Vere Technical founder Mr Ben Francis must be smiling in his grave


Vere Technical founder Mr Ben Francis must be smiling in his grave

Friday, July 12, 2019

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Vere Technical High School in Clarendon has built a reputation over many years for its prowess in sports, particularly football and track athletics.

With time, Vere Technical's dominance in sport has waned somewhat. However, in more recent times the school has been consistently making its presence felt in science and technology.

Last week, for the third consecutive year, the school's representatives returned home as winners of the annual Scientific Research Council's (SRC) Science and Technology Fair.

In addition to placing first, the technical school also walked away with the title of most innovative secondary school.

Vere entered the SRC fair with its Remote Irrigation Vehicle (RIV), which is a machine used to make life easier on farms. The RIV is capable of watering crops and also spraying selected doses of insecticide without humans being present.

We are told that the use of the RIV has allowed Vere Technical to nurture and develop an agricultural curriculum, while earning money and providing for its school feeding programme.

Students and teachers at Vere Technical fully deserve all the recognition and praise they are currently receiving for this forward thrust in science and technology.

This newspaper was told at the winners' announcement function, that teachers Mr Omar Blagrove, who mostly worked in the field with students, and Ms Pricilla Deans from the Science, Technology and Mathematics Department were the main forces behind this surge of technological awareness at Vere Technical.

After the Vere triumph, one student could not hide his unbridled joy. “I am feeling so good right now,” he said.

We are told that the Vere Technical project resonated with visitors to the fair and that Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Ms Fayval Williams pointed to the health benefits of farmers using the RIV, by not having contact with harsh chemicals.

This major triumph by Vere Technical is a classic example of what can be achieved, even with limited resources, once there is a fixity of purpose, the willingness to learn and, of course, the determination to work hard.

There are many schools across Jamaica, more especially in rural Jamaica, which struggle to provide vocational and technology training because of an inadequacy of equipment and financial resources.

All too often, scientific laboratories are poorly equipped; Internet services are non-existent or unreliable at best, and even computers — now a basic requirement in any modern school — are in limited supply.

Against that background, the achievement by Vere Technical in beating the odds and achieving formidable success takes on greater significance. The hope now is for other schools to look, learn, and be inspired to get to work on their own innovations for the greater good of community and country.

This newspaper congratulates Vere Technical and urges the country's private sector to at least take a good look at the school's innovation with the possibility of making the RIV commercially viable.

Business leaders should also consider the benefits of partnering with schools such as Vere Technical in developing technologies which could well prove profitable.

Well done, Vere Technical. Your founding principal Mr Ben Francis must be smiling in his grave.

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