More agricultural concepts, studies eyed under K to 12 program

The Department of Education (DepEd) is eyeing to integrate more agricultural concepts in the K to 12 curriculum to further enhance the learners’ interest in agriculture.

“Agriculture is one of the main recommended fields for our students,” said Education Secretary Leonor Briones. “We are primarily an agricultural country and we want to enhance interest in agriculture,” she added.

Briones and Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) Director Glenn Gregorio recently met to discuss possible partnership in promoting agriculture among learners.

During the meeting, Gregorio presented SEARCA’s programs that may be linked to DepEd’s K to 12 curriculum – particularly in agriculture under the Technical-Vocational track.

The programs include faculty development such as offering graduate scholarships in agriculture and allied degrees, short courses on agribusiness and agri-entrepreneurial mindset and education as well as continuing education and professional licensure exams review services.

In its curriculum development plan, SEARCA shall improve and localize components in teachers’ learning support materials and embed upgraded agribusiness context and examples in the K to 12 curriculum.

SEARCA’s School + Home Gardens Program (SHGP) are likewise complementary with DepEd’s Gulayan sa Paaralan (GP) and the School Inside a Garden (SIGA) programs.

Briones expressed interest in the proposed convergence of SEARCA and DepEd programs towards renewed interest in agriculture among the learners. She also cited that they will “explore urban-based gardening” for schools in urban areas like gardening in rooftops and pots. “Making agriculture sexy like grafting – that is very interesting because it has implication of science and it’s not just about planning or making of organic fertilizers,” she added.

Meanwhile, Briones further shared that there are schools with little farms and even tilapia farms, depending on the size of the school sites. However, she reiterated that “urban gardening needs to be intensified.”

Aside from Briones and Gregorio, also present during the said meeting were OIC-Assistant Secretary for Curriculum and Instruction Alma Ruby Torio, SEARCA Graduate Education and Institutional Development Program Head Maria Cristeta Cuaresma and Researcher Sonny Pasiona, and International Cooperation Office (ICO) Project Development Officer Farida Bianca Velicaria.

Likewise, Briones also urged SEARCA to “share their research in small scale” not only to the learners by integrating with DepEd’s K to 12 program but also through faculty development to update teachers’ learning on agriculture.