More rural farm schools are rising in many Philippine communities as a parallel learning system or alternative delivery mode of secondary education to address the needs of young Filipinos in agricultural or fishing areas. The creation of these schools is institutionalized under Republic Act (RA) 10618, the Rural Farm School Act, signed by President Benigno S. Aquino III on September 3, 2013.
Rural farm schools have already been set up in Aurora province, Lipa in Batangas, and San Carlos in Negros Occidental. There are also farm schools in select rural areas run by non-government organizations. As more schools are established, they will attract the youths to study agricultural courses or turn to entrepreneurship to move the social and economic countryside development, lessen poverty, and empower the communities.
RA 10618 provides that one public rural farm school must be established in every province, using the core high school curriculum of the Department of Education (DepEd) with add-on courses focusing on agri-fishery. The youth will receive training in modern technology of poultry and livestock, horticulture, fishery, and agriculture. Farm entrepreneurship will teach students how to make the farm self-sustaining or turn it into a business venture.
Students who graduated from elementary, regardless of age, are eligible to enroll in rural farm schools for their high school diploma, but priority is given to relatives of beneficiaries of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program. Public rural farm schools are free from tuition and other fees, while private rural farm schools may set a minimal tuition subject to DepEd approval.
The Manila Bulletin, led by its Chairman of the Board of Directors Dr. Emilio T. Yap, President and Publisher Atty. Hermogenes P. Pobre, Executive Vice President Dr. Emilio C. Yap III, Editor-in-Chief Dr. Cris J. Icban Jr, Business Editor Loreto D. Cabañes, Officers and Employees, congratulate H.E. President Benigno S. Aquino III, Vice President Jejomar C. Binay, Senate President Franklin M. Drilon, House of Representatives Speaker Feliciano R. Belmonte Jr., and Department of Education Secretary Bro. Armin A. Luistro, in their collective efforts to institutionalize rural farm schools for change in the countryside, uplift the lives of rural Filipinos, and resolve poverty and inequity in our Republic of the Philippines. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!