ICRA’s activities are normally in partnership with other organizations from both “North” and “South”. They include projects where we take the lead, and others where we play a supporting role. Typically our capacity development role supports broader rural innovation processes to help achieve Sustainable Development Goals.

Transforming Agricultural Colleges into Agricultural Training Institutes (TACATI)

Transforming Agricultural Colleges into Agricultural Training Institutes (TACATI)

Geographical location:

South AfricaAfrique du SudAfrica del Sur

Time frame:



Netherlands Initiative for Capacity development in Higher Education (NICHE/ZAF/041)

ICRA Contact Person:

Juan Ceballos-Müller

Further information:

The project aimed at building capacity for the transformation of Agricultural Colleges to Agricultural Training Institutes (ATIs) and produce employable graduates.


The project is jointly led by the department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), South Africa, and CDI - WageningenUR, the Netherlands.


Overall objective:
To contribute to the successful implementation of the South African agricultural education and training strategy through the repositioning, refocusing and re-capitalization of the Agricultural Colleges into Agricultural Training Institutes (ATIs), in compliance with the agreed national norms and standards.

Specific objectives:

  • ATIs to become better equipped to ensure that learning programmes are accreditated and offer quality assurance
  • ATI’s are strengthened in their capacity to regularly review, develop and offer gender-sensitive qualifications in response to labour market demands
  • Improved coordination and communication between South Africa’s Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the ATIs, with improved coordination, mutual accountability and learning during the transition process from agricultural colleges into ATI’s


ICRA's role

The TACATI project has created Communities of Learning and Action (COLA) to bring together good practices and shared interests of the ATIs. In these communities, the ATIs learn from each other and set their own goals.
Together with CEDARA College, ICRA is facilitating a Community of Learning and Action to design Competence Based Learning curricula. ICRA does this through interactive learning, by harvesting knowledge and experience from the participating ATIs, helping them to set objectives, and organizing exchanges with participating ATIs to learn from each other’s curriculum design.
The ATIs intend to develop curricula that provide a combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes tailored to specific demands from the labour market. Curricula will focus on competences that enable entrepreneurs to make their own business choices, covering a wide range of production options and alternative enterprises in a more comprehensive approach.
The agricultural training institutes participating in the communities are: CEDARA, Fort Cox, Grootfontein, Lowveld, Madzi, Marapyane, Owen Sitole College of Agriculture, Tompi Seleka, and Tsolo.

Achievements to date

A competency based learning curriculum design process has been developed, based on five pillars of sustainability and on the CEDARA college model. We are using the experiences of CEDARA in applying the Competence Based Learning approach to design and deliver a curriculum, jointly visualized and agreed at the first workshop in September 2012. Field trips include representatives of all colleges involved in the competency based learning communities of learning and action, with a team led by CEDARA and ICRA.
In March 2013, ICRA identified graduate competencies (job profiles) and understood the need for integrating modules. Based on their learning outcomes, colleges are now developing a curriculum that combines the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to master the identified competencies, pursuing inter-relations between the learning subjects (horizontal integration) and building up the increasing complexity of a learning subject (vertical integration).
In 2014, training events from teaching to facilitating learning have been conducted at three colleges and visits have been made to another three that are still struggling to put together competency based learning curricula.

A report synthesizing the main learning experiences emanating from the project was published early 2016: Transformation through institutional peering - Agricultural Training Institutes learning from each other. Experiences from a Dutch-South African partnership.

Published on: 16 - December - 2014

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