SKNIS Photo: (From left) Dr. Clare Bowen-O’Connor, Programme Coordinator, Sr. Lecturer and Head of the Agricultural Studies Programme; Andrew Abraham, Dean of the Technical Vocational Educational Management Studies Div.; and Dr. Leighton Naraine, CFBC Dir. of Employee and Programme Development

Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 03, 2016 (SKNIS): The Clarence Fitzroy Byrant College (CFBC), through its Technical Vocational Education and Management Studies Division, ramps up its role of facilitating food security in St. Kitts and Nevis with the introduction of its new agriculture business programme.

Dr. Leighton Naraine, Director of Employee and Programme Development at CFBC, was clear on the role of the tertiary level learning institution.

“To tackle the problem of food security, we need to contribute from our (CFBC) side and from the education side in terms of research and training, and that is exactly what we’re doing,” he said, emphasizing the business component.  “So we are interested in pushing the business end of things or the entrepreneurial aspect of this programme.  So that we have more consumers of food becoming producers and so young people can get into the action.”

Dr. Clare Bowen-O’Connor, the Programme Coordinator, Senior Lecturer and Head of the Agricultural Studies Programme, outlined that the agricultural business programme came out of a long process of occupational skills analysis and a labour market information survey.  She revealed that several gaps were observed in the Federation and it was felt necessary to provide an avenue for local entrepreneurs as well as interested students to expand their development and fill the gap.  This she said, was most evident when it came to farmers getting their goods to market and then onto the local table.

“The Farm to Fork Project, though started by the agriculture (department), hasn’t been realized throughout the country and it is hoped that this new programme will help us to realize that process more effectively,” Dr. Bowen-O’Connor said.

It was revealed that the CFBC lecturers, Dr. Naraine, Dr. Bowen-O’Connor, and Stuart LaPlace, CFBC Research and Hydroponics Scientist, had co-authored Chapter 10 of the text book “Sustainable Agricultural Practices in the Caribbean Volume 2.” The chapter deals specifically with agricultural diversification and non-traditional agricultural systems.

The agriculture business programme commences September 2016 at CFBC and targets young adults.  Since it is specifically geared towards persons already in the agricultural chain who are expected to market their products, the requirements for entry are not only the general CFBC requirements but also the Prior Learning Assessment for Recognition (PLAR).

The general CFBC requirements are five Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) passes including math and English; agriculture students should have agricultural science and/or biology.  PLAR involves an individualized interview of the prospective student who does not have traditional or formal learning but has experience in that particular field.  The applicant must also complete a portfolio showing the range of experiences and skills that they have developed over time.  PLAR forms part of the CARICOM Education for Employment Programme (C-EFE) initiative, which is designed to become a permanent fixture in the assessment of persons within the Technical Division.


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