La Universidad Nacional de Educación (UNAE) in Azogues, 18 miles north of Cuenca, opens today for classes. The new university is one of four national specialty universities that the Ministry of Education hopes will transform Ecuador’s educational system. UNAE is dedicated to improving teacher education, from primary school through university graduate school.
Also holding its first classes today is the Universidad Yachay, the first phase of Ecuador’s ambitious Ciudad del Conocimiento, or City of Knowledge. President Rafael Correa envisions the ambitious project as a Latin American version of Silicon Valley.
According to administrators at the Ecuador Ministry of Education, UNAE, 18 miles from Cuenca, will bring in “the best teachers in the world” to train Ecuadorian teachers and professors. Officials say they expect to hire a number of Spanish faculty members.
The first class of 24 students was selected for high academic achievement and will join the faculty of UNAE if the meet testing standards when they complete their studies.
Azogues and Cuenca officials say the new university will have major impact on the local economy once it is running at its full capacity of 10,000 students.
Photo caption: Students at UNAE at orientation session; Photo credit: El Tiempo