IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Effective participatory science education in a diverse Latin American population


  • Leonardo M. R. Ferreira

    (Clubes de Ciencia Bolivia Foundation
    University of California San Francisco)

  • Giovanni A. Carosso

    (Clubes de Ciencia Bolivia Foundation
    Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)

  • Natalia Montellano Duran

    (Clubes de Ciencia Bolivia Foundation)

  • Soad V. Bohorquez-Massud

    (Clubes de Ciencia Bolivia Foundation
    Harvard Medical School)

  • Gustavo Vaca-Diez

    (Clubes de Ciencia Bolivia Foundation
    Italian Hospital of Buenos Aires)

  • Laura Ines Rivera-Betancourt

    (Clubes de Ciencia Bolivia Foundation
    Salamanca University)

  • Yara Rodriguez

    (Clubes de Ciencia Bolivia Foundation
    Northwestern University)

  • Dalila G. Ordonez

    (Clubes de Ciencia Bolivia Foundation
    Harvard University)

  • Diana K. Alatriste-Gonzalez

    (Clubes de Ciencia Bolivia Foundation
    Charité CrossOver, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin)

  • Aldo Vacaflores

    (Clubes de Ciencia Bolivia Foundation)

  • Lilian Gonzalez Auza

    (Clubes de Ciencia Bolivia Foundation
    Technological University of Berlin)

  • Christian Schuetz

    (Clubes de Ciencia Bolivia Foundation
    Massachusetts General Hospital)

  • Lucia Elena Alvarado-Arnez

    (Clubes de Ciencia Bolivia Foundation
    Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz))

  • Carolina V. Alexander-Savino

    (Clubes de Ciencia Bolivia Foundation
    Rochester General Hospital Research Institute)

  • Omar Gandarilla

    (Clubes de Ciencia Bolivia Foundation
    Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center)

  • Mohammed A. Mostajo-Radji

    () (Clubes de Ciencia Bolivia Foundation
    University of California San Francisco)


Abstract Particular challenges exist for science education in the developing world, where limited resources require curricula designed to balance state-of-the-art knowledge with practical and political considerations in region-specific contexts. Project-based biology teaching is especially difficult to execute due to high infrastructural costs and limited teacher training. Here, we report the results of implementing short, challenging, and low-cost biology courses to high school and college students in Bolivia, designed and taught in collaboration between scientists from developed nations and local science instructors. We find our approach to be effective at transmitting advanced topics in disease modeling, microscopy, genome engineering, neuroscience, microbiology, and regenerative biology. We find that student learning through this approach was not significantly affected by their background, education level, socioeconomic status, or initial interest in the course. Moreover, participants reported a heightened interest in pursuing scientific careers after course completion. These results demonstrate efficacy of participatory learning in a developing nation, and suggest that similar techniques could drive scientific engagement in other developing economies.

Suggested Citation

  • Leonardo M. R. Ferreira & Giovanni A. Carosso & Natalia Montellano Duran & Soad V. Bohorquez-Massud & Gustavo Vaca-Diez & Laura Ines Rivera-Betancourt & Yara Rodriguez & Dalila G. Ordonez & Diana K. A, 2019. "Effective participatory science education in a diverse Latin American population," Palgrave Communications, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 5(1), pages 1-18, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:palcom:v:5:y:2019:i:1:d:10.1057_s41599-019-0275-0
    DOI: 10.1057/s41599-019-0275-0

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Abstract
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Claude Montmarquette & Nathalie Viennot-Briot & Marcel Dagenais, 2007. "Dropout, School Performance, and Working while in School," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(4), pages 752-760, November.
    2. Verónica Paz Arauco & George Gray Molina & Ernesto Yáñez Aguilar & Wilson Jiménez Pozo, 2014. "Explaining Low Redistributive Impact in Bolivia," Public Finance Review, , vol. 42(3), pages 326-345, May.
    3. López-Videla, Bruno & Machuca, Carlos Emilio, 2014. "The Effects of Remittances on Poverty at the Household Level in Bolivia: A Propensity Score Matching Approach," MPRA Paper 55201, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Peter Nunnenkamp & Rainer Schweickert & Manfred Wiebelt, 2007. "Distributional Effects of FDI: How the Interaction of FDI and Economic Policy Affects Poor Households in Bolivia," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 25(4), pages 429-450, July.
    5. repec:rfa:journl:v:6:y:2018:i:6:p:1-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Michael Coon, 2016. "Remittances and child labor in Bolivia," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-26, December.
    7. Psacharopoulos, George & Arieira, Carlos R. & Mattson, Robert, 1997. "Private education in a poor country: The case of urban Bolivia," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 395-406, October.
    8. Crespo, Nuno Fernandes & Crespo, Cátia Fernandes, 2016. "Global innovation index: Moving beyond the absolute value of ranking with a fuzzy-set analysis," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(11), pages 5265-5271.
    9. Dobrota, Marina & Savic, Gordana & Bulajic, Milica, 2015. "A New Approach to the Evaluation of Countries’ Educational Structure and Development: The European Study," European Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 23(4), pages 553-565, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pal:palcom:v:5:y:2019:i:1:d:10.1057_s41599-019-0275-0. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla) or (Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.