Claim Hochschule Weihenstephan-Triesdorf - University of Applied Sciences

Training Pact with Africa

The 'HSWT International School' is responsible for the content and organisation of the 'Training Pact with Africa'. The training agreement is based on three key measures – partnerships, training and international postgraduate programmes – which are being implemented as part of the first funding phase. Two further measures to be implemented in the event of additional funding are continuing education and international undergraduate programmes.

Developing degree programmes with a high practical relevance, including company internships, represents a huge organisational and cultural challenge. Adapting the German model of universities of applied sciences to the local situation in the relevant countries is a high priority both for Germany and for the target countries. A key element of this concept is the focus on practical training as a basis for understanding processes, for example, in agricultural enterprises. The variety of training opportunities offered by HSWT, the high applicability and the direct integration of practice and theory are of great importance in cooperating with African partners. HSWT's many years of experience and practice-oriented network are particularly useful in this regard. There is particular emphasis on the exchange of experiences and ideas between the partner universities and institutions, as well as networking among the partners themselves.

The training pact with Africa involves the following measures:

The first key measure is partnerships. These are used to build on the relationships between HSWT and the African partners and the work in common areas of interest by organising staff exchanges between the universities and establishing long-term collaboration through training and education. These university partnerships form the basis for running the postgraduate course, the International Master’s in Agricultural Management (IMA) and the alumni network. The cooperation with partner universities focuses in particular on the modernisation of educational concepts. The goal of the partnerships is also to build networks and to establish long-term contact with and between alumni. A number of African partner universities were identified during a series of trips in 2019 and 2020: Arsi University, Bahir Dar University, and Hawassa University – all in Ethiopia – as well as Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology (JOOUST) and Maseno University, both of which are in Kenya.

Meeting at the Hawassa University in Ethiopia (2020)
Meeting with representatives of Maseno University in Kenya (2020)

The second key measure includes training in the form of exposure and lecturer courses. Exposure courses for specialists and managers last for one to two weeks. The focus here is on the exchange between specialists from the partner countries, the experience gained in Germany and transferring knowledge to the partner countries. The certificate for this course is issued in conjunction with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ). The lecturer exchange and training programme focuses on modern learning methods and exchanging ideas and concepts. The aim is to convey modern methods of practical education. Each year, a course is offered for 12 participants each in Germany and in an African partner country. Target groups are teaching staff in the partner universities, primarily younger and/or female staff. The intention is to train a total of 120 participants in five-day courses by 2022. HSWT issues a certificate to course participants.

Visit to a farm shop as part of the exposure course (2019)
Agricultural technology as part of the exposure course (2019)

The third key measure relates to the Master’s degree programme 'International Master’s in Agricultural Management' (IMA). HSWT has been offering this degree programme for 20 years, primarily in cooperation with Eastern European partner universities. The network is now being expanded to Africa as part of the Training Pact with Africa. By 2023, the intention is to have 18 participants from African partner universities taking part in the practical semester of the degree programme, with 12 of those students then proceeding to take the Master’s degree. Students successfully completing the entire course will be awarded a Master’s degree from HSWT. There are also plans to introduce the International Master’s in Agricultural Management at the universities and universities of applied sciences in Africa. The IMA has been publicly commended on several occasions and in 2008 was awarded the quality label for international Master’s degree programmes by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in conjunction with the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft (Donors' Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany). For the 2020 summer semester, the plan was to include African students in the IMA practical study semester. Due to the coronavirus crisis, it was not possible for the exchange to go ahead as planned, so the students are now invited to join the master’s degree programme at HSWT in the 2021 summer semester.

IMA network at the international rectors’ conference at HSWT (2019)
International Master's degree programme in Agricultural Management - International Evening (2019)

HSWT International School digital is a multi-disciplinary initiative. Providing teaching materials to prepare for courses in advance and for follow-up afterwards via a learning platform within the context of blended learning is an essential part of the intensive support provided to course participants.

The fourth key measure covers international, English-speaking bachelor’s degree programmes in the field of life sciences and green technologies. The first module packages for the Agriculture degree programme at the Triesdorf campus were launched in a pilot phase during the summer semester of 2019.

The fifth key measure focuses on the area of continuing education. One of the subareas is the postgraduate course 'Food Chains in Agriculture'. The five-month course is held each year from 2018 to 2022, with 25 African participants joining each year. Due to the coronavirus crisis, this year’s postgraduate course is currently taking place online. The programme is aimed at Master’s graduates from African countries. The aim is to understand agricultural value-added chains in all their complexity. Students also learn how to combine this knowledge with their own experiences in designing and managing chain models. The ideas generated here are intended to then be transposed to the participants’ home countries. The fact that there is a special focus on the practical orientation in this course is reflected in the numerous visits to agricultural businesses, institutions and companies. Once they have returned to their home countries, the intention is for course graduates to work with German and international institutions for development cooperation to find possible applications for the project proposals. Support will be provided for the best participants in the practical implementation of their project work in the form of prize money from the BayWa Foundation, for example. Another subarea of continuing education is the cooperation between HSWT and the ‘green technical schools’. The ‘Grüne Fachschule (green technical school)’ working group meets once a year to exchange expertise. In addition to that, the conferences represent a third area of continuing education. In the second half of the ‘Training Agreement with Africa’, a conference focusing on applied education in agriculture and related subjects will be organised at HSWT. The objective of this conference is to exchange experience in teaching with a high level of applicability and to facilitate network building.

Visit to a farm as part of the postgraduate course (2019)
Postgraduate course participants are awarded their degree certificates by Federal Minister Dr Gerd Müller (2018)

Project duration

01 August 2019 - 30 September 2022

Project partner

BayWa Foundation

International Master in Agricultural Management (IMA)

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