In collaboration with the SEAMEO Regional Centre for Special Education Needs (SEN) and the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI), BIOTROP conducted an in-country training on urban agriculture for 30 Malaysian special education teachers on 8-11 August 2017 at MARDI Training Center in Serdang, Malaysia.
The training course was designed to enable special education teachers acquire basic knowledge and skills on specific 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.
Representing the 14 states of Malaysia, the participants learned about various hydroponic and verticulture production techniques as well as composting, the roles of schools in developing agri-based life skills among their students in the context of Sustainable Development Goal No. 4, and approaches to establish urban agriculture technologies and teach them to their special education students in their respective schools.
Three Malaysian alumni from the training in Bogor served as resource persons particularly on sharing their experiences in implementing their action plans to establish their urban agriculture projects in their schools as well as the progress they have achieved so far in transferring the skills to their students. Other resource persons were Dr. Hanim bin Ahmad, Dr. Tosiah Sadi, Mr. Mohamed Hafeifi bin Basir, and Mr. Hamdan bin Mohd Noor from MARDI and Dr. Jess C. Fernandez from BIOTROP.
The participants also visited the Kajang Utama National High School that teaches urban agriculture technologies to their students with special needs. The participants witnessed how the students demonstrated their knowledge and skills in practicing the technologies that they have acquired from the school with guidance from their teachers.
The participants produced action plans on how they will introduce urban agriculture techniques they learned from the training in their respective schools.
BIOTROP and SEAMEO SEN consider the training as their contribution towards breaking barriers in inclusive education as one of the seven priority areas of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO). The two Centres conducted a pilot offering of the training in Bogor, Indonesia in March 2016. The training benefited 26 Indonesian vocational and special education teachers from nine provinces and 10 Malaysian special education teachers from four states.
The training was part of the MoU of BIOTROP with SEAMEO SEN and MARDI.