Agriculture and animal husbandry being taught at Maria Regina secondary school
A school limits of ‘Ta Żokrija”in Mosta which forms part of the Maria Regina College has a centre which affords students in the last three years of secondary school, an education into agriculture and animal husbandry. Spread over four thousand four hundred square metres of land, the Agri-Business Centre consists of an old farm and a stretch of land where students are able to learn about farming and villagers.
Three years ago, teacher Shawn Vella jumped at the opportunity to combine academic knowledge with his experience as the son born into a family which for generations had fields and animals.
“Here we basically have a paradise where you can put anything contained inside a book into practice.”
Throughout the course students learn other subjects such as biology and chemistry giving priority to health and safety. The classroom is equipped with all necessary equipment to teach students how to measure the acidity levels in soil and water nitrates.
Mr. Vella explained that each student who chooses this subject in the third year of secondary school is given a piece of land – 25 square metres. This is done for practical learning while they train in the irrigation systems and how much substance to give to products. The spray is not used.
Over the three year duration of the course, they are introduced to the concept of packing and learning how to package and present products to the consumer and how to keep aquarium fish and in a good state of repair.
They learn how to be beekeepers and about tree pruning.
Sean Vella, Agri-Business teacher said “we try to show them what’s what on their arrival so that by the time they get to MCAST, they can choose the path they really want. Last year we had 3 Form 5 students who pursued the course for an assistant vet. The course for a vet is not offered locally and one has to travel overseas ”
Students who choose this course come from different backgrounds. Some are children of farmers and villagers while others want to discover what this industry has to offer.
The course includes visits to farmers that specialise in particular fields – from cultivation of produce to the use of the l test technology in the industry.
Students from another college who expressed an interest in this subject are attending lessons in this agr-busness centre at the Maria Regina College in Mosta.