Higher Education in and for Rural Bolivia: Key Stakeholders' Perceptions of the Educational Experiences of Students who have Attended Unidad Academica Campesina Carmen Pampa

Claudio Roberto Merisio, Florida International University

Abstract

Unidad Académica Campesina-Carmen Pampa (UAC-CP) is an institution of higher education located in the rural community of Carmen Pampa, in the Nor Yungas region of Bolivia. As articulated in its mission, the goal of UAC-CP is to prepare young Bolivians to serve their community as professionals with a commitment to bettering the lot of the poorest among them. This research attempted to answer a main question: What are the perceptions of key UAC-CP stakeholders of how the college prepares seniors and alumni to serve their communities as professionals? The sub-question was: What professional endeavors have seniors and alumni pursued upon completion of their course work or graduation from UAC-CP? In this qualitative single case study, the researcher conducted semi-structured interviews with a former director of UAC-CP, three UAC-CP founders, one senior and nine of the college’s alumni. In addition, the researcher conducted a document review and led a focus group session with seven UAC-CP faculty members. Upon analysis of the data collected in the interviews and document review, the researcher identified seven themes that are directly linked to the research question and sub-question: perceived strengths and weaknesses of the college, professional endeavors pursued by seniors and alumni, living in community, community service and reciprocity (ayni), focus on value and spiritual enrichment, a unique opportunity, and financial challenges. The first theme had two subthemes: college strengths and college weaknesses; the second theme had two subthemes: financial need and service; the last theme also had two subthemes: the selection process, and rising costs and oscillating revenues. In conclusion, stakeholders and documents indicated that in the two decades of its existence, UAC-CP has contributed both to the advancement of human capabilities of its students and to the development of potentialities of the communities that are served by the college’s faculty, staff, and present and former students. In spite of some areas of concern such as the college’s finances and Internet access, the data collected and analyzed throughout this study indicate that UAC-CP has positively affected the lives of those who have been part of the college’s creation, operations, and academic formation processes.^

Subject Area

Bilingual education|Multicultural Education|Education

Recommended Citation

Merisio, Claudio Roberto, "Higher Education in and for Rural Bolivia: Key Stakeholders' Perceptions of the Educational Experiences of Students who have Attended Unidad Academica Campesina Carmen Pampa" (2015). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI10002878.
https://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/dissertations/AAI10002878

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