——Declaration on the Development of Emerging Agricultural Education in China
On June 28, 2019, more than 100 secretaries of the party committees and presidents from agricultural universities across China as well as agricultural and forestry education experts gathered in Yu village, Anji County, Zhejiang province, the birthplace of the Concept of "lucid waters and lush mountains being invaluable assets“, to discuss the development of China's higher agricultural and forestry education in the new era and jointly issued the Anji Consensus-Declaration on the Development of Emerging Agricultural Education in China.
New Era and New Missions Demand Innovative Development of Higher Agricultural and Forestry Education
Without agricultural and rural modernization, there would be no modernization of the whole country. The new era has given rise to unprecedented missions for China’s higher agricultural and forestry education, which must fulfill its share of the heavy responsibilities of winning the tough battle against poverty, implementing rural revitalization strategies and promoting eco-civilization. In building a beautiful and blissful China, higher agricultural and forestry education can make huge contributions. In the face of the emerging needs from agricultural upgrading, rural progress and farmers’ development in an all-round way, the emerging needs from a new wave of global scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation, and the emerging needs from deep-seated problems and austere challenges in the development of agricultural and forestry education, we must reform with a sense of mission, urgency and determination to speed up the development of higher education in agriculture. More contributions are expected in food security, rural governance and cultural construction, people’s nutrition and health and the harmonious symbiosis between man and nature. Focus will be put on cultivating leaders of agricultural modernization, leaders of rural revitalization and builders of a beautiful China. In doing so, we are committed to make historic contributions in building a beautiful and blissful China where people enjoy clear sky, blue mountains, clean water, safe food and a peaceful life.
New Agriculture, New Countryside, New Farmers and New Ecology Demand Emerging Agricultural Education
For the new agriculture. New agriculture is an assurance of national food security, an integration of the primary, secondary, and tertiary industries in rural areas and an industry of green development. Emerging agricultural education should focus on promoting transformation and upgrading of the systems for agricultural industry, agricultural production and agricultural management, optimizing disciplinary structure of agriculture studies, reshaping agricultural education chain, expanding agricultural industry chain and upgrading agricultural value chain so as to propel China's leap from a large agricultural country to a strong agricultural country.
For a new countryside. A new countryside is not only the place of agricultural production, but also the place of industrial prosperity and ecological livability. Emerging agricultural education should be devoted to promoting the development of rural industries, serving urban-rural integration and rural governance as well as radiating talents, brain power and scientific and technological resources from universities to vast rural areas so as to make the rural areas a beautiful home to live and work in peace and contentment.
For new farmers. New farmers are not only producers of healthy food and raw materials, but also operators of modern industries and guardians of the beautiful countryside. Emerging agriculture education should undertake the responsibility of supporting the development of emerging agricultural business entities, integrating modern science and technology with management knowledge and cultivating new professional farmers so as to boost talent development for rural development.
For a new ecology. A new ecology is not only a community with a shared future in which man and nature coexist harmoniously, but also a new productive force for economic and social development. Emerging agricultural education should be committed to the system governance of mountains, rivers, forests, fields, lakes and grasses and the practice of the Concept of “lucid waters and lush mountains being invaluable assets" so as to speed up China’s ecological development and the building of “A Beautiful China”.
Launch Quality Revolution of Higher Agricultural and Forestry Education with Deep Roots in China
To chart a new course for reform and development. Work must be done to create a new pattern of agricultural and forestry education, to follow the path of integrated development, to break the inherent disciplinary boundaries and previous professional barriers and to promote the in-depth integration and innovative development of agriculture and engineering studies, agriculture and science studies, agriculture and medicine studies, as well as agriculture and liberal arts studies. Comprehensive universities should give full play to their comprehensive disciplinary advantages to support the development of agriculture-related majors. Agricultural and forestry universities should focus on the coordinated development of multiple disciplines featuring agricultural and forestry studies. In view of diversified needs，we must pursue differentiated development paths to contribute to our country’s food security, green agricultural production and ecological sustainable development. We should build a flexible education system and a scientific evaluation system and transform our talent cultivation from homogeneity to diversification to gradually switch to a multi-type and multi-level development mode. We will explore a "revolving door” model, which means concerted industry-teaching-research co-operations in running schools, in talent cultivation and in employment opportunities. We will also promote "one school, one institute" alliance and establish cooperative education bases for agricultural education and research in each province so that talent development conforms to what is required in industrial chains, and educational and scientific research resources can be closely integrated. It is our responsibility to gather talents and scientific and technological services from national agricultural universities to contribute in poverty alleviation for rural revitalization and provide a powerful impetus for the development of modern agriculture, a new countryside, new farmers and a new ecology in the new era.
To cultivate outstanding agricultural and forestry talents. Work must be done to create a new mode and implement an upgraded plan for cultivating outstanding agricultural and forestry personnel. To meet the needs for agricultural innovation, we should enhance students' innovation awareness and their innovative and research abilities with the aim of cultivating international talents with innovative abilities. To meet the needs for an integrated development of the primary, second and service industries in rural areas, we should improve students' comprehensive practical ability with the aim of incubating high talents with multi-disciplinary background. To meet the requirements for modern professional farmers, we should improve students' production skills and management ability with the aim of training leading farmers and cultivating practical and skilled talents who enjoy working in rural areas, have an ardent love for agriculture, master professional techniques and are good at management. We are obliged to encourage young students to make contributions in the vast agricultural and rural areas and inject a steady stream of youthful strength into the rural revitalization and ecological civilization.
To set new standards for agricultural and forestry education. New standards for the quality of agricultural and forestry education must be established. First, we will work on "Gold Majors" project according to the development of agriculture and forestry industries, multi-dimensional ecological services for life and work as well as emerging cross-border development in technologies. During the process, we should optimize the addition of new majors with a focus on the ones promoting the development of new industries and new business forms such as intelligent agriculture, leisure agriculture, pension industry in areas with high forest coverage, as well as ecological restoration; we should also adjust the number of current majors, that is to say, improve our current agriculture-related majors by incorporating modern technologies such as biotechnology, information technology and engineering technology into curricula, thus we can speed up the supply-side reform of agricultural and forestry majors. Second, we will also work on "Gold Courses" project based on the actual issues, the industrial cases and the frontier in agriculture and forestry. It is significant to develop quality courses of agriculture and forestry studies for the new era, develop teaching methods that center on student development and integrate education with information technology to make our courses more advanced, innovative and challenging. Third, we must implement "Highlands" project, which refers to the building of practice teaching platforms with collaborations between the practice bases on campus and those outside school. We will jointly construct shared practice teaching bases at regional levels, so that agricultural and forestry education practices can “walk down the blackboard”, “out of the classroom” and “into the mountains, rivers, forests, fields, lakes and grasses” to make up for our weakness in agricultural and forestry education practices. In summary, we undertake to develop a number of first-class agriculture and forestry majors, courses and practice bases, and devote ourselves to building a reputation of "quality China" in higher agricultural and forestry education.
Contribute Chinese Wisdom to the World Development of Higher Agricultural and Forestry Education
As President Xi advocates, we must stay true to our original aspirations and keep our missions firmly in mind. We have a strong determination to provide a higher agricultural and forestry education that is of high quality, and devote all efforts to making contributions to agricultural and rural modernization and the great rejuvenation of China, a solemn and sacred mission shouldered by China's higher education in the new era. As a world agricultural power, the world’s largest developing country and the world’s largest provider of higher education, China's higher agricultural and forestry education can contribute China's wisdom and provide Chinese solutions to global food security, agricultural and rural development as well as ecological sustainable development. We believe our education will play a role in building a global community of a shared future for mankind and in building a beautiful global village. These are not only our responsibilities but our aspirations.
To make China stronger, our agriculture should be strong; To make China more beautiful, our countryside should be beautiful; To make China more well-off, our farmers should be well-off; To realize modernization in China, agriculture and rural areas must be modernized.
For the developmnet of China’s emerging agricultural education, let’s hit the road from Anji!