Food, agriculture and the senior citizens in conbination-- National Chung Cheng University’s ‘Sage Education on Food and Agriculture Instructor Training Program’ is on the road

Published on Jun 06 2019

In recent years, Taiwan Government and some private organizations have been actively promoting education on food and agriculture, due to more and more people have shown great concerns in environmental and food safety issues. At the same time, since the country is going to transform into an aged society, the aging manpower of the agricultural sector, inevitably, is going to create a significant impact on the industry; how to revitalize those experienced aging farmers to contribute continuously to the society has become a new governmental focus. Thus, the Center for Innovative Research on Aging Society (CIRAS) of the National Chung Cheng University (CCU), in collaboration with the Taiwan Agricultural Science and Technology Development Association, sponsored ‘the Sage Education Instructor on Food and Agriculture Training Program’, and officially opened its first training session on June 6, 2019, at Zhubei City in Hsinchu. The main purpose of the program is to encourage the middle age and aged farmers to gain a second expertise and to prolong their active lives, while using the teaching skills they would have learnt from the program to advocate the food-and-agriculture friendly farming in the community.

CIRAS states that the title “Le Nong Shi” (the sage instructor of food-and-agriculture education; ‘sage’ is the newly defined alternative term for ‘the senior citizen’, originated from Singapore), as its name implies, allows senior farmers who have been exercising friendly farming in their lives to promote the education on food and agriculture and friendly farming products to the general public, once they have understood the social trends of the aged society and the basic connotation and teaching skills of senior education, through the training program. But how to help those senior farmers to turn their own agricultural knowledges into teaching materials suitable for other senior participants of their own classes in the future, it is actually a challenging task. The training program is expected to be held for three sessions. Each session plans to recruits 30 farmers who identified with the friendly farming and are practically exercising on the farming principles. According to the plan, Dr. Feng-Ming Hao, Director of CIRAS at CCU, and Dr. Ya-Hui Lee, Professor of the Department of Adult and Continuing Education of CCU, will be the lecturers of the training program.

In the process of training, the lecture firstly starts with the topics, such as the aged society and the revitalization against aging. Then its content will gradually extend to the cross-domain development and resources integration of the senior-oriented industry, the professional knowledge on the design of teaching materials and required teaching techniques, and the topic of how to be a sage instructor for senior education. CIRAS also explained that since this is the case of the first time in Taiwan senior study circle trying to combine aging issue with the food-agriculture education, the current aim of this training program mainly focuses on teaching techniques, the designing of teaching materials and helping those future instructors turn their own existed farming experiences and knowledges into workable teaching plans. The wrap-up presentation for the training program has been scheduled on August 25, 2019. All results delivered from the program will be taken into account for the authority to decide whether a teaching demonstration shall be included in the future training program.

After having attended the 60-hour full time session of study, once they have finished designing the teaching materials and related implementation practice, based on the food-and-agriculture education to complete the teaching plan and the presentation of teaching internship results, and all works have been reviewed and approved by CCU professors, trainees of this program each will be awarded a ‘certificate of general Instructor on Food-and-Agriculture Education’ from CIRAS. CIRAS claimed that, since there was no such teaching role before in the community, these firstly certified sage instructors on food-and-agriculture education for senior learners, will definitely be a benchmark professional group of its kind in the senior-oriented industry in Taiwan.

CIRAS also pointed out that senior talent cultivation emphasizes particularly on the cross-domain interaction and integration. The Sage Education on Food and Agriculture Instructor Training Program has not only pushed the history to a new milestone, but also integrated multi-disciplinary resources to facilitate the middle age and aged farmers to develop a second expertise, transforming them into the new age role models as a ‘sage slash’.