Dominican Republic and ECPA to lead regional energy education efforts

Thursday, April 16, 2015

OAS-ECPA and government representatives met in Santo Domingo and agreed that the Dominican Republic would serve as liaison between the Caribbean and Latin America to raise awareness on the importance of sustainable development and, more specifically, the role played by renewable energy and energy efficiency in the latter. The objective of these meetings held between March 27-28 were to identify the content and strategies for preparing a national education pilot project on renewable energy and energy efficiency replicable in other countries across the region.

“It is not only important to incorporate renewable energy and energy efficiency in curricular content, but to empower teachers with the appropriate tools so they feel confident to transmit the concept of energy to a classroom, resulting in a change of behavior among students regarding its use” commented Carolina Peña, SECBI manager. This ECPA/SECBI project essentially seeks to gather all the efforts currently being advanced by the Dominican Republic in order to assess how to better instruct teachers and students in this topic.

The meetings included working sessions with representatives from several government agencies engaged in education and energy to learn more about the work undertaken in this field at the national level and to identify other important curricular areas for raising awareness on environment protection and energy efficiency use. The meeting also included a focal group with 15 teachers from primary and secondary school to listen to their views on the educational materials and the training required to teach the science behind sustainable energy, and to exchange opinions on how to use these resources in a classroom.

The visit included a visit to the science fair for primary and secondary schools in Bajos de Haina, as part of the activities of the Water World Day. The students presented their projects, most of which addressed the energy-water nexus, such as hydroelectric dam projects. The visit concluded with a meeting with Pelegrín Castillo, Minister of Energy and Mines of Dominican Republic, at which he confirmed his government’s intent on pursuing educational opportunities in renewable energy and energy efficiency through the “Aula del saber energético y minero.” The coordination of this initiative with the SECBI pilot program has considerable potential to boost sustainable energy education in the region.