Describing Secondary Agricultural Education in the Central Valley Canton of Turrialba, Costa Rica: A Case Study

Open Access
Hoover, Allison Nicole
Area of Honors:
Agricultural and Extension Education
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Daniel Douglas Foster, Thesis Supervisor
  • Daniel Douglas Foster, Honors Advisor
  • John Ewing, Faculty Reader
  • Melanie Joy Miller Foster, Faculty Reader
  • agricultural education
  • international agriculture
  • case study
  • secondary education
  • Costa Rica
  • Turrialba
  • global competency
Education is of major importance in Costa Rica, reflected by over 6% of GDP expenditures. The agricultural industry is of vital significance to the economy of many rural towns of Costa Rica, especially in the fertile Central Valley. Evaluation and discussion of secondary agricultural education in Costa Rica, however, is not extensively recorded. Case studies are developed, using multiple data sources, on populations not commonly analyzed. The purpose of this case study was to compile a general description of secondary agricultural education programs in the Central Valley town of Turrialba, Costa Rica. Data was collected to: describe the scope of the schools; discuss curriculum standards and courses; and assess perceptions of agricultural education by administrators, teachers, and students. Data collection methods included interviewing, observations, physical artifact collection, and photographs. Of the many secondary schools in Turrialba, two offer agricultural education courses. The first is an urban semi-public bilingual school which offers mandatory courses in agriculture for the first three years of education. The second is a technical school in a rural area outside of Turrialba. The emphasis of this school’s technical affiliation is agriculture with foci in: production agriculture, agroecology, and food processing. Agriculture curriculum is sourced from the country’s education ministry for the technical school, but not for the bilingual school. Perceptions of agricultural education are positive, yet enrollment is a concern. This study describes a vibrant region with pride in agriculture but minimal success in promoting agriculture as a potential and successful career field. Research recommendations from the study are to visit and observe other agricultural education programs in the country.