The Calkiní Technological Institute of Higher Education is located in the Mayan indigenous influence zone in the state of Campeche, Mexico. It has 19 years of experience in training professionals, serving an approximate annual population of 1500 students. It currently offers nine academic programs, including Engineering in Sustainable Agricultural Innovation (IIAS).
Around 85% of the students in the IIAS are from rural communities, and some of them are even the first in their families to attend university.
The adoption of the principles of the Transforming Higher Education project in the educational model of the Sustainable Agricultural Innovation program has had important results after one year of implementation. These results can be divided into four areas: institutional, educational, student and community.
The enrollment of new students at IIAS has ranged between 20 and 22 students each cycle since its inception, however, on September 21 2020, when the new academic year began, there was a noticeable increase of 40% in the enrollment of first-time students. This is really important considering that IIAS is now being considered as the first choice of studies by these students.
The success of the Transforming Higher Education model applied at IIAS has been such, that other educational programs of the institute have been interested in replicating it, gradually integrating key components promoted by the project.
It has been observed that the teacher’s workload has decreased, as preparing the lessons in advance allows a more fluid interaction between the teacher and the student and offers the student a more amicable way of taking the course. On the other hand, the field work and community work have made it possible to address real and specific situations enhancing meaningful student learning.
Working with communities and their families gave students the opportunity to apply a combination of theoretical knowledge acquired at the university to real world problems and complement it with ancestral knowledge and techniques learned from the community as used and transmitted from generation to generation, which allowed the recovery and strengthening of traditional knowledge that they denote as an empowerment of their culture.
Each of these achievements brings the students closer to the objective of improving sustainability in the development of social, economic and environmental well-being of the communities in the area of influence of the Yucatan Peninsula. For example, the promotion of self-production and self-consumption using agroecological techniques and producing their own organic vermicompost, together with the management and care of their orchards can improve the health conditions of the local populations.
We wish all of the best to TESCAM’s Sustainable Agricultural Innovation team, students, and its (IIAS) educational program, committed to training professionals who are ethical leaders and agents of change.
We congratulate you for this incredible work!