge and skills of the young professionals. The project ‘Improvement of the Master Programme in Agronomy in the South of Ukraine’ will be a starting point in enhancing quality and complying with international standards and best practices for training experts in higher education institutions of Ukraine’ - adds Alina Bilan.
Alex Lissitsa, the President of UCAB, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the educational project ‘Agrokebety’ , expressed his gratitude to the EBRD for supporting the master programme in Kherson region: ‘I am very delighted that the EBRD has expressed its willingness to support such project. I have worked with this institution for many years and I consider it a good sign that the Bank has paid attention to the issues of agricultural education’.
The training will be held under the curriculum developed on the basis of last year's NULES pilot project. The programme will be consequently adjusted to the requirements of the southern Ukraine and will take into consideration all preferences of the companies involved in this project. First of all, it is Agrofusion that is a long-time partner of UCAB.
The project receives strong support from the Kherson Regional State Administration as well: ‘I have very good impressions of Kherson University and attitude of the students persuading me that we have made the right decision. I am sincerely grateful to Yurii Husiev, Head of the Kherson Regional State Administration, that this initiative is supported by our politicians at the regional level’.
Implementation of the project is extremely important for Kherson State Agrarian and Economic University primarily because Kherson region is an agricultural one. In 2019, the region harvested: cereals / legumes – 2,759 thousand tons, fruits and berries - more than 50 thousand tons, grapes - more than 20 thousand tons, vegetables - more than 1,250 thousand tons.
Yurii Husiev, Head of the Kherson Regional State Administration, states: ‘Today an important change has taken place: our agrarian university has become agrarian and economic. The economic component in agriculture is becoming increasingly essential. It is also important that we are working on the project ‘Improvement of the Master Programme in Agronomy in the South of Ukraine’ together with the EBRD and UCAB. I had the opportunity to be involved in other EBRD projects before my work in the Kherson Regional State Administration. The issues regarding agricultural development, irrigation, new technologies, agricultural economy are currently raised and developed by the EBRD. I would also like to thank Agrofusion, a large company operating in the south of Ukraine and taking an active part in the project’.
Economic agricultural education plays essential role in the process of convergence of science, theory and real business as well as meeting the needs of enterprises that introduce new technologies , support innovation and create new types of agricultural products. This project is another step to make educational products aimed at the needs of business, agriculture and agro-industrial complex.
The team of Kherson Regional State Administration is willing not only to promote development of the project but has also asked to put their region in the first pilot positions when implementing such educational initiatives.
The project is expected to be implemented on the basis of two faculties of KhSAU: agronomic and economic.
‘For KhSAU the introduction of renewal of the master programme is very important in view of the fact that it is a shining example of dual education. Masters will not only attend lectures but also will be able to work side by side with producers, with those people who are in the fields and engaged in technological processes every day’, said Yurii Kyrylo, Rector of Kherson State Agrarian and Economic University.
Alex Lissitsa paid attention to the fact that often the knowledge gained in universities is partially detached from practice or educated in an inappropriate format than the business requires: ‘Every practitioner or businessman will say: when an agronomist gets a job in an agricultural company, in 24/7 mode he must know exactly how to elaborate technological map for the crop cultivation. Most students after university are not able to perform it. Therefore, if we strive to get specialists following graduation we should set the necessary parameters at the beginning of their education.
Internship is not a tour to observe the enterprise as most students think. If students do the internship, they have to work with experts from morning until evening for six months. Therefore, we need to change approaches and demonstrate to students that the apprenticeship involves delving into the actual business process. We are not going to spend 2 years on a theoretical rethinking of some global concepts, we need a down-to-earth approach constituting frank, clear and practical closeness to practice.
Nataliia Pryzhyhalinska, Head of Human Resources Management of Agrofusion, states: ‘We have been cooperating with Kherson State Agrarian and Economic University for more than seven years and many of its graduates have the opportunity to work in our modern company. We are aware that success of any company and state as a whole depends on people and their qualifications. We are certain that this project will become a driver in development and strengthening of human resource capacity in the south of Ukraine’.