Rice Specialist Training Course on Palay Check Systems - by: Norbing N. Maur

“Attending a four-months training is very challenging decision” exclaimed by most of the 3rd batch participants of Rice Specialist Training Course (RSTC) on Palay Check Systems. This training was held at Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), Central Experimental Station at Maligaya, Munos, Nueva Ecija from January 12 to May 13, 2009. The Agricultural Training Institute(ATI) sent 15 representatives; eight came from the selected Provincial Agriculture Offices, six from the Department of Agriculture – Regional Field Units (DA-RFU) and two from PhilRice. This batch of 31 graduates represents the whole archipelago from region 1 down to region 12.
Memories of college days were refreshed immediately as the training goes on. Trainees were forced to memorize parts of the training, or at least understand it to be able to pass the course. When time of examinations came, the older participants have experienced difficulties to memorize topics as they unanimously accepted that they easily forget what they have studied in the previous day.
RSTC is a graded training wherein participants should take a weekly quiz, mid-term and final examination both on theoretical and practical applications. Results of micro teaching, attendance, re-entry plans, peers and trainers evaluation are also components of the said grading system. According to the training management, this is the first RSTC batch wherein about 42% (13/31) of the participants got the Certificate of Training with Distinction (with the grades of 90% and above).    Fortunately, seven of the 13 who graduated with distinctions came from the ATI family.   In addition to this, the top 4 slots were also captured by ATI participants.
This 4-months training program is aimed to enhance the participants knowledge, skills, and performance in rice production and technology promotion and to update them on the principles and practices of the Palay Check System.   Further, this is designed to develop a core of rice specialists who will lead in implementing the training and extension component of the GMA-Rice Program.
To attain the above stated objectives; regular lectures from “authorities” were given to the participants in sequence. Participants have established, maintained and monitor  Participatory Trials on different Key Checks at PhilRice compound.   They also established, managed and facilitated Farmers Field Schools at five different barangays in Talavera, Nueva Ecija.  Self discovered, shared and acquired knowledge were reinforced or validated by farmers during field exposure trips.