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Education and rural development

Working Group 25: Education and rural development

Anna Dipace, Alessia Scarinci, Francesco Contò
University of Foggia, Italy

The economic crisis and the rise of the opening of international markets tend to nullify the peculiarities of rural areas and their products and involve the permanence of a disadvantaged economic status especially in rural areas. At Community level, agricultural policies and rural development aim to promote alternative development paths in order to transform and implement the economic/productive activities of farms in a complex activity alongside innovative services able to multiply the competitiveness and value of traditional production. The idea of multifunctionality is an expression of this need for diversification of agricultural activities that can generate integrated services to citizens such as agritourism, direct marketing and the promotion and protection of the territory through widespread education and communication initiatives. This concept raises the need for a change in the identity of the entrepreneur and the farmworker, skills and strategies of management. Strategic factor in this perspective of economic growth, diversification and enhancement of the multifunctional characteristics of each territory is the human capital. According to definition of human capital provided by OCSE (2001),knowledge, skills acquired by individuals, as well as contribute to improving the living conditions of staff, facilitate the creation of social and economic well spread. To activate bottom-up processes in marginal rural areas, should be at least three types of resources: a competent and highly qualified human capital, a cohesive network of individuals, a leadership capable of mediating between the different needs and bring to a conclusion the process itself. What are the most effective, methods of teaching and learning, the training technologies best suited to support the formation of this valuable human capital? What is the role played by research institutes, universities, capacity-building project of the operators, the transfer of knowledge and good practices and the construction of a cooperative network between agricultural stakeholders? What are the methods emerging from the experience widespread and characterize the history of each territory?