Jose Roberto Guevara is a popular environmental educator who effectively combines his knowledge, skills, and experience as a practitioner, scholar, and policy advocate in his roles as President of Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE) and Vice-President of the International Council of Adult Education (ICAE), two of the strongest international NGO networks promoting adult education policy and practice.
Guevara’s major contribution to the field of adult education has been in the area of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). Within his work in ASPBAE and ICAE, he steered the development of environmental adult education principles in the Asia-Pacific region from the practice of the region’s civil society organizations. He is leading the process of re-contextualization of these principles, thus helping build the analytical competencies of civil society networks to advocate strongly for the central role adult education should play in adaptation and mitigation strategies to address the climate crisis. He has also made significant contributions in the development of an innovative grassroots environmental education curriculum in the Philippines through his work with the Center for Environmental Concerns.
While he is well known as an inspiring, animated facilitator and teacher, he has promoted learning partnerships—linking individuals and organizations in education practice and promoting shared responsibility in addressing problems through learning-based solutions that co-generate knowledge. This approach is based on the principles of participatory action research and reflective practice, both long-standing practices within adult education.
Guevara’s greatest contribution has been the development and application of the practice of progressive contextualization and learning partnerships to ESD in programs with successful outcomes across other institutional contexts, countries, and levels.
This influenced how the Environmental Management Bureau in the Philippines began to work with youth environmental groups in schools and communities. At a regional level, this practice influenced the training approach of the South East Asia Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).
As an Expert Panel member for the ESD of the Asia-Pacific Cultural Center for UNESCO (ACCU), this practice influenced the design, implementation, and evaluation of in-country projects for the Decade of ESD. He contributed to the development of the Holistic, Ownership-based, Participatory, and Empowering (HOPE) Framework, which has resulted in a story-based participatory evaluation approach that ACCU has applied in documenting successful ESD projects of government and civil society organizations in countries like Thailand, the Philippines, Bhutan, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
In the area of curriculum development in higher education, as a senior lecturer in International Studies and International Development at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia, he developed an undergraduate course called Global Learning: Education Policy and Practice for a Learning Society and a postgraduate course called Learning and Participation in Development. Both establish the role of adult and continuing education within education policy and within the context of international aid and development, respectively. Both courses are taught using participatory and context-based adult education approaches. As researcher, his projects and publications demonstrate his commitment to transformative adult education practice informed by participatory action research and reflective practice.
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