Time is up! Pass your banana leaf | Inquirer News
Agri teacher’s quiz goes ‘back to nature’

Time is up! Pass your banana leaf

/ 05:40 AM November 11, 2022
Time is up! Pass your banana leaf

NOT FOR RICE CAKES Agriculture majors at West Visayas State University-Calinog in Iloilo province come to class ready with their “answer sheets” cut from their backyard, for a special lesson arranged by their instructor. —PHOTOS BY Noe Deduro/contributor

ILOILO CITY—This must be one way to teach the youth that going natural—or shunning the synthetic—is almost always the right answer.

At a state university in Iloilo province, one of the instructors asked his agriculture students to take a quiz using banana leaves in lieu of paper.

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Many found it amusing but he was trying to make a serious point: How to be resourceful and make the best of what the land provides.

“I decided to use banana leaf on our quiz because of our topic in postharvest handling, which is packaging. I remember that back when the use of plastics was not yet common, banana leaves are among the packaging materials people used,” said Niel Christian Amaca, who teaches part-time at West Visayas State University’s Calinog campus.

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“I also remembered stories from our elders about their use of banana leaves (when paper was scarce) back in the day. So I told my students, why don’t we revive it?,” Amaca added.

A total of 50 students took the special quiz on Nov. 9 for the subject “Post Harvest Handling and Seed Technology.’’

While the “true or false” questions were still printed on regular paper, the banana leaves served as the answer sheet.

Noe Deduro, a fourth-year student majoring in animal science, gladly went along with his teacher’s unusual instructions, joking that at least students could save on school supplies and it must be “harder to cheat” if all exams were to be done that way.

‘Resourcefulness’

Some netizens who learned about the quiz on social media complimented Amaca’s “resourcefulness”—or at least his way of instilling that virtue.

But some found it corny, apparenly missing the teacher’s point. One commenter wondered why the students had to go through all that trouble, while another sarcastically remarked: ‘’What if they also don’t have pens? They should be asked to bring charcoal to class, too.’’

Amaca said his first quiz using banana leaves won’t be the last.

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“I will do it again because it is a way to keep students engaged in class and, at the same time, we are helping the environment,” he said. “It’s a way to reduce solid waste… It goes back to nature.’’

Amaca, 24, is a licensed agriculturist and a 2020 alumnus of the Central Philippine University in Iloilo City. —Reports from Hazel P. Villa and Marron Aerielle Bonotano INQ

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