From Blue-Collar to Greener Pasture: Shifting to an Innovative and Transformative Agricultural Education

Renante Adrogado Egcas

This paper offers a doable framework to repackage the Agriculture and Fisheries programs to be more attractive to achieve a remarkable number of enrollees and graduates. This also aims to redeem the programs from the stigma of being low paying, back-breaking professions into economically-sustainable careers. This paper is a product of a higher education innovation and transformation project for the Philippine Higher Education Career System – Executive Development Program. The paper conceptualizes curriculum in a systems approach which establishes three processes attuned to the most important phases of the student lifecycle management. These are the ‘Take-in process’ – introducing the 3G marketing and recruitment strategy which intends to make the programs more attractive and well-subscribed; the ‘Take care process’ - innovating curricula into outcomes-based and interdisciplinary, ICT-integrated and entrepreneurship-infused as it adopts the ‘parable-of-talents concept’; and the ‘Take-out process’ – innovating support programs for income opportunities and employment of graduates. The innovative and transformative concepts presented in this paper are outcomes of series of interviews, consultations, focus group discussion (FGD), bench learning, university dynamics laboratory, and immersion. The paper also draws on relevant literature on the previous initiatives of curricular reinvention. The stakeholder-participants are the SUCs leaders, agriculture and fisheries professionals, students (prospective and enrolled), parents, faculty, staff, guidance counsellors, government officials, industry partners, and community folks.