Saturday, March 8, 2008

Fiji: vegetables on school farm for student’s needs

Students of Andrews Primary school on the Nadi back road, like every other schools in the country, go through their daily curriculum but also use outdoor gardening as a learning process. The school was established in 1918 and has a roll of 700 students from Class One to Class Eight. The headteacher, Mohammed Rasheed, said gardening also taught students to have a healthy lifestyle. He said it gave students an insight of what could be done in their backyard at home. He said in the Third Term, students and their gardener would plant pumpkin and harvest it in late January or early February.

“When the pumpkin is harvested we plant other crops such as dhania, radish, French and long bean, okra, cucumber, bindhi, tomatoes and eggplant,” he said. “On the hill slopes we plant cassava. The garden is maintained by our school gardener and the children.

“This is one form of substituting our school fees which is very low. This is one of the school’s income-generating projects. “When it’s harvest season the older classes go to the gardens and help with the picking. “Most of the senior students participate in this because it also ties in with their school work.”

Mr Rasheed said the school had also been in constant contact with the Agriculture department at Nadi on farming techniques. He said having a healthy lifestyle and learning business skills was the school’s way of equipping their students for the future.

He said the farming skills learning for the students was part of promoting a healthy and enterprising education. He said the emphasis was given to the students to be part of a health education. “School gardening plays a key role in promoting health because it enables the children to work in the garden and get a feeling of freshness when the vegetables are priced before they are sold.

“When the children and teachers harvest the produce, they are given priority to buy the fresh vegetables before the rest is sold to members of the public or to the market and to people who place their orders.”

Mr Rasheed said the exercise enabled the students to take part in gardening, harvesting and pricing of vegetables for sale and groomed them to be farmers in the future and how to use their land.

Publication date: 8/29/2007

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