Background and Objectives: The role and importance of agricultural vocational schools and training centers in forming the educated human resources needed in agriculture and the issues and problems that these centers face in the current situation are matters to be taken into consideration. It all shows that the pathology of these centers can not only help improve the prevailing situation, rather, it is possible to provide the necessary backgrounds for quality improvement in education by identifying the effective factors and elements that strengthen and improve it. Doing so these centers will be able to train students who have both the necessary skills and expertise to be able to enter the job market. A literature review on the pathology of vocational training schools and centers in agriculture revealed that despite many research studies conducted viewing the matter from diverse set of perspectives, none of them tended to study the non-functionality (flaws) of these centers from the viewpoint of two groups involved in the learning process, 1- students and 2- educators and managers. This study was conducted with the aim of pathology of agricultural vocational schools and training centers in Kermanshah province, as one of the agricultural hubs in Iran, from students’, educators’ and managers’ perspective.
Methods: Generally stating, this study is applied in terms of its nature, and uses descriptive survey method in terms of data collection. The statistical population of the study consists of students (n=2800), and educators and managers (n=210). The sample based on Krejcie and Morgan table consists of 338 students who were selected by stratified random sampling. Teachers and administrators are selected according to their population number. To collect data, a two-part questionnaire was used, the first part including questions on individual characteristics of study subjects and the second part identifying the damages of agricultural vocational schools and training centers from the perspective of students, educators and managers (42 items, using Likert-type scale, ranging from 1 to 5). Interviews with managers and observations were also used as needed to obtain additional information.
Findings: According to students, the most important flaws of agricultural vocational schools and training centers are the incompatibility of curriculum content with market needs, inflexible educational structures, low diversity of curriculum content, large number of general education courses and lack of up-to-date teachers. Educators and managers also stated that the most important flaws of these centers are inflexible educational structures, time-limit problems with courses duration, low diversity of curriculum content, accepting more students from urban areas and their lack of familiarity with agriculture and inappropriate equipment. Both groups agree on issues such as the inflexibility of the educational structures, top-down curriculum planning and lack of adequate diversity of content. To sum up, The most important flaws of these centers include 1- executive and educational shortcomings, 2- lack of a good planning, 3- lack of interorganizational communication system, 4- environmental barriers, 5- individual and motivational problems, 6- lack of proper evaluation and 7-governmental obstacles.
Conclusion: In order to reduce damage, scholars and faculty members can develop a wide variety of materials well-suited for different branches in the field of agriculture. Additionally, more attention should be paid to practical training (in-field education) and development of a well-planed bottom-up curriculum for vocational schools. Also, establishing a memorandum of understanding and agreement between these centers and various industrial sectors in agriculture, and students’ participation in these sectors can be effective for them in gaining required skills and expertise of the field.
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