The Department of Basic Education (DBE), in partnership with the nine Provincial Education Departments (PEDs), will host an AgriEd Imbizo on 19 April 2018, to lobby for support from education stakeholders on undertakings aimed at improving quality learning and teaching in Agricultural Schools. The Imbizo seeks to create an opportunity to share the strategic direction of Government whilst discussing possible ways to improve agriculture education in school communities. The Imbizo will also be used as an opportunity to reflect on international and national models to address challenges faced by agricultural education globally.
The National Development Plan (NDP) recognises a fundamental role that education plays in rural development and in realising the vision of the eradication of poverty in rural areas. During 2017, the DBE established an Agriculture Task Team comprising of Mathematics, Science and Technology (MST) Subject Specialists. The Team uses a research and consultative based approach to provide strategic direction to agriculture education to respond to the country’s changing labour market, socio-economic needs and rural contexts. One of the main tasks of the Team is to develop a concept document on a self-sufficient Agricultural Model School for learners from poor socio-economic backgrounds.
Director for Rural Education from the DBE, Dr Phumzile Langa, said that, “According to the Task Team, equipping young people with agricultural and entrepreneurial skills is a critical facet of farming and agriculture because it affords an opportunity for young people to invest in the growth of the economy. Thus far, the Team has conducted consultative visits to eight Agricultural Schools in the country to review models and practices and to discuss challenges and the envisaged support from the sector, targeting teaching staff, farming staff and learners”.
Mr Mbasane, the School Governing Body (SGB) Chairperson of Tyelimhlophe Agricultural High School in the Alfred Nzo West District in the Eastern Cape Province, indicated that working with traditional leaders is a way of strengthening agriculture in rural communities because they own the land. “Agricultural Schools play a crucial role in society; they should be utilised as reliable mechanisms to fight poverty. Our Chief donated the land to the people of Mganu Village to build a school. The school specifically focuses on the production of meat and vegetable products which are supplied to the local market and to retailers,” said Mr Mbasane.