Although many think of the UAE as a desert country with arid land, students of an Indian school group here have created history by learning farming in their schools and harvesting more than 7.4 tons of vegetables over the past five years.
Having taught farming as part of the CBSE curriculum for the last ten years, three schools under the Ajman-based Habitat Schools have released a handbook on farming at the Sharjah International Book Fair. The International Indian School under the group was the first school in the UAE to incorporate farming into its curriculum way back in 2011, according to Shamsu Zaman C.T, managing director of Habitat Schools.
“We provided a new model of education in a culturally inclusive, technologically effective, and ecologically sensitive way,” he told Gulf News. “We incorporated farming and coding into our curriculum to teach our students things that are essential for their future. They are going to live in a digital economy and need to learn evolving things about the digital world. At the same time, they should be close to nature and know what sustains our lives in this world: agriculture.”
Cultivating a love for nature, care for fellow living organisms, inducing respect for the labor expended to produce the food we eat — these objectives have motivated the Habitat farming program, added Shamsu.
A graduate in agriculture from Kerala Agricultural University in India, Prathibha, said the school has managed to cultivate 24 types of vegetables, despite the climatic and soil conditions here posing challenges. “We have cultivated corn and grapes too,” she said. “Students get farming classes once a fortnight. During summer, we focus more on the theory part and outdoor activities are limited to the massive greenhouse where farming is done under temperature and humidity-controlled environment.”
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