From the Executive Editor
The importance of education around the world cannot be overstated. Education comes in a variety of forms – structured classroom based to “hands-on” experiential education to place based community education to unstructured learning that begins as soon as we take our first breath. The process of education permeates any context and plays a significant role in concert with other processes such as communication and leadership.
There is an inherent value to education; one that can be felt by learners and is celebrated within communities. The benefits of education are substantial. Historically, education has served as a catalyst to move society forward; education has been credited with encouraging higher rates of societal production, quicker adoption of technological change, development of government and business leaders and empowering women and minorities. From the opposite perspective, the absence of education (or access to it) has been cited as a primary reason for a lack of progress in developing countries. Education, it seems, can be found at the crossroads of good and evil.
Within this issue of JIAEE, you will see the process of education presented in a variety of contexts. From a more domestic perspective, dig into the philosophical perspectives, significant events and forces that have been responsible for forging the United States’ approach to international agricultural development, or read about evaluating agricultural extension and advisory services through a governance lens to see the effect these extension services had on local farmers.
Taking a more international route, we find the topics varied and diverse. Learn about the benefits of Barrier Analysis within the communities of Guatemala; look into how faculty in the Haitian Agricultural Education and Training (AET) system build social capital among themselves; delve into the capacities needed for rural advisory service (RAS) networks to advocate effectively; or perhaps take a trip into the lives of BS Agriculture (BSA) students at the University of the Philippines and learn what explains their persistence of seeking education. Taking diversity even further, you will find articles addressing extension agents’ use of social media in Bangladesh, the utilization of the Livelihood Vulnerability Index in Jamaica, a narrative assessment of extension and advisory services in South Africa and a hermeneutical phenomenological study of the lived experiences of change agents in Haiti. Each of these articles continues to illustrate the importance of creating a space for effective education, no matter the context.
Within the JIAEE we have the luxury of looking at education and learning within a variety of cultures and from a variety of contexts. But one thing remains the same - the irrepressible need for effective education the world over. As educational reformer and philosopher John Dewey once said: Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.
From one lifelong learner to another, I hope that you thoroughly enjoy the collection of manuscripts we have within this issue of the JIAEE. I hope they stretch how you think about learning and education a little bit, as much as I hope you glean a nugget of two of knowledge to implement in your everyday life. Whatever your application, use it well.
Kristina D. Hains
Executive Editor, JIAEE