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Trained manpower requirements for forestry

H.L. Shirley and J. Prats Llauradó
Forestry education and training in Latin America

André Lafond
Forestry education and training in Africa

Assessment and translation of manpower estimates into education and training efforts

The growth in recent years of a programme for the development of forestry education sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and by FAO has made clear the need to provide governments as well as agencies for multilateral and bilateral aid with information that will enable them to plan realistically ahead and concert their efforts. It is now generally accepted that an evaluation of national manpower requirements in the forestry sector and at least an approximation of these requirements within the corresponding regional picture is needed to justify the establishment of any new forestry schools and/or the strengthening of existing ones.

At the Fourteenth Session of the FAO Conference in 1967, the FAO Secretariat was asked to undertake a survey of existing facilities for forestry education and training in the developing world, and attempt to assess trained manpower requirements on a regional basis while encouraging governments to evaluate their own national requirements. As a result, advice has been given on the major aspects of the establishment and strengthening of forestry education systems, including the location of the institutions needed, their size and their organization.

The surveys are being conducted by region and to date those for Latin America and Africa have been completed. Investigation of the Asia-Pacific region is expected to get under way shortly; the special circumstances of this region may require a somewhat different treatment of the subject.

In examining the Latin American and African reports the FAO Advisory Committee on Forestry Education (Fourth Session, Ibadan, Nigeria, 11-12 July 1969) endorsed the exercise as a whole, approved the method of work followed and supported the principles on which the reports were based. It approved the presentation and general contents of the regional reports, which comprised a description of existing facilities, an assessment of quantitative requirements for trained forestry personnel in view of specific forestry development targets, a consideration of the qualitative aspects of forestry education and a number of suggestions and recommendations for an action programme, and what it would cost.

The principles underlying the reports are that:

1. investments in forestry education must be proportionate to the sectoral development targets which are part of a country's overall development plans;

2. neighbouring countries should coordinate their efforts so that educational institutions could serve large areas with certain similar features;

3. long-established forestry schools should be encouraged to participate actively in carrying out future programmes.

Obviously, a prerequisite for the success of the whole exercise is the elaboration of a proper methodology for estimating quantitatively the trained manpower requirements for forest industries. In 1967, FAO asked Professor S.D. Richardson to study this problem which had been largely neglected until then. The resulting paper " Manpower and training requirements in forestry development planning " (FAO Doc. FO:IWP/67/1) proposed tentative methodological approaches but stressed the need to test the practical limitations and possibilities of these methods at the national level.

In 1969 a case study was carried out in Ghana for this purpose, the Ghanaian Government having agreed to cooperate in what was to be an experiment rather than a means of obtaining reliable figures on the country's manpower requirements for forestry. This case study on Ghana was presented to the participants at the seminar on Forestry Education and Training Development in Tropical Africa which is reported later in this issue. Other case studies are now being carried out in three countries of the Asia-Pacific region. It is hoped that these exercises will serve as an encouragement and a guide to other countries when assessing their manpower requirements. Such assessments of manpower needs at the country level must in turn be placed in their regional context. Providing this context is the purpose of the two reports appearing in abridged form in this issue of Unasylva.

The FAO Advisory Committee on Forestry Education has been in accord with the procedure whereby the draft reports should be not only checked with individual experts and educators in the region concerned, but also be subjected to general examination, as at the Accra seminar in the case of Africa. This procedure improved the usefulness of the reports as authoritative guides for individual institutions, governmental authorities and multilateral and bilateral aid agencies. The committee has expressed the hope that the reports will increasingly influence the identification, formulation and operation of new projects in the field of forestry education, the establishment of priorities, and the coordination of the efforts of governments and aid-granting agencies.

The committee has asked for the full reports on the developing regions of the world to be submitted to the forthcoming World Consultation on Forestry Education and Training, possibly with similar information about the situation in the developed countries.

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