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Just How Much Can School Pupils Learn from School Gardening? A Study of Two Supervised Agricultural Experience Approaches in Uganda

Okiror, John James, Matsiko, Biryabaho Frank, Oonyu, Joseph
Journal of agricultural education 2011 v.52 no.2 pp. 24–35
agricultural colleges, agricultural education, assets, attitudes and opinions, chickens, developing countries, home gardening, home gardens, households, income, interviews, issues and policy, learning, parents, questionnaires, rabbits, rural communities, schools, Uganda
School systems in Africa are short of skills that link well with rural communities, yet arguments to vocationalize curricula remain mixed and school agriculture lacks the supervised practical component. This study, conducted in eight primary (elementary) schools in Uganda, sought to compare the learning achievement of pupils taught using supervised home–gardens and those taught using school gardens. The two gardening groups were tested using a t–test. Data were collected for a period of four school terms using pre and posttest questionnaires, focus group discussions (FGDs), interviews, observations, and a posttest examination. Findings showed no significant difference in knowledge achievement between the two groups of pupils (p<0.05), and in parents' attitudes towards school agriculture. Home gardening had a number of additional benefits to pupils, such as personal income and purchase of productive assets like chicken and rabbits from proceeds; food to households; and, independent learning. It is recommended that home gardens should be adopted as a matter of agricultural education policy alongside conventional school gardening in developing countries like Uganda; but further studies are needed to understand constraints in each local situation.