The Ekiti State Government on Thursday urged schools students at all levels to engage in practical agriculture and entrepreneurship skills.
The state Executive Secretary of Schools Agriculture and Enterprise Agency (SAEA), Dr Funmilayo Ayeleso, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ado-Ekiti.
She said that the vision of the agency was to promote practical agriculture and enterprise projects for self reliance, entrepreneurship, reduction of poverty and hunger among secondary schools students.
Ayeleso explained that the agency is working tirelessly to sensitise and reawaken the consciousness of all principals, Agriculture teachers and students to practical agriculture enterprise projects in schools.
The executive secretary noted that in order to encourage practical agriculture in schools, the state governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, gave out a sum of N50,000 each to the 187 state-owned secondary schools in the state in September 2019.
She said that the governor’s interest was to promote practical agriculture in crop production and animal husbandry such as poultry, snailry, piggery, goatry and fishery as an extra curriculum activities for the students.
“The monitoring exercise by the agency was a wake up call to some principals and agriculture teachers who thought such government grant was business as usual.
“SAEA is equally happy at the consciousness of the students that practical agriculture is different from labour, as this was well spelt out in the Schools’ Subjects Time Tables.
“The importance of practical agriculture and enterprise project in schools cannot be over emphasised.
“To further encourage the schools in practical agriculture, Jackto Pumps were given by the government to sixty (60) schools. That was first phase. All the secondary schools in the state will still benefit from this gesture.
“The Jackto Pump will ease the clearing and preparation of farm land for crop production and equally used to spray weeds and pests that can inhibit improved and abundant farm produce.
“It’s a popular saying that you don’t expect what you don’t inspect. The effective monitoring of schools embarked on by the teams under the leadership of the Technical Adviser to the governor on Education, Dr Bimpe Aderiye, and myself, have put many Principals and Agric teachers on their toes, as far as practical agriculture is concerned.
“In addition, it provide avenues to offer professional counsels where such were needed. Permit me to say that the release of the Agric Grants to schools was first of its kind in the state and was a great motivation for the schools.
“Knowing full well that the grant was a token, but it served as a buffer that engender some Principals and Agric teachers to think outside the box.”
She therefore called on parents, principals, education stakeholders and the students, to join hands in restoring Ekiti values as far as practical agriculture and enterprise projects are concerned in all secondary schools in the state.
The executive secretary emphasised that education which cannot put food on the table is a waste of time.
He charged principals of the schools that benefited from the grant to utilize it judiciously, warning that any principal who divert the fund will be sanctioned and be made to refund it.