Ecuador makes dramatic improvements in international education quality rankings

Mar 17, 2017 | 4 comments

Since 2006, the level of access and quality of education have made impressive gains in Ecuador, according to a new study.

President Rafael Correa with school children in Ambato.

Researchers from the National Education University in Azoguez, Ricardo Restrepo and Efstathios Stefos, released findings Wednesday that access to education has increased by 30 percent at the high school level and 59 percent in higher education institutions in the country in the past 10 years.

Education is one of the major topics in the presidential campaign that pits Lenin Moreno, former vice president under President Rafael Correa, and former Guayaquil banker Guillermo Lasso. Moreno promises to continue current policies while Lasso says he will make major changes to the system, reducing costs and increasing university-level career choices for high school graduates.

Restrepo and Stefos presented their findings in Quito, in their new book Atlas of the Right to Education in the Years of the Citizen’s Revolution, referring to the years of Correa’s government.

“The political will to invest is an element that allowed the transformation of education to develop in Ecuador between 2006 and 2016,” said Restrepo.

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Regarding enrollment, the study shows growth of 97.54 percent, compared to figures such as 96.78 percent in Finland, considered the most successful educational system in the world.

Restrepo said the results show the effectiveness of a concerted state policy to address the “social debt” the government owed to society in assuring the right to education for all citizens.

“If we have rights declared in any instrument it is dead paper if there are no public policies that have a strategy in a democratic system,” said Restrepo.

In competitiveness, figures measured from 2006 to 2016 show Ecuador has climbed in ranking compared to countries including Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Finland, Peru, Spain and the U.S.

“Ecuador rises 27 places in this ranking when the rest of countries fall,” said Restrepo. “This means that Ecuador is the country that is improving the most and is rapidly transforming.”

According to co-author Stefos, investment in education increased over the past years and played a central role in the success of increasing quality and access to education. “In the last school year, children received three million free books, almost two million breakfasts, 1.5 million uniforms. When we talk about millions of students, we talk about billions of dollars invested, it’s an incredible investment,” said Stefos.

The book uses figures by the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses, regional comparative studies from Unesco, and data from the Global Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum.

In the presidential campaign, Moreno claims that Lasso’s proposals to reduce federal control of education will reverse recent gains. Lasso counters that the system has become too centralized in Quito, too expensive and “too socialistic.”

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Credit: Portions of this article are from TeleSurtv news agency.

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