SEARCA and DepEd renew long-term partnership to promote agri among Filipino learners and educators

  • By Nathan P. Felix
  • 2 August 2022, Tuesday

Philippine Department of Education (DepEd) Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del B. Pascua (seated, second from right); Dr. Lope B. Santos, DepEd-Bureau of Learner Support Services (BLSS) Director (seated, rightmost); Dr. Maria Corazon C. Dumlao, DepEd-BLSS-School Health Division Chief Health Program Officer (standing, center); and DepEd-BLSS-School Sports Division (SSD) Chief Education Program Specialist, Cesar S. Abalon (standing, leftmost) with the SEARCA delegation composed of Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, SEARCA Director (seated, second from left); Assoc. Prof. Joselito G. Florendo, SEARCA Deputy Director for Administration (seated, leftmost); Ms. Ma. Victoria D. Bravo, Executive Assistant, Office of the Deputy Director for Programs (standing, rightmost); Mr. Nathan P. Felix, Senior Associate, Public Relations (standing, second from left); and Ms. Katerina M. Vargas, Senior Associate, Events and Visitors (standing, second from right).Philippine Department of Education (DepEd) Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del B. Pascua (seated, second from right); Dr. Lope B. Santos, DepEd-Bureau of Learner Support Services (BLSS) Director (seated, rightmost); Dr. Maria Corazon C. Dumlao, DepEd-BLSS-School Health Division Chief Health Program Officer (standing, center); and DepEd-BLSS-School Sports Division (SSD) Chief Education Program Specialist, Cesar S. Abalon (standing, leftmost) with the SEARCA delegation composed of Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, SEARCA Director (seated, second from left); Assoc. Prof. Joselito G. Florendo, SEARCA Deputy Director for Administration (seated, leftmost); Ms. Ma. Victoria D. Bravo, Executive Assistant, Office of the Deputy Director for Programs (standing, rightmost); Mr. Nathan P. Felix, Senior Associate, Public Relations (standing, second from left); and Ms. Katerina M. Vargas, Senior Associate, Events and Visitors (standing, second from right).

The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) and the Philippine Department of Education (DepEd) have renewed their partnership to collaborate on a number of activities including joint research, capacity building activities, and knowledge and information exchange that shall benefit both learners and educators in the Philippines.

The two parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for institutional cooperation during the Strategic Planning Workshop of the DepEd-Bureau of Learner Support Services (BLSS) held on 29 June 2022 in Tanza, Cavite, Philippines.

“We acknowledge the important role of DepEd in the country in promoting agriculture among the Filipino youth,” Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, SEARCA Director, said during the ceremonial signing.

Graduate-level researches integrated into the curriculum of basic education was the call to action of former DepEd Secretary Leonor M. Briones during a virtual event commemorating the 55th anniversary of SEARCA.

“I have expressed interest in translating the results of research and findings of our own scientists such that of SEARCA and use them for basic education and for lessons that our children can learn sciences, arts, and the wonders and beauty of our environment,” said Dr. Briones.

“Aligned with DepEd’s mandate as a leader in curriculum and instruction, SEARCA prioritizes youth engagement in agricultural and rural development (ARD) as one of its seven priority areas geared to accelerate transformation through agricultural innovation. Thank you for your endless support to SEARCA in pursuit of our mission to uplift the lives of farming families and communities,” Dr. Gregorio said.

DepEd Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del B. Pascua said SEARCA and DepEd “have one common purpose – we want to develop and promote agriculture inside DepEd, and when I say inside DepEd, we hope to conduct a training for teachers and administrative personnel to teach the basics of agriculture and utilize school sites as social laboratories for implementation of agriculture projects and hands-on activities.”

Dr. Gregorio affirmed that DepEd’s cooperation with SEARCA is a crucial step to maximize school and human resources as well as expand networks and mutually shared capacities.

As part of the renewal of partnership, SEARCA and DepEd are working to revitalize and scale up the School-plus-Home Gardens Project (S+HGP), a SEARCA initiative that complements DepEd's Gulayan sa Paaralan (GPP) program.

On 21 July 2022, SEARCA conducted a training-workshop on vegetable production for teachers and local government units (LGU) staff in Busuanga, Palawan, Philippines. Forty-four school heads, GPP coordinators, and agricultural extension workers from the region were trained by experts from Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI), one of SEARCA’s partners, to enhance crop production and vegetable gardening activities to address food and nutrition insecurity and poverty in rural areas. The undertaking is a partnership among SEARCA, DepEd, Kansas State University, Salvacion National High School, and Regalo ng Kilit Foundation.

Signatories to the agreement were Dr. Gregorio and Sec. Briones with Assoc. Prof. Joselito G. Florendo, SEARCA Deputy Director for Administration, and USec. Alain Del B. Pascua as witnesses.

The SEARCA Staff who joined Dr. Gregorio and Assoc. Prof. Florendo in the signing ceremony were Ms. Ma. Victoria D. Bravo, Executive Assistant, Office of the Deputy Director for Programs; Mr. Nathan P. Felix, Senior Associate, Public Relations; and Ms. Katerina M. Vargas, Senior Associate, Events and Visitors.