Fera Maulidya Sukarno, MPd, a natural science teacher from SMPN 1 Subang, Indonesia, who received a 2018 action research grant from SEAMEO BIOTROP, was nominated as one of the best speakers at the National Symposium for Natural Science Teachers Year 2019 by the Development and Empowerment Centre for Natural Science Teachers and Educators (PPPPTK IPA) of the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia. Her scientific paper titled ‘Enhancing Inquiry and Entrepreneurship Skills through the School Garden Program based on the Participation of Youth Scientific Group Students’ funded by the Centre brought her to the award, which certificate was handed over on 27 November 2019 at Mercure Hotel, Jakarta.
Ms Fera said that the school garden programme which is currently being socialised by the Ministry of Education and Culture to improve student literacy and nutrition is very good to be implemented by the school. However, the school garden implementation in her school is hindered by improper management and time limitations in the school curriculum. Therefore, to have effective school garden programme, she integrates school garden programme with an extracurricular activity called the Youth Scientific Group (KIR).
Through the implementation of this action research, she continued, the school garden becomes a laboratory for students to improve their inquiry skill following the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) mindset. Students learn urban farming method through the hydroponic system, develop an entrepreneurial skill and foster affection for vegetable crops. Students are challenged to implement a best practice system in managing school garden, including formulating research problems and hypotheses, designing tools, selecting materials and methods, managing yields and arranging the budget and finance.
"BIOTROP plays an active role in my action research. It introduces the school garden program and the hydroponic method in the teacher training program. In addition to providing a grant, the Centre also provides input and clear guidelines. BIOTROP monitors intensively every activity and progress achieved. I am very grateful for this great support so that my action research could go well," said Ms Fera.
In the near future, Ms Fera said that her school plans to develop hydroponic automation techniques, so that the application could be more efficient and effective. She also hopes that the effort she does could motivate other teachers and students. (zsp)