Ask an urban child, “Where do you get rice from?” or “Where do you get vegetables from?”, and they would answer hesitatingly, “…from a departmental store or a supermarket”. As a parent, wouldn’t it make you wonder how little our children are grounded to nature, especially agriculture?
Though India is an agricultural country with about 70% of the population involved in agriculture, it is in a declining state. The reasons being incessant rains, loss experienced by the farmers owing to their perishable agricultural produce not able to reach the consumers directly (not to forget the middle man’s commission) or even lack of up gradation to the recent sophisticated techniques. This has resulted in the frustration of the rural menfolk and hence resentment towards continuing farming as an occupation. Sometimes, with the rural young menfolk moving toward cities for employment, the women folk and girl children are left with no option but to look after agriculture and milch animals.
Therefore it is absolutely necessary that the urban children should also have a basic knowledge about agriculture and the rural children especially girls should learn about modern agricultural practices for which reason farming should be taught as a part of the regular curriculum in schools and colleges.
It was around 2016-2018, several farming schools have been introduced in India such as Puvidham, in Tamil Nadu, Sharada Vidyaniketana Public School in Mangaluru, Karnataka, and the Good Harvest School in Uttar Pradesh where farming has been introduced as a part of the regular curriculum along with some other schools and colleges as well.
Here are 9 reasons why farming should be introduced in Indian schools and colleges:
1. Children and nature
Children love working with nature. Since they can move around freely while learning farming, their freedom not being restricted, they can become creators and experience the joy of creation while seeing their yields. Their success on growing crops or vegetables will immensely boost their self-confidence.
2. Learning several subjects through farming
Education becomes complete when applied to life. The best part about farming is that children can learn several other subjects through farming. They will learn Math while spacing the seeds for sowing, while counting their yields. They can also learn various elements of Life Sciences and Botany while preparing the soil for sowing, compost-making, Management while learning to use the resources such as land, money and water efficiently and marketing when they sell their produce. Children can gain practical knowledge on many agricultural techniques such as grafting, budding, compost making, rain water harvesting rather than studying them theoretically.
3. Continue a living heritage
Urban children can make farming as their livelihood thereby continuing their hereditary agricultural practice done by their grandfathers/great grandfathers/ forefathers. The central government has launched the Kisan Credit Card (KCC) scheme to provide loans at low interest rates for agricultural startups. Did you know, as of today, India has about 450 Agritech startups and the numbers increase by 25% every year?
4. Better quality of life for women in agriculture
There are over 100 million women being employed in the agricultural sector in India. With education still being denied for many rural girl children, teaching sophisticated farming methods in schools can help them to lead a better quality of life. Female agriculture students are provided fully funded scholarships for agriculture degree in specific universities.
5. Help marginalised families in agriculture
It will also help the marginalized families to continue their agricultural occupation while retaining their agricultural lands and also enable
s them to live a dignified life. Meenu, one among the 5 girl children of a poor farmer, who was originally denied education by her family, joined the Good Harvest School after convincing her parents , having been inspired by the teaching. She is now confident of continuing the agricultural profession of her father.
6. Learn to overcome challenges & life skills
Children learn about the difficulties in farming when they fail to cultivate a good produce. When crops fail, children being innovative, think and devise modern methods with the educational and financial assistance provided by schools. The failures and challenges can further develop perseverance and resilience in them. Farming is an excellent teacher to inculcate life skills in our children.
7. Develop a sense of community living
Farming teaches children community living and while growing food they become more responsible towards nature, environmentally conscious, learning to give to the environment and not to misuse or take away from it.
8. Will help children lead a simpler life
Farming will teach children to lead a simpler compassionate life entangled with nature there by shaping them as good citizens of this country.
9. Country will become self-reliant
When the younger generation learn to produce their own food ,it creates a positive mindset in them. If they continue to practice agriculture, the country will become self-reliant with increasing exports and reduced imports.
The farm is the biggest classroom where nature is the teacher, which in turn inculcates three basic principles of life – (i) care for the people, (ii) care for the earth and (iii) Fair Share. It is safe to say, that farming maybe an excellent solution to our nature starved and electronic gadgets addicted children/generation to lead a happier, healthier and a more meaningful life.
Contributor: Praba N (PhD)
About our Writing Program Student
Dr Praba N is an Associate Professor teaching Electronics & Communication Engineering at the Ghousia College of Engineering, Ramanagara, Karnataka. She is interested in content writing, as it is her long harboured dream to continue her passion of ’Essay writing ‘ which got left in school.