Education Lead Specialist with the IDB, Sabine Rieble-Aubourg, chats with Upper-Fifth students in the shade house and plant nursery. Looking on, is Acting Director of the Information Technology and Quality Assurance Unit of the Ministry of Education, Junior Burgess (far right), and Senior Teacher, Timothy Kellman (third, left). (GP)

The Daryll Jordan Secondary School has received a passing grade by a review mission from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for agricultural projects it has implemented through a BDS $60,000 School Improvement Grant.

The Grant falls under Component 2 of the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training’s Skills for the Future Program, which aims to improve the quality and relevance of secondary school education. The BDS $40 million program is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank and the Government of Barbados.

The project at the Trents, St. Lucy, school focusses on Caribbean Vocational Qualification areas such as agriculture, food production and processing. The students have a new shade house which will be used as a plant nursery. Additionally, they are about to embark upon an aquaponics and hydroponics project.

Principal, Stephen Jackman, said the School Improvement Grant came at the right time. He noted that prior to receiving the grant, the school was looking to expand from a small kitchen garden to a “very large agricultural plot” on its property.  However, they were faced with the high cost of sourcing materials.

“When Mr. Kellman (senior teacher) came to me with a project to build the shade house, where we could do our seedlings ourselves and reduce the cost of acquiring planting material, I said it was a good idea. At the same time, the School Improvement Grant came around and we wrote a proposal and went through the process of having that proposal analyzed.  What we are doing here today is that we have the first shade house up and running and we added to that an aquaponics and hydroponics project, where students could do fish farming and non-traditional crop production.  At first, the students’ response was tentative, but now that they are seeing the benefits and they have actually seen structures gone up, they are very interested in getting involved,” he explained.

Education Lead Specialist with the IDB, Sabine Rieble-Aubourg, said she was pleased with the progress of the agricultural project at Daryll Jordan.

The IDB review mission usually visits Barbados twice a year to see what progress has been made with the local projects and partnerships that it funds under the Skills for the Future Program.

“I am very satisfied with the results seen across all the different components. It is always very exciting to go to the schools and see the proposals in action.  Here, it is very exciting to see how the students learn innovations and new technologies and how they can be applied and implemented in agriculture and therefore makes the project more relevant to the students.  It is very good to see it in action,” she said.

The review mission will be in Barbados until Friday, December 7.

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