STUDENTS studying agriculture will get a more hands-on experience into “real-world agriculture” under revised SA Certificate of Education agricultural subjects for year 11 and 12 students.
The previous six ag studies subjects have been merged into two, streamlining the learning and criteria.
Meningie Area School deputy principal Mal Jurgs was involved in the consultation process and said in some cases, there were previous ag subjects with no students enrolled throughout the state.
He said the two new subjects were Agricultural Systems – replacing the old Agricultural Sciences – and Agricultural Productions, which combined the other five subjects together.
“There is more on the investigation side, undertaking an investigation and doing an experiment,” he said.
“Ag Productions will give students an opportunity to really get stuck into an issue and follow that through in an experiment and link what they find with real-world ag.
“Even though it’s in a smaller scale, it will give students the chance to learn about the issues that impact agriculture, not just in isolation or through text books.”
Mr Jurgs said the subjects were a chance for the students to get their hands dirty and relate what they were learning in the classroom to what was happening in the paddock.
The renewed SACE stage one (year 11) subjects were rolled out at schools this year, while the SACE stage two (year 12) would commence in 2018.
In 2016, there were 1223 enrollments into stage one agriculture subjects and 290 enrollments into stage two subjects.
Students will have the opportunity to study both Ag Systems and Ag Productions at each year level, along with an additional Vocational Educational Training course in agriculture.
SACE board learning and assessment design manager Kate Cooper said students would have the chance to use new technologies and become familiar with modern farming equipment and practices.
She said schools that did not offer ag studies subjects could make arrangements with other schools for their students to attend classes.
“This happens in several subjects in both metropolitan and country schools,” she said.
Although his year 12 studies will not commence until 2019, Meningie Area School year 10 student Riley McNicol had already begun brainstorming possible Ag Production project ideas.
“If I were to do a project, it could be on canola, with one crop having being sprayed for pests and diseases and another left to go by rainfall and soil, then seeing the return in the yield differences,” he said.
“It’s a good new experience to be able to get involved with a live farming situation.”