Knockalva Agricultural School, Hanover, Jamaica
Nestled in the rural community of Ramble, Hanover is the Knockalva Agricultural School (KAS). Knockalva is a co-educational institution owned and operated by the Government of Jamaica WI under the auspices of the Ministry of Education.
The school provides education and training for young persons with career interest in agriculture. f
The school is located in the Greater Great River Water Shed midway between Savanna-La-Mar, Westmoreland and Montego Bay, St. James in the Eastern section of Hanover.
Knockalva is situated on two hundred and sixteen (216) acres of heavily forested land, all of which is used as an outdoor classroom or living laboratory which draws together the learning principles and teaching methodologies associated with the various fields of agricultural education, environmental education, science education, place based education outdoor and adventure education.
A primary focus of these types of programs is to use real life hands on applications to enliven principles and concepts formally taught within the walled classroom. The main building of the school, the great house, was constructed around 1859 and was owned by Ivan Malcolm, a Scottish planter.
The present structure is a replacement of the original great house which was burnt to the ground by followers of the late National Hero Sam Sharpe during the Christmas rebellion of 1831. Over the years, the building has been used for many different purposes. It was once the living quarters for staff.
However, today the renovated building accommodates the business offices, staff-room, conference room, library, kitchen and dining areas.
There have been changes to the name of school over the years; the chronology of Nomenclature is as follows:
- * Established as Knockalva Practical Training centre in 1940
- * Knockalva Rural Secondary Technical School in 1960
- * Knockalva Agricultural Training Centre in 1968
- * Amalgamated with the Secondary School to become Knockalva Agricultural Secondary and Vocational Complex in 1977
- * Reclassified as Knockalva Agricultural School in 1980
The various name changes are good indicators of the focus of the Ministry of Education and the strength of specialization of the school at (various decades) points in our history.
The distinct paradigm shift is however, is seen from General Technical and Vocational Specialization to a more science based agricultural focus.