For education to make an impact on society, it needs to go beyond theoretical or technical knowledge–it must be accompanied by a deep respect for both nature and humanity. A recently completed study reveals that EARTH’s innovative educational model has been successful in providing our graduates with the core values that contribute to the sustainability of our planet: social awareness, professional ethics and environmental conservation.
The study sought to measure the impact of EARTH graduates in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua who were given scholarships by the Royal Norwegian Embassy. In total, researchers surveyed 141 graduates, in addition to many of their employers and coworkers. Seventeen alumni were highlighted in the impact study, which was completed by the Research Institute for Development in Education, part of the Iberoamerican University in Mexico City. The impact study shows that EARTH’s holistic education and focus on sustainability and values are essential ingredients for the formation of ethical professionals.
One of the most important findings of the study was that 97% of graduates interviewed have returned to their country of origin, fulfilling their promise to “go back and give back.” The report also reveals that 85% of graduates are fulfilling EARTH’s mission by promoting both cultural diversity and social equality in their companies, while 74% of alumni are positively impacting biodiversity conservation in their countries.
According to researcher Carlos Rodriguez, “What surprised me was the importance of values in education. When I asked the graduates ‘What was the most useful thing you learned in your university education?’ they told me, ‘The values that we learned.’”
EARTH graduates are expected to create positive changes in their families, communities and country. An example of this is alumnus Pablo Siles (’98, Nicaragua) who self-identifies as an “agro-scientist” and currently works in regional development projects, helping rural producers to improve their crops and yields. “I do think it is important to make changes in our immediate surroundings, such as changing and improving work relationships, but we must also strive to create impact on a larger scale to begin finding solutions for Nicaragua’s problems,” says Pablo.
In fulfilling EARTH’s mission, many graduates face challenges like conflicting ideologies and work styles in places where social awareness and caring for the environment are still ideas in debate– bringing ideas of justice and prosperity aren’t necessarily well-received in every community. That’s why the job that awaits these graduates is one that goes far beyond theory; it has to do with challenging established paradigms and the value of working for the common good.
The success of EARTH graduates shows that values, professional ethics and a profound connection with nature and community are important elements in securing sustainability and the future of our planet.
Soon we will be sharing more information about the study.
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