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ERIC Number: EJ1129589
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1467-6370
Higher Education for Sustainable Development at EARTH University
Rodríguez-Solera, Carlos Rafael; Silva-Laya, Marisol
International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, v18 n3 p278-293 2017
Purpose: The purpose of this article is to present the experience of a Central American university that has been successfully advancing an educational model focused on sustainability for over 25 years. Many universities in industrialized nations are assuming a more active role in promoting sustainable development, while in emerging countries, interest in this issue is recent and not well known. Design/methodology/approach: A study was conducted on perceptions of the impact from graduates of EARTH ("Escuela de Agricultura de la Región Tropical Húmeda") University in Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala, utilizing a mixed methodology that combined the application of a standardized questionnaire, together with focus groups of graduates, and semi-structured interviews of graduates, their employers, members of their communities, clients of the companies where they work and colleagues. Findings: Agricultural engineers who received their education at EARTH University have had a positive social, economic and environmental impact in their communities of origin. They have taken on leadership positions and have become change agents who are aware of the social needs around them. They contribute to economic growth and job creation, and at the same time, promote sustainable management of natural resources. Research limitations/implications: It is a case study and their findings are limited. Practical implications: Learning about EARTH University's experience may be useful for other higher education institutions seeking to cultivate this perspective in their degree programs, and for academics who support a fundamental reorientation in higher education aimed at confronting the challenge of promoting sustainable development. Social implications: The results established that most of the agronomists who studied at EARTH University are having a positive economic, social and environmental influence, which appears to be closely associated with their university education. This suggests that higher education may in effect play an important role in promoting sustainability and contributing elements for advancing this perspective in higher education in Latin America. Originality/value: This study of EARTH University's educational model reveals that, in the case of Latin America, education for sustainability cannot be limited to providing training in natural resources management. The promotion of inclusive development supposes that students have learned how to manage productive activities that are economically and socially sustainable, and that students have received a solid education in values, aimed at fostering a commitment to build a fairer society.
Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley, West Yorkshire, BD16 1WA, UK. Tel: +44-1274-777700; Fax: +44-1274-785201; e-mail: emerald@emeraldinsight.com; Web site: http://www.emeraldinsight.com
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Guatemala; Honduras; Nicaragua