On April 9 & 10, 2016, Pan’an Branch, Zhejiang RTVU organized a series of teaching practice activities at Jiusuier Ecological Planting Garden in Tiantai County, Siwu Chuangke Ecological and Agricultural Venture Garden, and Hou’an Village for over 40 students in the fall of 2014 class of the Tourism Agriculture programme.

In the reception room at Jiusuier Ecological Planting Garden, students attended a lecture by Mr. Ge Lingteng on his start-up experience in planting grapes. Mr. Ge was one of the first to be awarded the honour of Top Ten Farmer College Students in the provincial RTVU system, received the OUC’s “Excellent Graduate” award, and other recognition. The students were deeply impressed by Mr. Ge Lingteng’s business ideals of “Ecology, Environmentally-friendly, Quality, and Efficient,” as well as by his fortitude in running his business and diligent attitude toward learning new things. Students were also invited into a greenhouse of grapes to make a field study, learning from Mr. Ge’s skills in flower thinning, fruit thinning, spraying insecticide, applying fertilizer, etc. Before leaving the garden, some students bought grape seedlings, intending to plant their own.

Their next stop was Siwu Chuangke Ecological Agricultural Venture Garden, which spans 100 mus (approximately 16 acres) and functions as a collective start-up platform for students in the fall of 2015 class of Gardening Technology programme (1). According to the Monitor, Luo Xiaotong, “The site focuses on planting fruits, vegetables, Chinese herbal medicines, and flowers. Currently, the site is still under construction and preparation, and is planned to open for business in July. A total of 8 million RMB has been invested in the first stage. The second stage will see the addition of outdoor sports, including the construction of areas for people to adopt fields, and a section for a children’s amusements park, etc.” In the venture garden, Mr. Chen Ting, Director of the Community Education Office at Tiantai School, and the Class Tutor of the Gardening Technology programme, introduced the establishment of the Farmer College Student Entrepreneurship Association, the construction of teaching practice fields, and the current status of farmer student ventures.

Hou’an Village is renowned as “the most beautiful village in Zhejiang province.” When the students arrived here, they were divided into several groups to conduct surveys of households running a farm-based tourism business. The survey’s content and questions were assigned by guidance tutors, and the students focused their research on the business models of agritainment in Hou’an village, exploration of historical cultural factors, protection and employment of ancient villages, development of rural tourism, etc.

After the field practice, each student completed a report based on their survey.

Pan’an Branch, Zhejiang RTVU is dedicated to exploring and innovating teaching in order to improve the professional competence, academic knowledge, employment prospects, entrepreneurial ability, and vocational skills of the farmer college students. First, a face-to-face teaching site was changed into an “on-campus + off-campus” model, i.e. the classroom is moved to the townships, production sites, households, and fields. Second, the amount of field practice at production sites was increased, with guidance tutors, content, and timing arranged in advance. Lastly, Pan’an Branch improved the styles of inspections, and emphasized farmer college students visiting teaching practice sites in the province, as well as learning from typical cases and successful experiences of farmer college student entrepreneurs.

By Huang Fugen, Pan’an Branch, Zhejiang RTVU