A novel plan by the Inter-American Institute of Cooperation for Agriculture (IICA) seeks that students from rural areas of Costa Rica get closer to agriculture, biological, and environmental sciences, which aims to contribute to the improvement of skills and the quality of life of rural populations.
“In Costa Rica, as in the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean, agriculture is the main source of livelihood in rural areas, but it has little weight in the curriculum of the schools that operate there. This has repercussions on low levels of learning and the dropout of young people from the educational system, a poverty trap that must be reversed, “said IICA Director General Manuel Otero.
The initiative is an alliance in which IICA, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Microsoft company, and on the part of the Government, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), and the Ministry of Public Education (MEP).
The initiative will promote education in biological, agricultural, and environmental sciences in the Central American country through a pilot plan in secondary schools located in the provinces of Puntarenas (Pacific) and Limón (Limón).
Novel educational model
The work plan consists of 36 months in which an educational model for teaching and learning of natural and environmental sciences will be tested, as well as promoting interest in professional careers in agriculture.
This to address the needs of the rural reality, increase the inclusion of women, boost the profitability of agriculture, and reduce migration from the countryside to the cities, indicated IICA.
To strengthen technological skills
“Strengthening the technological skills of students in decentralized areas of the country is a strategy that will undoubtedly have a positive impact on improving the quality of life of students, their families and communities”, said the director of Technical Education of the MEP, Pablo Masís.
The Director of Education for Microsoft Latin America, Luciano Braverman, said that supporting education in all areas, but especially in rural areas, requires much more than technology.
“It is necessary to review models, build relevant pedagogical proposals, create digital content articulated with local problems and promote professional teacher development in a systematic way along with the formation of communities of practice,” said Braverman.
The initiative aims to contribute to the transformation of the rural education model towards one with less urban bias, more modern, and with greater use of technologies, of face-to-face and virtual application, indicating the parties.
For the construction of this model, IICA will integrate parents, teachers, students, and agricultural producers from rural areas of Puntarenas and Limón, where agriculture and tourism are some of the most important economic activities. Subsequently, around 100 teachers will receive training and continuous technical assistance for the implementation of the new approach in the educational process.
The investment for the development of this model is close to one million dollars, mainly from the Poverty Reduction Program of the Special Fund of Japan, administered by the IDB, plus contributions from IICA and Microsoft.