Background and Objective:The historical experience of the development process in the industrialized countries shows that agriculture has played a key role in the national development of these countries. Agriculture has complex social, political, economic, ecological, aesthetic and moral aspects. Optimal confrontation with complexities, lack of uncertainty and norms, and conflicting values and tendencies require fundamental changes in agricultural work and as a result, fundamental changes in the competencies are required by agricultural students and rural development. The goal of education should be to nurture talents, grow and develop abilities and competencies, not to define the future for students. Agricultural graduates must not only be equipped with technical and specialized skills, but also have skills to facilitate development processes, including proficiency in project management, communication and negotiation. The main objective of this research was to identify the needs of agricultural students on professional competencies and its relationship with the social structure of education based on the Borich's model.
Methods: The statistical population of this study consisted both senior undergraduate and postgraduate students on different agricultural fields at both Bu Ali Sina University of Hamedan and Razi University of Kermanshah (N = 850). Of those, 385 students were selected as samples by using Cochran's formula and a simple random sampling method. The main tool for data gathering in this research was a questionnaire whose questions were designed in three sections: professional competencies, social structure of education, academic motivation. The validity of the questionnaire was calculated using a panel of experts and its reliability was calculated by Cronbach's alpha test and it was 0.88.
Findings:The results of the research showed that from the viewpoint of the agricultural students about professional competencies, 8 items need to be learned by the students and integrated into students' curriculum. These were: 1. Practical skills, 2. English skills, 3. Agricultural experience, 4. Ability to implement various agricultural projects, 5. Ability to implement research project; 6. Agricultural and environmental technical knowledge; 7. Information and communication technology skills; and 8. Creativity and innovation. The results of structural equation analysis also showed the direct effect of professional competencies on two variables of academic motivation (0.78) and social structure of education (0.63), and they were significant at the level of 0.001. The results also showed that academic motivation had a direct effect on the social structure of education with a path coefficient (0.82).
Conclusion: Different approaches can be used to formulate competencies and having a competency framework in a specific area. In this context, according to the functional areas and the level and nature of the expected behaviors, competencies can be divided into technical competence, methodological competence, social competence and individual competence, the ratio of which can vary from job to job. Combining different types of competencies together creates a type of competency that can be described as professional competence in practice. In recent years, one of the emerging issues is that competencies and their roles are a contributing factor to the organizations that deal with the changing environment. In this regard, the competency-oriented approach focuses on individuals and highlights the importance of human resources to achieve organizational goals.
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