Organization: Department of Education, Davao del Norte and Regional IPM Network
Partner since: 2003
REAL programming in the Philippines was introduced after nearly ten years of IPM activity. Incorporation of REAL programming was initially inspired by a visit by Philippines representatives to The Field Alliance’s Regional Workshop. Following this workshop, The Field Alliance established a formal partnership in the Philippines and began providing technical support to train local educators and facilitators on IPM, PIA, and ABD. During the late 2000’s the program was able to expand greatly after receiving significant attention and funding from local and national governments of the Philippines.
The Field Alliance supports both Farmer Field Schools and REAL school programs, reaching those in immediate need of practical, vocational education and also anticipating the needs of future generations. Within schools, the national government provides significant support for agriculture related programs and curriculum addendums, specifically pertaining to organic agriculture. As outlined in Section 23 of the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010, “ The National Government, through the DepED and in coordination with concerned government agencies, NGOs and private institutions, shall strengthen the integration of organic agriculture concerns in school curricula at all levels.” REAL programming complements already existing initiatives supported by the Department of Education and in this sense, REAL programs are more directly complementary than supplementary meaning, ultimately leading to a greater potential for long-term sustainability.
Integration of Organic Agriculture into basic national curriculum
Recently, TFA was invited by Davao del Norte school district representatives to consult on the formal integration of the subject of Organic Agriculture into the national school curriculum. Considered to be a direct response to the Organic Agriculture Act initially proposed six years ago and supported by Go Organic!, the formal integration of this subject into basic education curriculum marks a huge step forward for the future of organic agriculture in the Philippines and also poses new challenges for TFA and partners.
At present, TFA is working in close collaboration with teachers and administrators in the Philippines to further improve their lesson plans and negotiate more time for teachers and students to focus on ecological and organic agriculture concepts. Since this type of integration of REAL concepts and approaches is unique to the Philippines, a period of adjustment and experimentation will be required but initial evaluation of the proposed lesson plans for the Integration of Organic Agriculture in the Basic Education Curriculum of the Primary and Secondary Schools reflected a step in the right direction that has the potential to set new international standards in curriculum development.