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CHED: Free Agri Licensure Review, Crucial In Government Food Security Goal

CHED: Free Agri Licensure Review, Crucial In Government Food Security Goal

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The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on Friday highlighted the benefits of providing free licensure review for agriculture students in boosting the landscape of Philippine agriculture.

“This is very crucial under the (President Ferdinand) Marcos Jr. administration because as you know, food security is a centerpiece initiative of this administration,” CHED Chairperson J. Prospero De Vera III said in a press conference.

De Vera made the remark after the signing of the memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) and 15 select state universities and colleges (SUCs) for the conduct of free online licensure examination review for agriculturists.

He said the “Review and Strategy Program to Empower Students for Licensure Examination for Agriculturists” intends not only to encourage more enrollees to join the agricultural sector but also to help them pass the licensure examination.

De Vera added that this would also produce the next generation of farmers, with the current average age of farmers getting older.

“We have to make sure all of them become agriculturists. Because even if the enrollment goes up, and the passing rate goes down, then we cannot produce (agriculturists),” he said.

The country’s average passing rate for the Licensure Examination for Agriculturists (LEA) is only 35.56 percent from 2019 to 2023.

De Vera said the initiative would also provide a “cost-effective” opportunity for students, considering their typical high expenses and proximity challenges for licensure reviews.

“We are committed to this very significant activity, parang maliit lang pero napakalalim (It seems small, but it’s far-reaching). We are committed to this because it’s a matter of national survival,” UP System President Angelo Jimenez said in a separate speech.

Under the MOA, the UPLB, being a top-performing university in LEA, shall conduct the review of other SUCs via online setup.

The review shall cover examination topics, such as soil science, agricultural economics, animal science, crop protection, crop science, and agricultural extension.

About 500 students are expected to benefit from the 340-hour review program from June 1 to Oct. 20.

Among the select SUCs are Basilan State College, Batanes State College, Capiz State University – Tapaz Campus, Isabela State University – Palanan Campus, Kalinga State University, Mindanao State University – Sulu Campus, North Eastern Mindanao State University – San Miguel Campus, Northwest Samar State University – San Jorge Campus, Quirino State University, Romblon State University – Cajidiocan Campus, Southern Luzon State University – Tayabas Campus, Sulu State College Tawi-Tawi Regional Agricultural College, University of Eastern Philippines – Catubig Campus, and the University of Rizal System – Tanay Campus.

These SUCs were chosen based on their performance in LEA, geographical location, and availability of computer laboratories with strong Internet connectivity.

Moving forward, the UP also expressed its willingness to help SUCs conduct reviews for students for the fisheries and forestry licensure examinations. (PNA)