A new modern cloud-based e-learning institution, AGRICOLLEGES International has been launched in a bid to provide students with affordable, accessible and industry-relevant agricultural course content. The institution uses Desire2Learn’s (D2L) Brightspace learning management system (LMS).
Howard Blight, Chairperson and Founder of AGRICOLLEGES International says, “We will offer students from all walks of life, starting in South Africa, the opportunity to access or continue their education in the Agri-Sciences. AGRICOLLEGES international has established a cloud-based e-learning platform, where students can study on computers and mobile devices from anywhere in the world with internet access, providing a dynamic learning environment without the added costs of being ‘on campus’. From 2018, we will venture north into the sub-continent, offering the same programmes to – students from other African countries.”
“There is a dire need for quality and affordable, tertiary, Agri-education in South Africa, Africa and the rest of the developing world. While some universities throughout the country are turning away thousands of student applicants each year, due to a lack of facilities for students looking for some form of tertiary education, it is equally true that our universities are being asked to accommodate more and more poorly prepared and poorly resourced students with fewer and fewer resources to do so. Diploma level courses studied through AGRICOLLEGES International, will meet both the needs of the industry to gain young, skilled agricultural talent, but also at a price-point that is affordable – under R29 000 per year,” says Blight.
In addition, various ‘Centres of Excellence’ are being identified and will be established all around South Africa, to provide students with the practical and experiential component of the Agri-Sciences curriculum. Several of these centres will be established at agricultural schools and colleges, to make effective use of existing available infrastructure and to reduce the capital investment required. Others will be in collaboration with certain mega-farmers, irrigation companies, Agri-chemical companies, pack-houses and the like. The practical component will balance the theory – creating a blended learning solution for students.
“There is a significant demand for farming short-courses in the agri-related and allied industries. AGRICOLLEGES international short courses will be offered to existing farmers and others from within the industry,” adds Blight.