A ???heavy emphasis??? on indigenous materials in the school exhibits at the just concluded 2015 Barbados Manufacturers??? Exhibition (BMEX) has pleased Minister of Education, Ronald Jones.

Minister Jones expressed his satisfaction yesterday, following a tour of BMEX at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

He declared: ???That???s particularly good because the Ministry has been emphasising science, technology and innovation as part of the school system. The research which I saw that went into many of the projects is in fact quite refreshing.

???It tells us that the young people are focused on being able to expand their knowledge base, but beyond that coming up with a finished product.??? The Minister cited the display by Charles F. Broome Memorial Primary School that showcased multiple purposes for coconuts and their bi-products.

???I know that the coconut is an extremely versatile plant, but these young people [made] soaps and creams and gels and body scrubs and oil of course for frying and things like that. That would say to me that while we the older members of society despair, that in fact young people are looking for creative ways to enhance their own employment and employment of others,??? he observed.

Attracted by that school???s special unit???s display on the local strain of aloe vera, Mr. Jones remarked: ???Barbados has possibly one of the better varieties. There are so many varieties but the Aloe Vera Barbadiences is an extremely good variety???. It means that we must plant a number of acres of aloe vera, if there are going to be persons who will be using it to develop other products in the community.???

The Lodge School???s culinary offerings were also praised by Mr. Jones for ice-creams created with indigenous products. ???That???s part of their SBA project that they had for CAPE,??? he explained.

While deeming them excellent, he lauded the young students on incorporating herbs and other grasses saying: ???To see the young people using them as a secondary product is really, really good and that???s the potential for entrepreneurship.???

He indicated that his Ministry would be seeking to engage in discussions with Prime Minister Freundel Stuart on how it could tap into resources to help young school leavers who are doing creative things with indigenous products.

And, while he stated that funding was always an issue, the former educator said they would be looking to see how the youngsters could be provided with opportunities to expand their potential by way of loan and grant funding.

Minister Jones was accompanied by a team of officials from his Ministry including Parliamentary Secretary, Senator Harry Husbands and Acting Chief Education Officer. Karen Best.

Thirteen primary and three secondary schools participated in the Schools??? Exhibit, an annual showcase of the Media Resource Department of the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation.??It was held this year in partnership with the Barbados Light & Power Company Ltd.


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