Can a ‘city mouse’ make a good farmer?

A student waters a school garden at Nyamninia Primary School in Sauri Millennium Village, Kenya. African education should include practical agricultural instruction in addition to theory.

A student waters a school garden at Nyamninia Primary School in Sauri Millennium Village, Kenya. African education should include practical agricultural instruction in addition to theory.

Born and bred in the city, my only interaction with farming and livestock was when I visited my grandparents’ farm during vacations. My grandmother used to call me ‘city mouse,’ because I wasn’t a local from the village.

It was during these visits that I noticed some contrasts between the urban educational system I experienced and the one my cousins in the village had. In one vivid example, I remember thinking, “I NEVER used a cutlass in basic school — here it’s an admission requirement!

I used to watch how my cousins would finish their classes and immediately go to the school farm and work.  I would think to myself, “Is this a punishment or what? I would never do that. Thank God I go to school in the city.”

When I followed them to our grandparents’ farm, they shared farming insights that amazed me. They knew so much about this way of life that I had never heard of.

Destiny then played a fast one on me: For Senior High I was admitted into a school in a small town.  As a punishment, students were given a portion of land they had to weed. We also worked on the farms of tutors after school. It was at this point that I began get the agricultural education that I had never received in Junior High.

I share this story because I know most ‘city mice’ have had similar experiences. The curriculum in our schools should not just include the study of agriculture in theory alone, but also in practice.

This has been a major topic at this year’s 6th Africa Agriculture Science Week, hosted by FARA in Accra, Ghana. Restructuring the education sector to put the spotlight on agriculture is imperative – we shouldn’t look back.

Blogpost by Dominic Kornu, a social media reporter for AASW6.

Photo: Millenium Promise

4 thoughts on “Can a ‘city mouse’ make a good farmer?

  1. Indeed you reminded me of the good old days when l thought my school was the best because they n’er allowed me to weed and pick grass. No sense of agriculture skill in my blood all l do is to eat and drink

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