PASIG CITY, September 5, 2019 – Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones and Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) Director Glenn Gregorio conferred on August 28 to discuss partnership in promoting agriculture among learners.

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 — offering graduate scholarships in agriculture and allied degrees, short courses on agribusiness and agri-entrepreneurial mindset and education, and 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.

Meanwhile, the Education chief expressed interest in the proposed convergence of SEARCA and DepEd programs towards renewed interest in agriculture among the learners.

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

She also cited that they will explore urban-based gardening for schools in urban areas like gardening in rooftops and pots: “Make agriculture sexy like grafting.  That is very interesting, kasi may implication ng science iyanHindi ka lang nagtatanim at gumagawa ng organic fertilizers.”

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 need to be intensified.

The DepEd chief urged SEARCA to share their research in small scale to the learners and integrate with DepEd’s K to 12 program through faculty development to update teachers’ learning.

Also present in the 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.