According to President Rafael Correa, Ecuador spends more of its gross domestic product (GDP) on higher education than any country in Latin America. Speaking yesterday at the University of Santiago in Chile, Correa also said that Ecuador commits the most resources to putting its poorest students through university.
In Chile to accept an honorary doctorate degree and visit new Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, Correa said that Ecuador invests 2% of its GDP on public university education while the average in Latin America is .08%. “This is our future,” Correa said. “Why not invest in it.”
In his speech before a packed house of students and Chilean dignitaries, Correa said that Ecuador “has managed to double the enrollment of the poor in our society, bringing in those who have historically been excluded from higher education, including the indigenous and blacks. They need a good education to receive the justice and opportunities that they deserve,” he said.
Correa touted the establishment of four new national universities, including one near Cuenca, intended to raise the standard of education in Ecuador.
Correa also said that Ecuador’s policy of offering free university education was the key to attracting students from all levels of society. The point received a standing ovation from students, many of who have protested the high cost of university tuition at Chile’s public universities.
During the visit, Correa met with Chilean President Bachelet, writer Isabel Allende, daughter of former President Salvador Allende, and the widow of Chilean singer Victor Jara, who was allegedly murdered by the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in 1990.
All foreign produced liquor in private hands in Ecuador, was illegal.
The national customs office has started an aggressive campaign to shut down businesses selling illegal clothing and alcohol and more than 100 stores, bars and restaurants have been closed since mid-April.
Photo caption: President Rafael Correa speaking at the University of Santiago, Chile; Photo credit: El Telegrafo