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Knockalva continues to prepare young people for agriculture

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 | 7:57 AM    

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MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica (JIS) — Principal of Knockalva Agricultural School, in Hanover, Davia Ramgeet-Robinson, says the 77-year-old institution continues to churn out quality students annually, many of whom have gone on to spread their wings internationally.

According to Ramgeet-Robinson, the landmark institution is one of the country’s finest agricultural facilities and a perennial force within the sector.

“Historically speaking, anybody who is anybody in agriculture will know that Knockalva is the school. As an institution that has evolved over 70-plus years, quite a number of remarkable persons have come out of this school,” she said.

Ramgeet-Robinson said the primary goal going forward is to rebrand the institution, putting it at a particular level where it can assist more of the nation’s youth in agriculture on a post-secondary level.

She noted that the Government, through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) in Eastern Hanover, as well as the Office of Member of Parliament (MP), Dave Brown, has been very instrumental in assisting the school.

“We have been receiving tremendous support from RADA at the parish level in Hanover. The MP has also been doing his part in providing us with agricultural seedlings, tanks, and sporting outfits, so we can also build as a community and help each other to grow,” Ramgeet-Robinson said.

She added that the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) must also be commended for providing assistance in furthering the rebranding efforts.

Ramgeet-Robinson said the nearby Knockalva Technical High School, as well as Chester Castle All-Age and other schools in the region have been reliable partners in the sharing of resources and information to advance the welfare of “all of our students".    

Knockalva was established in 1940 as a practical training centre, but changed focus in 1962 to an agricultural training centre, offering a two-year programme in vocational agriculture, with the objective of providing agricultural and technical training for 15- to 17-year-old young people.

In 1980, the school was upgraded to an agricultural school, offering a three-year programme to youth 15 to 20. Currently, the school offers two- and three-year programmes in general agriculture at the semi-tertiary level and core subjects at the CXC level to youngsters between the ages of 15 and 18.

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