AGREA Farm School ready for new normal, resumes classes

AGREA Farm School ready for new normal, resumes classes

11 Aug, 2020

The AGREA Farm School in Marinduque adapts and abides by the rules and specific conditions exacted by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), the TVET Arrangements directed by TESDA, and concerned local governments, and is ready for the New Normal.

As of 4 August 2020, the AGREA Farm School is already given the Provisional Certificate of Authority to Operate by the Local Government of Boac Marinduque. The Local Government of Torrijos Marinduque also issued AGREA its certificate to operate on 11 August 2020.

AGREA Founding Farmer, President and CEO, Cherrie Atilano, shares her excitement online: “The AGREA Farm School in Marinduque is approved to resume after implementing all these new normal protocols required by the IATF. Happy to serve you again!”

The first farm school in Marinduque will resume its operations in both the towns of Boac and Torrijos on 17 August 2020.

“This is great news for the agriculture sector as we continue to provide educational services to our target clients and help them cope and build their future despite the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rafael Seño,

“Rest assured that our school follows the necessary measures and protocols in the delivery of Technical Vocational Education and Training towards the New Normal as directed by TESDA,” he adds.

The AGREA Farm School in Marinduque adapts and abides by the rules and specific conditions exacted by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), the TVET Arrangements directed by TESDA, and concerned local governments, and is ready for the New Normal.

COVID-19 disrupts all farm school operations

The Philippine government, and most governments around the world, temporarily closed educational institutions in an attempt to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These nationwide closures impacted not only the formal primary, secondary, and tertiary school systems, but also the technical-vocational sector.

“We halted all our farm school operations in Marinduque in the onset of the enhanced community quarantine,” said Rafael Seño, Training Director of the AGREA Farm School and Assessment Center.

President Duterte announced the placement of the entire island of Luzon including its associated islands on "enhanced community quarantine".

“It was a hard decision to make. We were all in standstill,” said Rafael Seño.

“The farm school is not only a school where we teach students organic agriculture. It is also the workplace of many farmers and farm workers. We may have stopped all training-related activities, but farm work continued although with very minimal manpower. Everything can wait, but not agriculture,” he adds.

AGREA Farm School resumes classes

After a series of planning and realignment meetings with the school partners specifically with the TESDA Office in Marinduque and the concerned Local Government Units, AGREA has successfully improved its systems, training modules, physical requirements, and staff training in accordance to government- and agency-mandated guidelines.

The necessary measures and protocols followed by the farm school are guided by and with TESDA Circular No. 66-A Series of 2020 Amended/Supplemental Guidelines on the TVET Arrangements towards the New Normal during the crisis. Read the guidelines here.

In addition to this, the AGREA Farm School also follows the Resolution #47 Series of 2020 dated 19 June 2020 by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) with specific conditions. Read the IATF Resolution here.

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The first farm school in Marinduque will resume its operations in both the towns of Boac and Torrijos on 17 August 2020.

Teach more people to become farmers

Last February 2020, Pat Andrew Barrientos, Center Director of the DA - Agriculture Training Institute (ATI) in the MIMAROPA Region (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) is encouraging farmers to help in the government’s thrust to teach more people to become farmers themselves by setting up learning sites and farm schools.

READ: Build more farm schools: DA-ATI exec

In a statement last February, Dir Barrientos said, “We are encouraging our farmers to join us. We will guide them, teach them. Make their children engage in agriculture and realize there is money in agriculture right now”.

The farm school will commence the following training schedules in the next days:

  • "Produce Organic Fertilizers and Raise Organic Small Ruminants leading to Organic Agriculture Production NCII" through the TESDA Special Training for Employment Program (STEP), 19 days -- 50 slots, closed enrollment;
  • "Agricultural Crops Production NCII" through the TESDA Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP), 42 days -- 25 slots;
  • "Pest Management Vegetables NCII" through the TESDA Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP), 39 days -- 25 slots; and
  • "Agricultural Crops Production NCII" through the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act (UAQTEA), 56 days -- 75 slots.

Scholarship applications are still open. For interested Marinduque residents, you may apply for scholarships through the AGREA Farm School Online Enrollment Form:

AGREA FARM SCHOOL ONLINE ENROLLMENT FORM