Improving rural people's skills
The links between education and livelihoods are essential
10 November 2005, Rome – Improving the skills of rural people will have a positive impact on livelihoods in rural areas of developing countries, according to an FAO paper presented at the annual meeting of the Working Group for International Cooperation in Skills Development, which opened today.
“A broad perspective on livelihoods is required when it comes to education for rural people. Education, including skills development, should be a critical aspect of support interventions aiming at boosting economic activities and growth,” said FAO expert in rural development Marcelino Avila.
“If teaching programmes are too narrowly oriented to agriculture, they may restrict rural people’s opportunities for enterprise, and thus limit their possibilities for social and economic progress,” explains Mr. Avila.
The FAO paper highlights the role of the non-farm rural economy. “Available data shows that non-farm employment and income are significant in rural areas. Non-farm sources of income are estimated to average around 50% of household incomes in sub-Saharan Africa and this share already represents around 30 to 40% in South Asia,” it says.
“This trend suggests some re-thinking about the relevance and role of education and training in promoting and enhancing rural livelihoods,” according to FAO.
The achievement of the Millennium Development Goals will depend also on ensuring the basic skills of rural people, keeping in mind the links between skills development and livelihoods, FAO says.
The two-day meeting was organized by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the International Labour Office and the Network for Policy Review, Research and Advice on Education and Training (NORRAG), in collaboration with FAO and UNESCO’s International Institute for Education Planning (IIEP).
It gathers education, economics and social experts from FAO, UNESCO, the World Bank, the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) and several other development agencies.
FAO is the lead agency for the global education for rural people initiative launched in Johannesburg, in 2002, in cooperation with UNESCO, to address the basic learning needs of rural people.
Recently, FAO launched a new Interactive Education for Rural People Tool Kit to support extension agents, rural teachers, trainers, researchers, parents and others involved in formal and non-formal education for rural people.
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