The Myanmar Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation (MoALI) and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through its funding partner NICHE work together to strengthen agricultural schools in Myanmar. The NICHE programme in Myanmar concerns the strengthening of 5 pilot State Agricultural Institutes (SAIs) with an outreach to the 9 other SAIs. Hands-on support will be provided with curriculum review, teacher development and ICT needs. It also ensures that the SAI curriculum will be better tailored to job profiles and real job needs in the regions.
Capacity for curriculum development starts with a clear understanding of the requirements of the labour market. From June 27 to 29, five pilot SAIs participated in a workshop at CARTC, to assess their (regional) labour market and create linkages to companies.
The input of national and international agricultural companies is essential. Therefore, Dutch and Myanmar agribusinesses were invited to present their company and share their views, especially on job or skill qualifications they are looking for in their company. Their inputs will help shape the SAI job profiles (extension worker, entrepreneurial farmer) and eventually lead to a better alignment of the SAI curriculum to the actual agri sector in Myanmar.
This first meeting between the SAIs and Myanmar and Dutch agri sector companies was also the first step towards better linkages. This can be of mutual benefit, as it will lead to better prepared SAI graduates for the agri sector, and may generate support for the NICHE program at a later stage, when activities such as mini-enterprises at SAIs and internships for SAI teachers are planned.
The exchange was a great success. After a general introduction about the SAIs and the NICHE program, the companies East West Seed, De Heus, Orgaworld and Marlar Myaing gave short pitches. In their presentations, they already lined out what kind of staff they are looking for.
After the lunch break, the SAI representatives walked around to discuss with the different companies what skills and knowledge they require and to jointly identify ways to collaborate. Based on these discussions, the companies presented back the main conclusions and ideas for collaboration. Ideas included offering internships and scholarships, training and demonstrations at the SAIs, usage of demonstration plots to test new products and of course offering job opportunities in the extension teams of various companies.
The exchange about skills and knowledge required will provide valuable input for the labour market assessment and the creation of job profiles that the SAIs will start working on. Furthermore, we will make sure that the possibilities for collaboration identified will be taken up further. We are confident that this was just the beginning of a fruitful collaboration between the SAIs and agribusinesses in Myanmar.