Rural Ecology and Agricultural Livelihoods (REAL)

IPM programmes in schools were conceived to educate school children on environmental knowledge while in the process acquiring scientific inquiry skills. As many school kids in rural areas end up becoming farmers themselves, such lifelong inquiry skills are expected to contribute to a safer and more sustainable agricultural production environment and improved rural livelihoods. Taking from approaches and methods used in Farmer Field Schools (FFS), IPM in schools develop knowledge, skills, values and desirable attitudes in crop (e.g., rice and vegetable) production using the field as the laboratory of learning. More recently, post-SFS activities have been implemented focusing on exercises on pesticide risk reduction. Recently renamed Ecological Agriculture for Students and Teachers (EAST), the programme does not only educate children but provides a channel to educate parents on IPM and pesticide risk reduction (PRR) through tasks and activities that students are given to do together with their parents. Such learning activities include mapping household storage and disposal of pesticides. In some countries, teachers engaged in SFS are trained on how to design and implement an integrated curriculum, i.e., teach all mandated formal curriculum subjects (mathematics, language, science, etc.) using IPM and PRR as the core topic. EAST programmes have been successful at introducing reforms to educational systems particularly on how to facilitate participatory (pedagogical) learning.

More information on Ecological Agriculture for Students and Teachers (School IPM) can be found in