FARM SCHOOL. Department of Education Western Visayas Regional Director Dr. Ramir B. Uytico (4th from left) visits the Jayobo Farm School at the Jayobo National High School in Lambunao, Iloilo on Dec. 3, 2022. DepEd Western Visayas takes pride in having pioneered the implementation of the DepEd-run farm schools in the country. (Photo from Ramir B. Uytico FB page)

ILOILO CITY – Twenty-six farm schools in Western Visayas under the Department of Education (DepEd) have introduced the concept of agricultural productivity, rural development and self-sufficiency to 3,827 Grades 7 and 8 learners.

DepEd Western Visayas is the only region in the country carrying out farm school program as part of its K to 12 Basic Education Program since 2021, a brainchild of Regional Director Dr. Ramir B. Uytico under Republic Act 10618 or the Rural Farm Schools Act and complemented by the Home Gardening Program that also started in the same year.

“I am not an Agriculture major. But I was thinking during the pandemic, only those who have food on the table are not so affected,” Uytico said during the gathering of DepEd division-level information officers where he urged them to help spread the significance of the program on Tuesday.

DepEd regional information officer Hernani Escullar Jr., in a follow-up interview, said all 26 schools have their share of successes in the implementation of the farm school.

Bacolod City has two farm schools, three each in Iloilo and Capiz provinces, one each in Iloilo City, Aklan, Antique and Guimaras, and 14 in Negros Occidental.

DepEd data showed that 1,962 learners are currently enrolled in grade 7 while 1,865 are in Grade 8.

DepEd partnered with the Department of Agriculture and its attached agencies for the provision of seeds, garden and fishery tools and equipment, and technical assistance.
The farm school curriculum is integrated into all subjects aligned with agriculture.

Soon, another farm school will also open in the newly created schools division office in Victorias City Division in Negros Occidental. (PNA)