PALAPYE: The Ministry of Basic Education has injected P23 million towards the introduction of an agriculture programme at Moeng College geared for experimentation and promoting of a hands-on education environment.
The project, that would also restore a rich founding culture of self-sustenance for the college is already underway.
In its formative years, Moeng that is situated in the valleys of the Tswapong hills, was reputable for farming and gardening that fed its community of learners, teachers and other workers.
With its rich history in agricultural production and ample land and water around its surroundings, the Basic Education Ministry preferred the school for the introduction of the agriculture programme emphasising on crop production, animal husbandry and horticulture.
The programme, dubbed the ‘multiple pathways’ is the education and sector training strategic plan intended to strengthen the match between qualifications and labour market requirements to align education output to employment needs.
The director of education in the Central District, Sonny Mooketsi revealed in an interview with Mmegi that the programme at Moeng was well underway. He said the processes were fast-tracked to prepare for the first batch of learners next year.
Moeng College boasts of 331 hectares of land around the school. The school is sitting at 27 hectares currently. It has been extended with 20 hectares demarcated for the use of the project.
In its proximity, the school has seven boreholes and the Lotsane Dam. Two boreholes have been cleaned and the water passed the Water Utilities Corporation tests for being clean and consumable.
Of the two, one is an eight cubic litres borehole that produces 8, 000 litres of water per hour, and the other is a four cubic producing 4, 000 litres per hour.
The rest of the boreholes are to undergo cleaning and testing by the Water Utilities Corporation soon, the director said. One of the five boreholes is a 22 cubic litre that would produce 22, 000 litres per hour.
According to Mooketsi, the first phase of the project is near completion. He confirmed that two kraals;
The project received donations of 57 goats from various schools around the central district. The goats have already been delivered at Moeng College. Two bulls and 10 brown-swiss dairy cattle had been secured pending delivery.
“We have received more donations of goats from other schools countrywide that we are in the process of collecting. We have managed to collect 57 goats around the central region at the moment. We are expecting dairy cattle delivery,” he said.
To speed up the construction phase, he said they had engaged the Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) to build eight staff houses and two agriculture laboratories.
He added cabling was also ongoing, to increase the bandwidth of Internet and stages of securing fleet for the project such as tractors and others were at an advanced stage.
Some Moeng College teachers are undergoing training for learner profiling. In the course of study, the trained teachers would identify students that are keen on Agriculture for placement in the programme.
About 120 learners from Moeng would be placed as the first batch when the programme resumes next year. The second batch would be inclusive of learners of the central district and in future, it would be open to countrywide learners.
Mooketsi said surrounding villages would benefit directly from the project both in the short term and long term.
He further revealed that they had established strategic partnerships with BUAN for further development of the learners and project sharing, Tuli Block farms to advance the learners’ practical, and SeedCo amongst others.
The technical team tasked with setting up the project travelled for benchmarking mission at Goromonzi High School in Goromonzi village in Zimbabwe.
Goromondzi is amongst the top self-sustainable high schools in the region specialising in pathways, particularly agriculture.