By Hanna Joyce Macawili
(Through her interaction with the student-infomediaries of Luna National Vocational High School [LNVHS], Hanna, a BS in Development Communication student of Visayas State Unviersity realized that providing opportunities and nurturing the youth could ignite their interest for agriculture.)
Agriculture has an unfelt presence in the set of competencies offered in Senior High School. It is there, but you have to dig from one sub-choice to another.
It is alarming that the education system put little regard to the hardly-pushed advocacy of promoting agriculture to the youth. Agencies focused on agriculture have been working intensely to sell this industry to the young people knowing that their role is critical in addressing the unending demand for food. However, this seems to be pushed aside for now.
Until recently, I met the student-infomediaries of Luna National Vocational High School in La Union. In a world of inequality, the minority experience neglect and inferiority. Seeing it in a different light, I saw how the unprivileged can become special. Students on this school have a different story to tell.
“Pagka-Grade 10 namin, kukuha kami ng agriculture major (When we reach Grade 10, we will take up agriculture major),” a junior high school told me.
Wow. This sounded new to me.
Interacting with the students, I found that out of the 300 students of LNVHS, at least 10 of them are planning to take agriculture as their major. At 3%, that’s unsurprisingly small but very inspiring.
Tenth-graders here were exposed to lessons on rice and rice-based production, and are now well skilled in some farming technologies like modified dapog, aquaponics, fish culture, capillarigation, and many others. More surprisingly, they could explain these technologies in a classroom setting.
One student was so passionate about modified dapog that while he shared how his conversation with his father took place, I knew it would instantly warm the heart of any listener. He went on his story saying that his father will try the technology in the next cropping season. He is excited to see how the dapog system will help his father lower the cost of their farm production.
I also met another student who said, “Gusto ko pong kumuha ng agriculture sa kolehiyo (I want to take up agriculture course in college).”
The thing is, his family do not have land to cultivate because they live by the seaside. Nevertheless, passion for agriculture was evident in him.
Students like them restore our aspiration that the agriculture sector is bright hereafter. Our farmers are getting fewer and older, but there is hope that the young people will be present in the future to help us.
Their group may be small, but they are blessed to have the training that doesn’t only guarantee their academic expertise but also puts them in the field for practical instruction. For someone who was boxed inside the classroom her entire high school life, I am glad that these kids are experiencing such opportunity at their time today.
For these young people to be exposed in this kind of opportunity is a blessing. Not all high school students receive a kind of education that will teach them practical skills they would truly need to survive and be able to help the society. The unprivileged privileged – I didn’t know such thing exists. My faith have been restored.