23 Feb 2023
Students at St. Familia Wae Nakeng High School in Poco Rutang Village, Lembor District, West Manggarai Regency, East Nusa Tenggara, have begun receiving instruction in sorghum farming. By the production of sorghum, students are encouraged to coexist peacefully with nature and to view it as an one ecosystem that needs to be protected, kept, and maintained.
This is being done as a way to promote self-sufficiency and food security in the Wae Nakeng region. Wae Nakeng, like other regions in NTT, has a dry climate and little precipitation, which is why sorghum is grown there.
Father Valerianus Paulinus Jempau (Father Lerry), the headmaster of St. Familia Wae Nakeng, said to the KEHATI Team that sorghum was chosen to be taught to students once more because it might be a solution for a healthy lifestyle. Sorghum has less carbohydrate content than rice does.
Sorghum can additionally grow healthily without fertilizer. Father Lerry remarked, “This is the proper response to many people’s concerns about the use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides that are harmful to health,” he said. Using the Independent Curriculum, St. High School Family Wae Nakeng implements a sorghum farming education program. Rikard Pambur, a KEHATI partner from 2014 to 2017, represented the Lembor Farmers Alliance (APEL: Aliansi Petani Lembor), which was with the school.
Puji Sumedi Hanggarawati, manager of the Agricultural Ecosystem Program at the KEHATI Foundation, admired St. Familia High School for taking the initiative to introduce sorghum planting instruction in classrooms. It is necessary to reintroduce sorghum cultivation knowledge at a young age.
Sorghum is not well known to the current generation, explains Puji.
“Thus, it is crucial that sorghum be reintroduced into the educational curriculum. Due to the fact that this issue involves not only education but also local food, health, and culture, the response from the various organizations has been quite supportive,” said Puji.
Sorghum, according to Puji, may be more pest-resistant than other crops that produce carbohydrates, like rice. Chemical pesticides and fertilizers can be used less frequently as a result. In addition to being unhealthy, the use of chemicals in agriculture disrupts the soil’s natural nutrient balance and kills the organisms that promote soil fertility.
From the 2022–2023 academic year, St. High School Family Wae Nakeng has been utilizing the Independent Curriculum. The First Stage Decree Number 025 of 2022, issued by the Ministry of Education and Culture, authorized the application.
The Independent Curriculum is implemented in class X or 1st grade High School with reference to the implementation processes and technical instructions. The Project to Enhance Pancasila Student Profiles (P5: Projek Penguatan Profil Pelajar Pancasila), extracurricular activities, and intracurricular learning are the three activity models that this curriculum is integrated into.
The P5 is said to cycle through seven themes. Local wisdom and a sustainable lifestyle are two P5 concepts that are expressed in education about sorghum planting.
Father Lerry believes that the Independen Curriculum places a strong emphasis on the variety of intracurricular learning content. This is done so that student participants would have adequate time to develop their expertise.
Father Lerry argues that the Independent Curriculum is simply learning for independent students to develop their unique interests and talents. In putting this curriculum into practice, teachers are also allowed to select and decide on the educational resources that best meet the requirements and interests of their students.
Father Lerry expects that the Independent Curriculum’s sorghum planting and management program will be successfully carried out with the help of the public, business, and community sectors. It is intended that kids will grow into intelligent, fit, and character-driven adults thanks to this program.