While enrolment in agriculture is decreasing in many schools and colleges, it is not the case at the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) in Batac City, Ilocos Norte. This was learned from Dr. Sixto Pascua Jr., chairman of the Department of Agricultural Sciences of the College of Agriculture, Food and Sustainable Development.
At the time of our interview (March 21, 2015), about 350 first year students consisting of seven sections were enrolled in agriculture courses majoring in soil science, animal science, horticulture and extension. Previous to that there were only four sections.
The reason for the big increase? Scholarships and financial assistance extended by different agencies, including the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), local government units (LGUs) and even by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) which supports the schooling of some beneficiaries of the government’s 4Ps program.