From: Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
The Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) has introduced School-to-farm Programme in basic education to inculcate practical agricultural skills among learners in primary and junior secondary schools.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Dr Hamid Bobboyi made this known at the opening of a three-day workshop on the implementation framework of the programme held in Kaduna yesterday .
Participants at the workshop includes: UBEC management and directors and desk officers in State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) in-charge of agriculture in basic education schools.
Bobboyi, who was represented by the Director, Administration and Supplies, Rev. Edwin Jarumai, added that the programme would prepare the learners for a life-long learning in line with UBEC mandate.
He noted that over the years, the teaching of agriculture as a subject had been mainly theoretical and less practical.
According to him, theoretical-based teaching of the subject leaves most learners ignorant of what some of the agro-products looks like, with no idea how they are planted, harvested, processed or stored.
“In view of this, UBEC has approved 2.0 per cent of the Universal Basic Education Grant for the school-to-farm programme to make agricultural science more practical and hands-on at basic education level.
“The objective is to provide learners with requisite skills to stimulate self-employment, equip them with functional entrepreneurship and life skills, promote dignity of labour and self-esteem and exposed them to biological process of agriculture.”
The executive secretary said that the learners would be exposed to cultivation of farm produce like maize, cassava, yam, guinea corn, and vegetables, as well as livestock like poultry, rabbit, snail and fisheries.
He added that the programme would equally build the capacity of teachers and the community members who would be part of the implementation of the programme.
He explained that objective of the workshop was to familiarise the participants with the approved guidelines and build their capacity on the implementation of the programme.
“It is also designed to develop instruments for monitoring, share experience and adopt best practices.
“It is expected that at the end of the workshop, participants will come up with mechanism that will ensure sustainability of the programme in different geographical zones of the country,” he said.
Earlier, the Director Academic Services, UBEC, Malam Wadata Madawaki, said that the programme, if successfully implemented, would boost agricultural production in the country.
Madawaki called on all stakeholders to support the commission in ensuring the success of the programme.
Also, the commission’s Director, Social Mobilisation, Malam Bello Kagara, said that the programme would enable UBEC deliver equitable access to quality and functional education at basic level.
According to him, the acquisition of practical agricultural skills will add value to the lives of learner and make them self-reliance.
On his part, Prof. Sadiq Abubakar of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, commended UBEC for the initiative, which he described as “a useful legacy for the coming generation.”