The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has tapped the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) to evaluate its Program on Accelerating Farm School Establishment (PAFSE), which is being implemented nationwide.
PAFSE encourages farmers and other private individuals to set up farm schools across the country. It provides skills training, retooling, reskilling, and upgrading of the labor force in the agri-fishery sector.
TESDA implements PAFSE in close coordination with the Department of Agriculture-Agriculture Training Institute (DA-ATI) and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).
Since 2016, PAFSE has supported the establishment and improvement of at least 111 farm schools nationwide through 275 agri-fishery-focused training programs.
SEARCA Director Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio said this partnership with TESDA aligns well with SEARCA’s priority focus on agri-business models for increased productivity and income as well as gender and youth engagement in agriculture under its strategic agenda of Accelerating Transformation Through Agricultural Innovation (ATTAIN).
Part of the evaluation is understanding the existing implementation process of PAFSE. SEARCA is also tasked to identify the challenges, operational issues, and best practices and learnings to draw lessons and recommendations for the improvement of PAFSE. SEARCA will develop the Theory of Change Framework for the PAFSE to serve as the basis for the operational assessment.
SEARCA thus conducted a workshop for the Theory of Change Framework development with participants from the PAFSE Technical Working Group, which is composed of representatives from TESDA Central Office, DA-ATI, and DAR.
The workshop began with a project overview and the Theory of Change formulation process was presented. The participants were also reoriented on the intended impacts and long-term outcomes of PAFSE. The participants mapped out their respective program activities, inputs, and outputs in relation to the farm school establishment in breakout sessions. Their outputs were presented in a plenary session where they collectively defined the suitable key performance indicators for each output and outcome statement identified. The workshop results will be used in developing the survey questionnaires and guide questions for the key informant interviews for the data collection.
Ms. Katherine Amor A. Zarsadias, TESDA Chief of the Policy, Research and Evaluation Division, said the workshop enabled them to have a better understanding of the alignment and synergy needed to improve the implementation of PAFSE.
She also conveyed her expectation that the project team will further gain intuitive findings when the team conducts the key informant interviews at TESDA regional offices and selected farm schools.
The evaluation team began its data collection covering six regions across the country in October 2022.