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KOSOVO, THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA: EDUCATION AND SKILLS ENHANCEMENT TO PROMOTE RURAL DEVELOPMENT

Bridging the gap for the rural folk

Confronted with a considerable education gap between urban and rural people, Kosovo recognized that access to basic education and skills training are key elements in enabling the rural population to diversify its activities and find a basis for sustainable development. The authorities also recognized that improvements were needed in the quality of primary and adult education and training in the rural areas, particularly with respect to agriculture and non-agriculture income generating activities.

What are their needs?

FAO helped develop a strategy for education and training for agriculture and rural development under a TCP project launched in 2003 with a budget of US$298 000. The project, which ended in 2004, identified the education needs of rural communities through a participatory process involving farmers' and women's associations, village leaders and representatives, NGOs, teachers and parents. A participative strategy was formulated, which focused on improving the quality and relevance of education to rural livelihoods. Improvements were centred on revising the school curricula, facilitating access to school by rural children, providing non-formal education to rural people, and supplying adequate teaching materials, books and equipment to rural schools.

Seeking relevance in education

The medium-term Strategy for Education for Rural People was officially launched and presented to the donor community in June 2004. The strategy and the assessment study, as well as the participatory methodology used, are now the driving force behind policy and planning activities for both the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development. The two ministries expressed their readiness to collaborate to promote the same education in all regions of Kosovo. Key stakeholders praised the strategy for its comprehensiveness and clear direction to all institutions involved in education for rural people and in rural development in general. Through the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) support, both ministries have begun to review the education curriculum to ensure that it is relevant to the needs of rural people.


School children in Kosovo.

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