DepEd Honors SEARCA for Pioneering School-Plus-Home Gardens Program, Enhancing Education

  • 6 March 2024
  • Source/s: BNN

SEARCA's involvement in the School-Plus-Home Gardens Program spotlights its vital role in enhancing educational and sustainability efforts in the Philippines.

The Department of Education (DepEd) recently spotlighted the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) for its pivotal role in the School-Plus-Home Gardens Program (S+HGP). This recognition occurred during the DepEd Partners' Appreciation and Recognition event at the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) Financial Center, attended by over 170 stakeholders from various sectors. SEARCA's noteworthy contribution has been instrumental in bolstering DepEd's mission to deliver superior basic education across the Philippines.

Unveiling the Impact of S+HGP

The S+HGP, initially launched in Laguna province, has been an innovative approach to using school gardens as dynamic learning platforms, thereby enriching students' nutritional, educational, and economic standing. SEARCA Center Director Glenn Gregorio highlighted how the program not only promoted climate-smart agriculture practices but also tied these concepts back to the curriculum for Grade 4 and 7 students. This initiative aims to cultivate sustainable food security strategies amid escalating climate change challenges.

Expanding Horizons

Following its successful pilot, the S+HGP model was adopted by over a hundred schools, spreading its influence across elementary and secondary educational institutions. SEARCA, in collaboration with DepEd, further expanded the program's reach to Rizal province and Busuanga, Palawan, infusing elements of entrepreneurship and biodiversity enhancement. These expansions were complemented by blended training programs for educators, emphasizing the establishment of school and home gardens and the integration of agriculture and food concepts into school curricula.

Commendations and Future Directions

In her address, Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte expressed her gratitude towards DepEd's partners, including SEARCA, for their unwavering support and contributions towards enriching Philippine basic education. She encouraged continued investment in the aspirations of Filipino children, who are the future workforce and developers of the nation. Gregorio's acceptance of the appreciation plaque symbolizes the fruitful partnership between SEARCA and DepEd, promising ongoing collaboration towards educational advancement and sustainability.

This recognition of SEARCA by DepEd underscores the importance of innovative educational programs like the S+HGP in addressing contemporary challenges. It also highlights the critical role of partnerships in achieving educational goals and fostering sustainable development. As SEARCA continues to work alongside DepEd, the success of the S+HGP serves as a beacon for similar initiatives, aiming to empower the next generation with knowledge, skills, and attitudes towards sustainable living and environmental stewardship.