Public high school in Malaybalay focuses on agriculture, fisheries

SAN JOSE, Malaybalay City (MindaNews/12 July) — The San Martin National High School, in the city’s rice producing district, is imparting skills in agriculture and fisheries as elective subjects to hundreds of students whose parents are mostly farmers, Manuelito Melendez, the principal who pioneered the program said.

Melendez said in an education forum recently that they are offering these subjects along with information technology as electives under the technology and livelihood education program.

Dr. Florante Corpuz, city schools division superintendent told MindaNews via telephone the school was really intended to be an agriculture national high school to respond to the resources and needs in the area.

But the division lacks teachers who are qualified to teach agriculture, he said.

Corpuz said they need a graduate of Agriculture Education who had passed the teachers’ board examinations.

Melendez said there are many agriculture graduates who have farming and teaching skills but do not have the academic qualification. He said those who don’t have a teacher’s license may teach, but will only be paid as a job order employee.

The school was able to offer fisheries only this year, he said, because no one qualified to teach. The sole applicant this year came from a university in Bohol and holds a degree education major in agriculture.

San Martin is in an agricultural area, which originally hosted the Bukidnon Agricultural School, the forerunner of the Central Mindanao University.

Melendez said there were times in the last 10 years that production went down in the area owing to dearth of technical knowhow among farmers.

The Bukidnon National High School in downtown Malaybalay City also offers training in agriculture as an elective.

Agriculture and information technology electives have been offered in SMNHS since 2004.

Melendez, who has been assigned to another school in the city in June, said that fisheries was added to the school’s electives when classes opened in June 2011.

He added that the Department of Education has been opening up specializations to prepare for the senior high school program under its K+12 program. The two-year senior high school program, he said, will be a training ground for students who want to learn specific expertise even before entering college.

Aside from agriculture, fisheries, and information technology, the DepEd is giving attention to special skills trainings in garments, food, arts, carpentry, among others.  (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)