The Tempus IV project “Western Balkan Rural Extension Network through Curriculum Reform” will address the deficiency and need for rural development curriculum reform in the Western Balkan region through the training, development, and implementation of rural development programs following 2 streams: formal and non-formal rural development education.

Within the framework of these two streams, the following objectives of the project have been established:
1) To develop and improve the competencies of current non-formal education professionals, who will work alongside EU experts to create and deliver non-formal, modular based trainings to stakeholders in rural development.
2) To introduce an interdisciplinary, ECTS compliant Certificate in Rural Development (CRD) program at lead Western Balkan Higher Education Institutions (State University of Tetovo, University of Novi Sad, University of Banja Luka, and Agriculture University of Tirana).
3) To establish Center for Rural Extension (CRE) at lead Western Balkan Higher Education Institutions which support CRD program and non formal education activities.
4) To increase regional cooperation in rural development and extension / outreach within the Western Balkan Rural Extension Network.

The WBREN consortium will achieve these ambitious objectives by engaging leading acadmics, researchers, and practicers from the European Union and Western Balkan region (specifically, Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, FYROM, and Serbia). Over the 3 year project period, the proposed consortium will be host to several intensive trainings and development workshops, with special focus on developing the capacities of current formal and non formal education providers.

The final outputs of developing the capacities within these two streams will be the creation of the Certificate in Rural Development (formal education) and modular based rural development training programs (to be delivered through non formal education channels).

Ultimately, the synergies generated through these intensive and cooperative trainings will lead to a strengthened rural development network within the Western Balkan region. In this way, higher education institutions in the Western Balkan region can become the foundation from which sound and meaningful rural development policies shape the progress of its rural communities.

Various activities and trainings will take place in the EU, including the UK, the Netherlands, and Finland, respectively. Training and development activities in the Western Balkan region will take place at lead Universities in each country (Agriculture University of Tirana – Albania; University of Banja Luka – Bosnia & Herzegovina; State University of Tetovo – fYROM; University of Novi Sad – Serbia).