To help address issues on livelihood, health, and environment in urban areas, BIOTROP piloted its training course on urban agriculture for vocational and special education teachers on 9-12 May 2016 at its headquarter in Bogor, Indonesia.
Thirty-six teachers from Indonesia and Malaysia completed the 4-day training that consisted of lecture-discussions and practical field works. The 24 Indonesian teachers were from vocational and special education schools from seven provinces while the 12 Malaysian teachers came from special education schools from 11 states.
Urban agriculture has now become a global movement which attracts people in all walks of life to help create a much greener environment, promote household and community food safety and security, contribute to healthy living, and become more self-reliant for their daily needs.
Thus, the training course was generally designed to enable vocational and special education teachers acquire basic knowledge and skills on specific BIOTROP technologies appropriate for urban agriculture with the expectation that such technologies could be adopted in their respective schools for their students to also learn and practice for personal, family, and community development purposes.
The training course also served as an initial collaborative activity under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between BIOTROP and the SEAMEO Regional Centre for Special Education Needs (SEN). BIOTROP and SEN signed the MOU in February 2016 which aims to develop agri-based life skills among teachers and students of special education schools in Southeast Asia.
Coordinated by BIOTROP Deputy Director for Resources Management Dr. Arief Sabdo Yuwono, the training course dealt on the following topics: Overview of Urban Agriculture Concepts and Principles, Hydroponic Production of Vegetable and Fruit Crops, Household scale/School-based Composting of Organic Solid Waste (for ornamental plant growing media), Mushroom Production and Processing, and The Roles of Schools in Promoting Urban Agriculture as Life Skills.
The participants produced action plans on how to apply what they have learned from the training course in their respective schools. BIOTROP and SEN are expected to monitor the implementation of these actions toward identifying the model schools in Indonesia and Malaysia to advocate urban agriculture as life skills for vocational and special education students.
The participation of Indonesian teachers from special education schools was supported by the Directorate General for Special Education Needs of the Ministry of Education and Culture of Indonesia while the Malaysian teachers were sponsored by their respective State Education Departments. The rest of the participants were funded by BIOTROP through its DIPA training allocation from the Ministry of Education and Culture of Indonesia.