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Type Book Section - Students’ Engagement in an Extension Program in Agroecology for Subsistence Farmers at the Universidad Católica Santa Maria La Antigua (USMA), Panamá
Title Teaching Education for Sustainable Development at University Level
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
Page numbers 147-161
Publisher Springer
URL http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-32928-4_10
Experiential learning complements an education for sustainability that aims at becoming transformative in fostering students’ competencies in sustainable development. In this work we assessed the experience of a private institution of higher education in Panamá where a sample of its students was engaged in an extension program for farmers, during the academic year 2014–2015. As part of course work in agroecology, students assisted the investigators with the development of topics and materials to be employed for five one-day workshops that were taught at the university farm, located in Las Minas (Herrera province). In this region, also known as ‘Arco Seco’ or ‘Dry Arc’ region of Panamá the dry season causes severe water stresses. The chronic poverty in the farming communities nearby is strongly related to deforestation and amplified by its effects on the hydrologic water cycle and climate change. These factors put at risk food production and quality of life for the inhabitants in most parts of the region. USMA’s philosophy of education predicates that every student can be a vector (teacher) of positive change in sustainable development. Through this program we were able to put into practice the tenets of USMA’s vision and experience its educational power and benefits.

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