BARANGAY Alangilan is considered the “vegetable bowl” in Bacolod City, thus the creation of the Alangilan Farm School is a huge development to the village and its people, said OIC-Principal Veneranda Ortoño.
"This is a good program for Barangay Alangilan since we are known as the 'vegetable bowl' of the city. However, because of technology, children nowadays have lost their love for agriculture. Thus, this DepEd program will restore the love for farming by this generation and ensure food to every table," she stressed.
Although the farm school program is quite new, Ortoño said there are already a number of interested students who wanted to be part of it.
"Many of our students' families have farmlands, while others are children of Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp) beneficiaries thus, this farm school is a huge help for them wherein they will be provided with additional knowledge in agriculture as well as to be introduced to new technology and skills," Ortoño added.
Given that the farm school program is quite different from a regular education setup, Ortoño said that for the time being, their regular teachers will be utilized for this program while no item yet for new teachers.
"That's why, we have asked our local government unit to give us farm tutors to focus on our students' hands-on or the practical aspect of the curriculum," she added.
Meanwhile, Alangilan Farm School offers organic agriculture, native swine production, native chicken growing, organic vegetable growing, and vermicomposting.
"We already have 50 students divided into 2 sections. Although many parents wanted to enroll their children, we only limit the number," she added.
Bacolod City Division assisting farm schools
For Schools Division of Bacolod City OIC-Superintendent Gladys Amylaine Sales, CESO VI, the farm school is the brainchild of Regional Director Dr. Ramir Barberan Uytico, CESO IV, wherein it will provide actual performance tasks for all students especially in Alangilan and Sum-ag Farm Schools for food security.
"This is in response to hunger and shortage of food. The farm schools will ensure food production, and continuous supply of food from garden or farm to table," she said.
"We would like to ensure that our students will learn how to farm, perform gardening, and grow vegetables correctly, as well as how to raise livestock and poultry, and fish," Sales added.
But, how will DepEd benefit from this program?
"We at DepEd, we teach life's skills and not only theories or learning competencies -- something they can use in real life," Sales explained. "This is also a great help for the community and will respond to the sustainable development goals, poverty, hunger, and food security," she said.
Sales also lamented that when the child is already equipped with knowledge on how to grow crops, it will surely contribute to the city's needs as well as to earn income.
"This will not only resolve hunger but, also unemployment. Further, since we have now online selling, restaurants can purchase vegetable products from them," she added.
"And, in order to assist the farm schools' curriculum, our school heads, teachers together with our Curriculum and Instruction Development headed by Dr. Janalyn Navarro, and OIC-Division Education Program Supervisor Lorelee Asignacion who worked together with the guidance for the Regional Office to ensure that the curriculum will be put in place," Sales said.
"But, this is a work in progress because we don't foresee this farm school to remain traditional since we have partners where technology will be integrated. I'm looking forward to a technology-driven farm school," she added.
“All to our learners, if you enroll in farm schools, you will get more opportunities for learning. It doesn't mean that when you are a farmer or agriculturist, you will like that for life. Farm school will help you become environmentally prepared to produce crops, or raise livestock to sustain your life,” she said.
Meanwhile, Sales stressed that the tablets are the division's assistance to the learners in making distance learning easier since there is no face-to-face yet.
"Please make use of your gadgets to learn the lessons and subjects in your far schools, and take care of them until you graduate," she said. "For the parents, please help your children. Guide them, give them support and inspiration," Sales added.
Bacolod City Government, on the other hand, also allocated P1 million each to support these farm schools.