This year marks the fifth year of the “Rural up!” project which was implemented by the Council of Agriculture (COA). It aims to attract universities and colleges to transform rural areas in Taiwan with creativity and action. Recently this project was even nominated for the Reimagine Education Award jointly organized by QS Quacquarelli Symonds, in partnership with the Wharton School SEI Center of the University of Pennsylvania, during which it would be presented to international professionals dedicated to higher education development in the world at the Reimagine Education 2015 Conference from December 7 to 9.
The COA stated that agricultural industry requires the involvement of talents from various fields of expertise in order to enhance the awareness of agricultural value and improve the production, living standard as well as functional ecology in rural areas. Since the commencement of the project "Rural up!" in 2011, it has attracted 80 teams consisted of interdisciplinary college students from different schools to participate. It is estimated that over 60% of the universities in Taiwan had participated at least once in this activity. The project enabled higher-education institutions to participate, observe, and collaborate with farmers to improve the status quo in rural areas by means of knowledge from different fields.
The COA further explained that the reason why "Rural Up!" project led by Soil and Water Conservation Bureau, COA could be nominated from over 500 competitors in the Reimagine Education Award was because of its uniqueness. Different from school-oriented teaching methods, the project fosters cooperation between public sector, schools, rural communities, and students. Through this innovative method, students' creativity and specialty are no longer just some school papers but are ideas that can actually influence the productivity of rural communities. Moreover, what the students gain from the experience was not merely academic scores, but a sense of accomplishment and sincere gratitude from local community. This international competition has also illustrated the full collaboration among students, teachers and government branches. All works and materials required for the competition were prepared by the students, teachers, and public servants themselves which reflects the true spirit of the project.
The COA reiterated that the nomination for Reimagine Education Award was not only the pride of the Council but also a great opportunity for the world to witness the innovative prowess of Taiwan's rural communities and students as the project is scheduled to be presented during the Reimagine Education 2015 Conference at the Wharton School in December.