Thursday, May 15, 2014

Educational presentation @ PUCE

On May 15, 2014 the group went to hear an educational talk at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (PUCE). Although all the discussions that we have heard have been interesting and informational, the talk presented by Dr. Nelson Reascos Vallejo was my favorite thus far.  His presentation was in regards to the educational system in Ecuador. He discussed various topics such as the generation of the universities, the objectives of the universities, and the effects of the new regulations for universities that was implemented by Correa passing mandate 14(?). Although the professor presented a biased opinion, it was refreshing to hear someone challenge the positive views of the education system that our group has been hearing.

            One topic that the professor covered in his presentation that I found interesting was when he discussed about the grading scheme created by C.E.S, C.E.A.C.E.S, and SENESCYT for universities in Quito.  The grading scheme is based on letters A to E with A being the highest and E being the lowest grade. It was shocking to hear that 14 universities in Quito have been closed due to receiving a letter grade of E and 40,000 students have been displaced because of this process. From my understanding from the presentation, the students of the closed universities have not received anything in compensation for the government shutting down their school. This means that those students did not get refunded their tuition, accreditation or acknowledgement for the progress in their programs, nor were they able to transfer their grades/courses to different universities.  I was shocked to here that the government did not support the students who were displaced.

The new regulations and policies defined by Correa’s government state that students must take two exams in the middle of the degree and two at the final (one is about general knowledge and the other is specific to program) as well as an exam before becoming a certified professional. The one similarity that I can see between the University of Manitoba (U of M) and the system in Ecuador is some degree programs have a final exam at the end of the program.  For example programs in law, medicine, nursing, and physiotherapy have final examinations before students can become certified professionals. However, U of M is different in the sense that degree programs do not take two exams in the middle of the degree or at the end, the courses have there own midterms and finals.  I found it interesting that the general exams the students take in Ecuador are based on questions from all fields around the degree program. For example, if a student were specializing in criminology during the general exam period they would have to have knowledge in all of general sociology. I find this very unfair to students and would make it very difficult to do well.  Overall I found his presentation to be extremely interesting and very informative.

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