In countries with agricultural potential, the development of the Agro-food sector is a priority in terms of economic strategy. In this context, training human capital is vital. The aim is to support the reduction of the countries’ dependence on products from abroad, increasing food sovereignty and promoting the export of agricultural and livestock products. For this purpose the creation of Family Rural Schools (FRS) is fundamental.
The FRS differs from a "classic” school. There are 4 key differences : (i) the school functions in an Alternating Cycle (students spend alternate periods between working at their family farm and time studying in a FRS): (ii) Global Education and where students are divided into small groups (the goal being an individualized and thorough education, allowing the student direct involvement in a self-employment project); (iii) the creation of an Association (each FRS is managed by an Association created by the families, professionals, local leaders and other people involved with the FRS); (iv) and the development and sustainability of the Local Environment.
The guiding principle for this type of school and the students’ education is their specific reality, we seek to supply them with the skills that will motivate them to stay in rural regions. At each Alternating Cycle a specific subject is taught which is directly related to the work that is being developed on site at that moment or any other subject included in the educational strategy.
In a FRS, learning is complemented by a cross-curricular approach with general, scientific and technical subjects. At the end of the 3-year program, each student develops an Orientation and Improvement Project, which is in many cases a self-employment project.
There is very active participation of the families in the school, not only through the Association but also through the practical training sessions. A FRS has specific teaching tools, to be worked out in each Alternating Cycle: the students compile a Research Handbook; which are conclusions reached of the shared group experiences; a Field Trip in connection with a particular subject is undertaken; as well as participation in a Professional Conference where expert guests speak.
FRSs offer long term education program: 3 years of basic training, plus 3 years of secondary training.
This type of school started in France in 1937 and more schools have been established in several countries since then, notably: France (472), Brazil (274), Argentina (120), Cameroon (40), Spain (25), Mozambique (18), and the Ivory Coast (12)
It is our objective to implement, in different phases, these type of schools in Angola and Namibia. Initially, and during the next 6 years, we expect to take the necessary steps to open several FRSs in these two countries.
The main goal of our project is the promotion and development of the human being at different levels: professional, human, technical, social and economic in rural areas. The specific goals are the following: to promote Professional Education; increasing agricultural productivity (Food Security); creating jobs and self-employment; improving the quality of life of a number of communities.
FRSs are aimed at accommodating young people who have completed middle school, come from rural areas and work or wish to work in the agricultural market. The required profile of youngsters joining a FRS takes into consideration the involvement of the families and communities to which they belong and which is essential for reaching the expected results with the Alternating Cycle methodology.
Together with the training of students, we intend to transform each FRS into a Local Development Centre by means of promoting a number of initiatives, such as: the Continuous Training of Professionals; Awareness-raising activities in the Public Health Sector; events linked to nutrition; literacy Initiatives; Digital Inclusion Initiatives; Trial Fields open to the Community and Seed Banks