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Ecuador rolls out online learning with the support of the UOC

  Photo: UOC

Photo: UOC

Helena Loaiza
Over 7,000 young people will begin studying online next semester in five public universities in Ecuador

Online education in Ecuador is taking its first steps towards increasing the reach of its higher education system. The Ecuadorian government has proposed rolling out five bachelor’s degree programmes under this system in the five public universities that have taken on this challenge: the Technical University of Manabí (UTM), the State University of Milagro (UNEMI), the Central University of Ecuador (UCE), the University of the Armed Forces (UFA-ESPE) and the Technical University of the North (UTN).

To implement this change to the educational model, the Secretariat for Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (SENESCYT) of the Government of Ecuador, has asked for the UOC’s advice as a university with over twenty years of experience as a quality online university. In response, a team of specialists from the UOC visited Ecuador this month to give a workshop where they highlighted the experiences, models and benefits of online courses in the Ecuadorian universities that are assuming the task of rolling out this type of education.

Ecuador's commitment to offer online degrees is already fruitful. More than 7,000 young people have enrolled for courses in Law, Tourism, Social Work, Psychology, Economics, Primary Education, Early Education, Software, Language Teaching and Social Communication, which will begin next semester.

“Online education is a solution for reaching more people and more regions”, claimed Javier Cusco, director of the Centre of Technology for Learning and Knowledge (CETAC) at the UTM. For her part, Gemma Xarles, director of Globalization and Cooperation at the UOC, stated that “there is no single online education model, but each university has to adapt to the educational context, the organizational model and the technical tools”. This is the assessment the UOC has made in other countries and universities, such as the Duoc UC, in Chile.

Civil servants from the Quality Assurance Council of Ecuador train at the UOC

As part of the plan to strengthen the quality of higher education of the Government of Ecuador, an agreement has just been formalized between the Higher Education Quality Assurance Council of Ecuador (CACES) and the UOC. CACES is the Ecuadorian agency responsible for policy presidency for the quality assessment, accreditation and assurance of higher education institutions. The aim of the agreement is for state workers at the Ecuadorian agency to train with the UOC’s official range of courses.

“For the UOC, it’s very important to work with the institutions that assure the quality of higher education in their countries”, claimed Pastora Martínez Samper, Vice President for Globalization and Cooperation at the UOC. For his part, Gabriel Galarza López, president of CACES, stated that signing this agreement is a step towards confirming Ecuador’s commitment to strengthening and implementing quality management and assessment processes for the Ecuadorian higher education system.

There are currently eight civil servants studying on the UOC University Master's Degree in Quality Management and Evaluation in Higher Education under the terms of this agreement. “The experience has been highly gratifying as we receive students from all over the world, which enriches classroom learning”, explained Gabriela Pila, student and civil servant at CACES.

The agreement determines the awarding of study grants to state workers in this agency for a period of four years, with the possibility of an extension.