Dinthill Technical High School Principal Advocates for Agricultural Programme in all Schools
JIS FEATURE FEBRUARY 27, 2019 WRITTEN BY: AINSWORTH MORRIS
Principal, Dinthill Technical High School in Linstead, St. Catherine, Monica White, says all schools across Jamaica should have in place a sustainable agriculture programme.
She notes that the agriculture programme at her school not only provides skills training for students but also supplies produce to local markets and a hotel.
“All we do is centred on agriculture. We have lettuce, tomatoes and sweet peppers that we grow in our greenhouse and sell. We are doing well with agriculture. It’s really our epicentre,” Mrs. White tells JIS News during a tour of the school’s farm.
The tour was part of activities of the seventh Regional Session of the Youth Environmental Advocacy Programme (YEAP), which was held at the school on February 20.
YEAP, launched in July 2016, aims to engage students in environmental advocacy as well as to help them identify innovative solutions to various challenges.
Mrs. White notes that, shortly, the school will be looking at replanting sweet potatoes.
“We are looking forward to putting in some more [sweet potato seedlings] in the next season and we are, at this point, looking forward to starting our onion production. We’re working along with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority, and by the end of March we should be getting those seeds, and we will have a great stock of onions this year,” Mrs. White says.
In addition, the school has goats, pigs and chickens, which are reared by students, and staff members. Plans are also in place for the expansion of their poultry facility.
“We’re looking for partners to expand our chicken project. We really need the tunnel houses. We do the regular coop. We produce 10,000 birds every six weeks for Jamaica Broilers, but we want to be able to expand that,” Mrs. White states.
“So if there is any good person out there who can help us, in terms of having those tunnel houses up and running, we would love to partner with them to have that done,” she adds.
Meanwhile, Director, Environment and Risk Management Branch in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Joanne Felix, said the YEAP, aims “to create opportunities for us in the Government to interact with the youth and educate them about what’s going on in the environment and what are their issues of concern, as well as to get their feedback”.
She explains that YEAP will assist the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation to hear the voice of Jamaica’s youth, which is critical to the development of Jamaica’s policies, plans, programmes and legislations.
“The programme was launched in light of the fact that environmental issues have growing concerns and the youth should be encouraged to become proactively engaged in assisting in identifying and implementing solutions to address those issues,” she says.
Annually, YEAP selects one student from each region as Ambassadors and awards a scholarship valued $50,000, which is funded by the GraceKennedy Foundation.
Student at the Dinthill Technical High School, Nicole Pryce, was appointed the 2017/18 YEAP Ambassador.
She tells JIS News that the bursary she received not only assisted with buying back-to-school supplies, but also helped the Environment Club, of which she is now the President.
“Over the years, we have had an Environment Club, but when I was in lower school, it was not such a vibrant club. However, last year [with the assistance received], we entered a Bottle Drive Competition. It was a struggle, but we came out as champions, third place in the region,” Ms Pryce says.