QUEZON CITY – In support to the Department of Agriculture’s advocacy to entice the Filipino youth in leaning towards agriculture, 223 scholars from all over the country were recruited and accepted under the Agricultural Training Institute’s (ATI) newest scholarship program - the Educational Assistance for the Youth: Degree Courses in Agriculture, and Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering or the EAsY Agri Program. This program is dedicated to children of small-scale farmers and fisherfolk to encourage them in pursuing a professional career in agriculture and fisheries or to venture in agri-entrepreneurship.
The EAsY Agri Program will run from 2020 to 2025 to cover the four-year program for the BS Agriculture and related courses and five-year program for the BS Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering (BS ABE).
To date, a total of 160 scholars have been accepted where 119 will take up BS Agriculture, 13 for BS AgriBusiness, 11 for Bachelor in Agricultural Technology, 9 for BS Fisheries, 4 for BS Agro-Forestry, 2 for BS Forestry, and 2 for Bachelor of Technology and Livelihood Education in Agri-Fishery Arts. Meanwhile, 63 grantees are to pursue BS ABE. They are currently enrolled in different state universities and colleges where a Memorandum of Agreement has been forged through the ATI Regional Training Centers (ATI-RTCs). To date, the ATI has partnered with 58 SUCs nationwide to ensure the delivery of quality education to all youth scholars.
With the current pandemic situation, the education system is greatly affected causing the late opening of academic year, the earliest of which was August 10, 2020 and the last was last October 16, 2020. From the traditional face-to-face mode of learning, partner SUCs are on online, applying blended learning courses.
Some setbacks that scholars are experiencing are the unstable internet connection as most of them live in remote areas with very weak signal to participate in their online classes, or no available laptops or tablets. Despite the limitations, the scholars are committed to do their best as they are closely monitored and guided by the scholarship point persons of the ATI-RTCs.
By the end of the program, the Institute is expecting to produce 223 youth scholar-graduates.