Reforming forestry entrepreneurship education in South Africa

Updated: Mar 12

Through curricula reformation in forestry education, students will be equipped with entrepreneurial skills and have a deeper understanding of climate-smart forestry. All South African higher education institutions with forestry curricula are participating the project FOREST21.


Forest scenery in South Africa
©Forestry South Africa

Forestry is in a critical position in increasing local employment as well as in mitigating global climate change. Young entrepreneurs have enormous potential for addressing these challenges through developing the production and processing of forestry resources. In the newly launched project FOREST21, forestry education will be reformed to meet the needs in the industry, and climate-smart forestry will be emphasised in all phases of education and working life.


Entrepreneurship education and problem-based learning methods will be developed together with the teaching staff and managerial staff. Students will learn practical skills through solving real-life challenges in real companies.


“All higher education institutions that teach forestry in South Africa are involved in this project. The local forestry industry is strongly committed to the project. In addition to curricula reformations, collaboration between the industry and education will be strengthened”, says Dr Eija Laitinen, project manager and Principal Research Scientist at the bioeconomy research unit at Häme University of Applied Sciences, Finland.


“FOREST21 provides a unique opportunity for the forestry sector to work closely with all forestry HEIs in South Africa and partner with HEIs in Finland and Norway”, says Norman Dlamini, Director of Business Development at Forestry South Africa. “The project supports the key efforts of the country in dealing with the triple ills of unemployment, poverty and inequality. It also improves the country’s efforts towards the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change. The emphasis of on forestry entrepreneurship and climate change is exactly what the country needs right now.”


Students of all partner institutions will be able to participate in field projects together with South African students starting from the fall of 2021.


FOREST21 is a project funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union with a budget of approximately 1 MEUR for 2021–2024.