School agri­cul­ture graded like aca­demic sub­jects

Bhutan Times - - Home - Sonam Wangmo

Khasadrapchu Mid­dle Se­condary School in Thim­phu stud­ies agri­cul­ture as a sub­ject and it car­ries 30 per­cent per­for­mance weight­ing.

Lax­man Ch­hetri, the se­nior agri­cul­tural fo­cal teacher said agri­cul­ture in the school is part of ex­am­i­na­tion. The stu­dents are taught three hours of the­ory and an hour of prac­ti­cal in a week.

Be­sides the aca­demic classes, the stu­dent work in their gar­dens on Sat- ur­days and dur­ing club hours. He said the School Agri­cul­ture Pro­gram (SAP) is mainly for class VIII to en­cour­age them to take up the agri­cul­ture sub­ject in classes IX and X.

Lax­man said their SAP is purely or­ganic and the stu­dents are en­cour­aged to use lo­cal ma­te­ri­als like mi­cro-or­gan­isms and sus­tain­able wa­ter­ing meth­ods. “It is a plat­form to di­ver­sity the ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram as the gov­ern­ment can­not give em­ploy­ment to all stu­dents after they com­plete their stud­ies,” he said.

Vishal, 17, from class X say SAP is help­ful and it ben­e­fits the stu­dents. The most in­ter­est­ing part of the agri­cul­ture pro­gram, he thinks, is grad­ing stu­dents on it.

Yangchen, 18, says she has made the right de­ci­sion to choose agri­cul­ture as a sub­ject of her choice. “Work­ing in the field and fetch­ing marks in ex­ams is a good prac­tice,” she said.

Stu­dents are pro­vided all the ma­te­ri­als and ar­eas are al­lo­cated in­di­vid­u­ally dur­ing school time and there are care­tak­ers who are re­spon­si­ble for crops and prod­ucts in the win­ter.

The pro­gram is one of the most suc­cess­ful at the school. It has been awarded the best SAP ini­tia­tive in the coun­try for the last two years. Now, it has be­come an au­tonomous pro­gram.

Apart from SAP, the school is also en­gaged in fruits, mush­room and poul­try to ed­u­cate stu­dents on agri­cul­ture and live­stock.

The prod­ucts are sold only to stu­dents, teach­ers, and other staff mem­bers of the school since there is only enough quan­ti­ties for them.

“Both the seller and cos­tumer are recorded at the time of trad­ing in or­der to keep clear ac­count­abil­ity and trans­parency,” Lux­man said.

The stu­dents are en­cour­aged to take up the pro­gram as man­age­ment is en­hanc­ing the ac­tiv­i­ties such as ed­u­ca­tion trips to var­i­ous re­search cen­ters and in­sti­tutes.

Be­sides ed­u­ca­tion, SAP helps gen­er­ate some in­come for the school.

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