Five students of Fasola Grammar School in Oyo State have been trained by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) on the use of machines for agricultural productivity.
The training which took place at the school coincided with the visit of the state’s agriculture and education commissioners.
The training is a project of CGIAR-IITA Start Them Early Programme (STEP). But, the global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected school and STEP activities due to the measures put in place by different countries to combat the pandemic.
STEP extracurricular and club activities have been suspended for over a month, so this training served to refresh students’ memories as well as partially cover the scheme of work that has been missed since schools shut down and to sustain interaction with the school.
The training featured a demonstration on the use of the machines, a teaching session on the importance and functions of machines, repair and maintenance practices, and hands-on sessions.
When schools are allowed to re-open and lessons resume, the students trained and their teachers can train other students and ensure the transfer of peer-to-peer knowledge.
The commissioners visited the school to view the extent of STEP’s activities there and were impressed to see newly constructed incubation facilities, which consist of the processing centre for value addition, classrooms, changing room, store, computer laboratories, the renovated school hall, renovated blocks of classrooms (painting, roofing, and furnishing), and newly constructed toilets.
The construction of ultra-modern laboratories is ongoing. Since the commissioners witnessed the training, they provided support for trainers by motivating the students.
The STEP team was careful to maintain strict sanitary and safety measures to avoid the risk of COVID-19 contamination during the training and the commissioners’ visit by providing soap, water, sanitizer, disinfectant, gloves, and face masks.
Everyone was asked to wash their hands upon arrival, maintain physical distancing, and wear face masks and gloves whenever they had to touch general surfaces. The trainees wore their safety kits throughout, and every surface was disinfected before and after the training.
Both commissioners have now declared their support for IITA-STEP to ensure that FGS becomes a model in agribusiness education for other schools not only in Oyo but throughout Nigeria.