The idea for EDUECO project is developed to meet the expected increase of consumer demands on food produced on ecological principles through improved teaching at non-university educational institutes.

This project is addressing the 'Europe 2020' program priorities, it is addressing especially the 'Smart growth' (develop educational systems), 'Sustainable growth' (ecological food production) and 'Inclusive growth' (develop strong connection between job market demands and education).

The implementation of Bolonga process is further elaborated, with specific focus on the Lifelong Learning program. Within the EDUECO project many deliverables will help the universities to develop their life-long-learning programs, as well as for teachers of non-university schools as for other specialists.

In Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro the agricultural production is of very big importance in the national and rural economy, and has a good development potential. But the competitiveness of present agricultural companies has to improve. Because European markets will be more open for these countries, internal markets will develop themselves quickly. Sustainable agricultural entrepreneurship will only develop itself if integrated in modernised economic setting, integrating social innovations, and ecological sustainable innovative production methods. Ecological approaches in farming methods, addressing the issues related to soil, water and air quality protection, are nowadays very important. Protection of ecosystems on small scale as well as on global scale demand for farming methods respecting natural resources and minimizing negative ecological tradeoffs.

Due to the increasing awareness of this problem by consumes, food production respecting ecological principles is becoming more and more profitable. Due to the high quality of natural resources in the Balkan area development of ecological produced food has a high potential in the region.

In Serbia organic production is not sufficiently developed but in the last period was encouraged by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry. There is now growing interest in this form of agricultural production. In order to spread organic farming in Serbia education in this field to qualified secondary agricultural schools is necessary, to transfer their knowledge to students who represent the future of organic farming.

Also through the courses local farmers have to find more about the principles of organic agriculture in order to be trained for this type of production, due to expanding markets of organic products.

Within Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro several universities have already strengthened their capacities from which ecological food production benefits. A weak spot in this development of capacities are non-university educational institutions. The partner universities in the EDUECO consortium have ambitions to support these schools. In the end teachers from these schools have to implement in their vocational training programs knowledge from ongoing regional or national activities and activities on scientific and professional level in the European Union as well. This is impossible without a strong and effective network.

To get a sustainable development of a structure which provides necessary integration the actors in this specific knowledge chain have to co-operate actively. For that reason the partners in the EDUECO project consortium are active players in the development of this structure on different levels: research, higher education, vocational education, and support of farming and non-farming activities in the ecological food production chain.

To make a good contribution the EDUECO is focusing on the following specific objectives:
-    Capacity building and professional network development among Western Balkan universities in the field of ecological food production and management
-    Development and implementation of vocational training programs in ecological food production and management for teachers of secondary agricultural school
-    Development of vocational training programs for end-users (i.e. producers and entrepreneurs of organic food) by university teachers, non-university teachers and teachers/trainers from related NGO's.

The main direct target group of this project are secondary agricultural schools and so called high schools or colleges in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. In preparation of this project proposal the consortium has executed a needs analysis amongst these schools.

In Serbia twelve out of the 52 agricultural schools stated they are interested to get new knowledge on ecological food production and management, and will implement this in development of their new program in future. These schools have in total approx 600 teachers and 6000 pupils.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina six agricultural schools, have already stated to be interested in implementing the project outcomes, representing 70 teachers and 1500 pupils.

Quality of the partnership

The consortium consists of 5 universities from the partner countries (2 in Serbia, 2 in Bosnia and Herzegovina and 1 in Montenegro), 4 EU universities, 1 EU research institute, 6 non-university agricultural schools spread over the three countries and 1 NGO with large experience in business networking in ecological agriculture.

The project's content

To reach this the EDUECO project has a seven pillars in seven working packages:
WP1: University staff development
WP2: Teacher Training program
WP3: Vocational training modules development
WP4: Network organisation
WP5: Dissemination of results
WP6: Quality Management
WP7: Project Management

Dissemination and sustainabiiity

Dissemination of developed project results and creating awareness for the project activities will be through three events throughout the project cycle and through a website.

The first event will be the opening conference in Novi Sad, Serbia, in which the project is presented. After one year of project activities the second event is organized in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in which the project outcomes and implementation plans for the second part of the project will be presented. The final conference will be in Podgorica, Montenegro, in which the project outcomes are presented. At all three conferences a presentation of local partners and stakeholders in the professional field will be organized: schools, NGO's, companies, governmental bodies involved in the sector.