Student Exchange in Agriculture
Barbados Community College (BCC) and Essex County College (ECC), New Jersey
Twenty-six persons including three tutors and twenty-three students currently enrolled in Associate Degree in Agriculture programme at the Barbados Community College will travel to Essex County College (ECC) New Jersey on Sunday 1 June, 2014 for a period of two weeks. BCC and ECC are embarking on a series of student exchange programmes towards developing knowledge, skills and experience in agricultural methods to benefit students and faculty at both educational institutions and by extension the Barbadian Agricultural Sector.
This exchange programme provides students with the opportunity to learn and gain hands on experience in the field of hydroponics and its utilisation for the production of a range of fruits and vegetables. Over the two week period at Essex County College, the tutors and the students will seek to learn several key aspects of hydroponic farming with the aim of utilising the knowledge gain in the Agriculture programme at BCC and in Barbados generally.
The students involved in the programmes will exchange a wealth of knowledge in the short time span in which they will interact with each other and learn more about food production and its importance to national growth. This belief falls in line with the Government of Barbados emphasis on promoting lifelong learning; development of a seamless education system; bridging the gap between academic and technical skills; and expansion of the provision and quality of technical and vocational education and training. In seeking to continue to grow the agricultural sector in Barbados there are a number of fundamental skills and competencies that will be developed over the next few years through this exchange programme.
The Collaboration between BCC and Essex County College was initiated by the St. Patrick's Heritage and Community Association through Ambassador H.E. Hon Robert Morris and Rev. Garvey Ince who introduced the President of Essex College, Dr. Gayle Gibson, to the Principal and senior staff of the Barbados Community College. This first exchange was facilitated with the assistance of the Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development through funding from the Barbados Human Resource Development Strategy and corporate sponsorship.
Overall the programme will create a valuable educational, cultural and tourism exchange between the faculties and students at both colleges. As educational institutions, both colleges see the benefits to creating links between education and industry. BCC plans to continue to develop programmes of this type which can aid in the revitalisation of important sectors of our economy. The continual growth of the agricultural sector is critical to food security and revenue generation in Barbados. The Associate Degree in Agriculture is a two and an half year programme offered by the Barbados Community College. Students are placed on job attachments to learn all aspects of farming and horticulture and seek to travel to other regions to develop their skills further.