Agricolleges International, an internet-based platform launched to provide online training in agriculture, is going to offer its first 5 courses in March 2018.
This follows after the South African (SA) sector specific education and training authority AgriSETA announced the accreditation of the college as a training institution in the agricultural sector.
The 5 courses will enable students to obtain a NQF4 plant production certificate. The courses focus on macadamia, citrus, avocados, table grapes and maize.
They are also compiling syllabi for 40 short courses for commercial crops that are cultivated in SA. These courses will be systematically phased in until 2020.
The idea for a cloud-based agricultural college originated when a group of farmers in Tzaneen wanted to provide an agricultural college for farm labourers of the province.
The building plans were, however, soon exchanged for a cloud-based e-learning plan to allow students from anywhere in the world to obtain agricultural training at a fraction of the cost.
Stellenbosch University has also provided their backing and support for the college by providing accredited learning plans.
Howard Bligh, head of the Agricolleges International steering committee, said he is delighted over the accreditation that will allow learners who matriculated in 2017 to start their studies in 2018 and acquire skills they can use to start their careers in agriculture.
There is a great need for agriculture-focussed training and education in SA and the college already had 900 applications by November 2017.
The institution wishes to train pre-graduate students in different agricultural disciplines.