BASC officials visit SEARCA

Bulacan Agricultural State College (BASC) officials recently visited Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) to learn more about the programs of this intergovernmental treaty organization.

SEARCA, which is headquartered on the campus of the University of the Philippines Los Baños, is a non-profit organization established by its mother organization Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) in 1966.

Led by BASC President Dr. Jameson Tan, the delegation paid a courtesy call to SEARCA Director Dr. Glenn Gregorio, during their visit to Los Baños, Laguna and were received by Gregorio together with other SEARCA officials.

They were Assoc. Prof. Ts. Dr. Nur Azura Binti Adam, SEARCA Deputy Director for Programs; Assoc. Prof. Joselito Florendo, SEARCA Deputy Director for Administration; Dr. Maria Cristeta Cuaresma, Senior Program Head, Education and Collective Learning Department (ECLD); Dr. Nova Ramos, Head, ECLD-Training for Development Unit (T4DU); Sharon Malaiba, Head, Partnerships Unit; and Beatrisa Martinez, Executive Coordinator, Office of the Director.

BASC is the lone higher agricultural educational institution in Bulacan province. It was established in 1952 and offers degree programs in agriculture and its allied fields.

Earlier in March 2021, SEARCA and BASC signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop and engage educators in agricultural research and extension activities.

During their visit, the BASC delegation was briefed by the ELCD on the core programs of SEARCA with Cuaresma and Ramos providing information materials and an overview of the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd)-funded Leveling-Up Philippine Higher Education Institutions in Agriculture, Fisheries, and Natural Resources (LevelUPHEI AFAR) project.

Gregorio said three of the offerings in the first phase of the LevelUPHEI AFAR project were participated by five faculty members of BASC.

In a related development, Gregorio said SEARCA aligns with other global, regional and national organizations toward contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that address global challenges to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.

He said the center also commits to contribute and allocate resources toward the achievement of five SDGs that directly align with its mandate and focus, with greater emphasis on creating partnerships.

Gregorio added that SEARCA's 10th five-year plan (FYP) has directed the center to move away from a "business-as-usual" strategy as it no longer suffices in coping with the increasing complexities, uncertainties and nonlinearities of its constantly changing environment.

He said the "new normal" conditions in Southeast Asia compel SEARCA and all of its key partners to initiate anew a paradigm shift toward accelerating transformation through agricultural innovation or Attain in its 11th FYP.