Capacity building in forestry education and training institutions
FAO has helped many forestry schools to develop new curricula, improve infrastructure and train teachers. Throughout the world, forestry education must respond to new demands and opportunities. FAO believes that the best way to support these processes is by building local or regional capacities, both through internal development of institutions and through developing and promoting relations among institutions in the forest sector.
Strengthening educational institutions
Educational institutions today are evolving to meet changing needs. Traditionally their primary role was to train staff for the national forest services. Today, these services in general need fewer personnel or have stopped recruiting. However, many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector need professionally trained staff. This change in focus requires different approaches to forestry education.
Developing human resources of educational institutions is becoming more important as needs and opportunities in the field of forestry evolve. Training is required in various areas such as: management skills, new curriculum development and monitoring, pedagogical and didactical skills and innovative forest and natural resources management skills.
Strengthening external relations
More efforts should be made to strengthen the relations of forestry training or education institutions with external sectors, as well as with other institutions in the forest sector itself in order to adapt to new demands and opportunities.
Forestry education considerations should be included more often in policy formulation and planning, and in national forest programmes in particular. Many forestry schools include in-service training for the forestry service in their mission statement, but this training cannot be provided if relations with forest services are not maintained and if governments do not grant funding for these activities.
It is of prime importance that forestry teachers maintain links with the practicing forest sector. In order for schools to train people for forestry NGOs and private enterprises, the schools must also be aware of the needs of these organizations; thus there is a need for effective networking in this area.
Relations between forestry educational institutions and the national education sector must be strengthened to ensure that forestry education complies with national standards.
Forestry considerations are becoming part of a broader natural resources management perspective. Thus, educational institutions need to strengthen their relations with relevant sectors, such as agriculture.