Five Higher Education Institutions (HEI) offering Forestry education in South Africa have joined three European universities in a project entitled Forest21. This funded Forest21 Project aims to advance the quality of education in the field of Forestry Entrepreneurship through problem-based learning. 

The €1 Million project, funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union entitled ‘21st Century Climate-Smart Forestry Education for Livelihood and Sustainability in South Africa’, is a collaborative project that will strengthen the capacity of forestry entrepreneurship in South African higher education. 

Through curricula reformation in Forestry Education, students will be equipped with entrepreneurial skills and a deeper understanding of climate-smart approach to Forestry. The University of Venda (UNIVEN) is among the five South African Higher Education Institutions that are participating in the FOREST21 project. 

Forestry discipline is strategically positioned to address unemployment, as well as to mitigate global climate change. Young Forestry Entrepreneurs hold enormous potential to address these challenges through the development of products and processing of forestry resources. Through FOREST21 project, Forestry Education will be reformed to meet the needs in the industry, and climate-smart Forestry will be emphasised. 

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 Forestry industry. 

“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 on forestry entrepreneurship and climate change is exactly what the country needs right now.” 

Other South African participating universities are Nelson Mandela University, Stellenbosch University, Fort Cox Agriculture and Forestry Institute and Tshwane University of Technology. Dr Eija Laitinen who is the Project manager and Principal Research Scientist at the Bio Economy Research Unit at Häme University of Applied Sciences in Finland said that the forestry industry in South Africa is strongly committed to this project. “In addition to curricula reformations, collaboration between the industry and education will be strengthened.” 

FOREST21 is a collaborative project funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union with a budget of approximately one million euros for a period of three years (2021–2024). UNIVEN’s Prof Peter Adesoye who is the Head of Forestry Department highlighted that FOREST21 project is timely because UNIVEN’s Forestry Department is in a transition phase from BSc Agriculture (Forestry) into BSc Forestry. 

For more information, please contact the Head of Forestry Department, Prof Peter Adesoye on 081 065 8270/015 962 8372 or email to 

Issued by: Dr Takalani Dzaga, APR 

Director Marketing, Branding and Communication 

University of Venda 
Tel: 015 062 8112/8525 or 082 745 3090 

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