What do Australian students know about agriculture?
This is the question being posed by CQUniversity Agri-tech Education researchers' who today officially launched a national agricultural awareness survey.
Now available to primary and secondary schools' the survey aims to capture students' knowledge and understanding of the agriculture industry.
Project lead' CQUniversity Research Fellow in Agri-tech Education and Extension' Dr Amy Cosby said there was a clear need for updated data in this area.
"We all know that agriculture is a part of our everyday lives' through the food we eat and the clothes we wear and given that it's a key driver of the Australian economy'" she said.
"To ensure that the next generation is ready to support our food and fibre production' we need to engage young people early and inspire them to consider a career in the industry.
"However' without current' accurate data on their level of agricultural knowledge and learnings' we are basically working in the dark."
Dr Cosby said national survey data would be used to help inform the future of Australian agricultural education. "Results will lead to the development of new and exciting educational programs for Australian teachers and students'" she said.
"Each program will be aimed at increasing students' agricultural knowledge' awareness' and appreciation' to help inspire the next generation.
"The learnings will also highlight any gaps to support the need for future collaboration between educational institutions and agricultural industry groups."
Dr Cosby encouraged principals of Australian primary and secondary schools to nominate to have their students participate in the national survey.
"There are two versions of the survey - the first tailored to primary school students in years four to six' and the other to secondary school students in grades seven to 10'" she said.
"The survey' which will only take approximately 20 minutes to complete' is available via hard copy or online and includes a short activity explainer script that can be read out to students.
"In order to capture a representative sample of the Australian population' our hope is that the survey is completed by either a whole class or year level; however' the exact number of students is entirely up to the principal."
Schools have up until the middle of Term 3' 2021 to nominate and students have until the end of that term to complete the survey. A final report will be sent to all participating schools and made available publicly online by the end of the year.