Friday, September 4, 2009

A Call for Geoscience Training in Honduras

Currently there are only a handful of Honduran geologists in Honduras and this has been the status in the 20 years that I have been involved in Honduras. No Honduran University offers a degree program in the geosciences. The few Honduran geologists have all received their education and training outside of Honduras at program in the US, Russia, Costa Rica, Mexico etc. Many do not return to Honduras. I commend and respect those that do and Honduras benefits from their skills and knowledge in seismology and hazards, mining, environmental review and siting of infrastructure project such as roads and power facilities. However there are simply not enough geoscientists to meet the needs of public (from national to municipal level) and private (extractive resources, project development) sectors. Geological survey type investigations (basic mapping of geological resources) have been left to sporadic non-Honduran entities including mainly U.S. Universities, the Peace Corps, and foreign assistance projects. Of the 32 published geological maps at 1:50,000 scale, only ONE was mapped by living Honduran geologist. Geoscience knowledge of Honduras has been outsourced. Because this expertize does not reside in Honduran this knowledge and experience is of limited access to Honduras. I am one of these foreign experts.

This needs to change. A critical step is to increase the number of Honduran geoscientists. Costa Rica provides a mature model and Nicaragua provides an "in progress" model. Both started by 1) recognizing the need and then sending a handful of students to get geoscience education abroad, then 2) establishing positions for these pioneers at local universities where they became the teachers in 3) a degree granting program in the geosciences.

There are initial plans for a geoscience degree program in Honduras....I will be using this forum to promote this idea put forth by Luis Eveline at the Universidad Politécnica de Ingeniería (UPI) in Tegucigapla. As this plan develops, I will be providing details and asking for written support for this proposal from those interested in the advancement of the geosciences in Honduras.

Dr. Robert Rogers,
California State University, Stanislaus