Simón Bolívar UWC of Agriculture
Context and impact
Simón Bolívar UWC of Agriculture became non operational as a UWC in September 2011 as a result of actions taken by the Venezuelan government. In March 2012 classes resumed on the college’s campus under the new name of Universidad Politécnica Territorial de Estado Barinas ‘José Félix Ribas’. This was subsequently confirmed in a government resolution issued by the Ministry of Popular Power for University Education. The UWC International Board agreed at their meeting in May 2012 to accept its formal closure.
Since its foundation in 1986 (becoming a UWC college in 1988), Simón Bolívar UWC, located in Barinas State in Venezuela, offered a unique UWC experience to more than 1000 students. As UWC’s only vocational college, it provided a technical university level education to 18-21 year olds, both Venezuelan and international, focusing on Latin America and the Carribean. The three-year course was a 70% hands-on experiential education programme and equips students to work in agriculture and rural development. Its ‘learning by doing’ approach enabled students to gain practical experience in animal and vegetable production, mechanisation and farm administration.
Community involvement was an integral part of both the curriculum and service programme and the college developed strong links with the rural farming communities surrounding it. First year students volunteered in local schools every week on areas as diverse as sex education, the environment, journalism and sports. During the second year, students worked with a local community to create and deliver a project. In the third year students worked in groups on a four-week internship in a rural community and then gained experience working on a commercial farm for 16 weeks.
Both through its rural development programmes and the work of its alumni, it has had a significant and lasting impact on communities locally, nationally and globally.
Profiles of Simón Bolívar UWC alumni working in:
United World Articles
Adding value to the land
, May 2010 edition
United World Forest,
January 2009 edition