Special session "Digitalization of agribusiness education" at 2023 EAAE Congress

Special session "Digitalization of agribusiness education" at 2023 EAAE Congress

Organised session on “Digitalization of agribusiness education” at the 2023 Congress of European Association of Agricultural Economists in Rennes - organised by the e-AgriMBA project Team




Organised session on “Digitalization of agribusiness education” at the 2023 Congress of European Association of Agricultural Economists was organised by the e-AgriMBA project Team on 1st of September 2023. 

This session was designed to showcase innovative practices in digitalization of agribusiness education from across Europe and various academic and non-academic stakeholders. 
The session put a spotlight on inspiring practices in agribusiness management and rural development and provided a condensed overview of approaches and ideas to reduce the digital divide between urban and rural regions across the EU by promoting inclusiveness and green practices. 

First presentation: How Vocational Education and Training can Drive the Green Transition in Agri-food by Stelina Chatzichristou (Expert European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training - Cedefop),

Cedefop, an Agency of the European Union focusing on skills and vocational education and training (VET) trends and policies, has been exploring the impact of environmental policies on jobs and skills for over a decade. Achieving the European Green Deal (EGD) ambitions will affect all sectors and occupations across EU Member States, albeit at different intensity and direction. Relevant and agile VET systems, founded on strong stakeholder partnerships are necessary. Upskilling and reskilling can support the transition happen and will be important for high-, medium-skilled and elementary occupations. Skills for the green transition, ranging from technical skills to soft skills, can vary by sector. Making the agri-food sector more sustainable is pivotal for reaching the EGD targets. EU regulation, innovative high-tech farming approaches, shifting consumer choices, and more circular business models in food production will radically change the sector and transform skill needs. Cedefop’s policy brief, Growing green - How vocational education and training can drive the green transition in agri-food, reports on a Cedefop skills foresight study which looked at the occupations and skills that are essential to a more sustainable and resilient agri-food sector and the role VET can play in support
Link to report: Skills in transition: the way to 2035

Second presentation: Digitization of Higher Education: Realities and Perspectives in the EU Accession Candidate Moldova by Andrei Bragarenco and Dinu Ţurcanu (Technical University of Moldova) 
Digital transformation is radically transforming the society and economy of Moldova, having an ever-increasing impact on everyday life. Digital technologies have already markedly transformed the media, commerce, entertainment sectors, and education, the higher education sector being the next on the list. Educational information systems are still fragmented between the online and offline environments, also due to the lack of a unitary legal framework that would constitute the foundation for the architecture of digital public services. Some higher education institutions benefit from minimal or average functionalities of the University Management System, while others do not have sufficient resources to introduce such innovations in the service portfolio. The alignment of higher education with European standards is necessary, taking into account the candidate country status of the Republic of Moldova. Digitization becomes an important tool in academic development for meeting the requirements of a sustainable future and allowing alignment with existing quality standards at the institutional, national and international level.

Third presentation: Innovative Solutions and Methods in Professional Agribusiness Education in Europe - the Example of e-AgriMBA Learning System by Agata Malak Rawlikowska  - Warsaw University of Life Sciences (Poland) and co-authors from the e-AgriMBA project Team: Katarzyna Kurek (CULS - Czech Republic), Wim Heijman (CULS - Czech Republic), Krisztián Kovacs (UNIDEB - Hungary), Peter Bielik (SAUN - Slovakia), Josip Juračak (UNIZAG - Croatia), Aurelia Litvin (TUM - Moldova), Rico Ihle (WU - The Netherlands)

The presentation focused on innovative solutions and methods in professional agribusiness education on the example of e-AgriMBA Learning System developed within the network of 13 European agribusiness MBA programs. The System provides a high-quality, innovative educational and cross-border learning environment, which allows for the green and digital transformation of higher education. The e-AgriMBA Learning System offers high-quality educational resources developed by international experts using innovative training methodologies and tools. The easily available educational resources reduce teaching costs, limit unnecessary travel and enable equal access for students with different economic means and for those living in remote and rural areas.

Fourth presentation: Creative Learning for Boosting Bio-economy within HEIs’ Curricula by Nina Drejerska (Warsaw University of Life Sciences - Poland) and co-authors from the CL4BIO project Team: Pamela Burnard (United Kingdom), Mariantonietta Fiore (Italy), Demetris Vrontis  (Cyprus), Valentina Chkoniya (Portugal), Wioleta Sobczak (Poland)

The presentation covered innovative learning and teaching practices as well as excellence in learning, teaching and skills development on the example of the CL4BIO project - Creative learning for boosting bio-economy within HEIs’ curricula. The project approach is built on two inter-related levels: the first one refers to pedagogical skills for HEI trainers, and the second to green skills for students. The Creative Learning Method (CLM) is an innovative training methodology to ignite creativity and motivate people to intentional learning, which may contribute to educational interventions with lectures-shows and interactive inspirational talks and therefore aimed at making the students the protagonists of their learning process in a smart, creative and inclusive way

The session concluded with a valuable comments of discussants - Cornelis Gardebroek (Wageningen University – The Netherlands), Wim Heijman (Czech University of Life Sciences – Czech Republic), which were followed by discussion of panellists and the public, which stimulated exchange of experiences and perceptions to promote new ideas and initiatives in life-long learning in agribusiness. It contributed to achieving the EU’s Digital Decade, the EU Digital Strategy as well as the lifelong learning goals of the European Education Area and the OECD’s Innovation Strategy for Education and Training.