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ECUADOR: Salesian Polytechnic University celebrates its 25th anniversary providing higher education

(MissionNewswire) The Salesian Polytechnic University, with campuses in Cuenca, Guayaquil and Quito, Ecuador, celebrated its 25th anniversary with a cultural caravan that started on June 18 at the Quito campus. The entire university community gathered to enjoy music, traditional dances and theater performed by students from various groups of the Salesian Association of Universities in the country.

The Salesian Polytechnic University was started on Aug. 4, 1994 with nearly 800 students taking coursework in electromechanics, human sciences, social sciences, livestock, agro-industrial, technical, administrative, engineering and religious sciences.

Currently, the university is the largest of all Salesian universities with more than 24,500 students. In 2019, for the first time, the university ranked within the top 100 universities in Latin America competing with 4,000 in the region. Across its three campuses, the university offers 27 degree programs and 10 doctorate programs, 62 research groups, 10 educational innovation groups and 98 Salesian Association of Universities groups.

Father Francisco Sánchez, Salesian provincial in Ecuador and grand chancellor of the Salesian Polytechnic University, attended the first day of the cultural caravan and noted, “These 25 years of service to young people are an expression of our Salesian vocation. It is here that we try to recreate a youthful environment where every person can develop his qualities and qualities not only academic, but also human.”

The Provincial also gave a message to students, reminding them that they have an ability to succeed and that Salesian educators are always there to help them and address any concerns they might have. He noted that the students have an opportunity to become transformative agents of society.

The Salesian Polytechnic University focuses on providing a college-level education, particularly to indigenous students. A residence hall built by Salesian missionaries specifically for indigenous students allows them to live and work together, sharing customs and knowledge. The university also provides opportunities for these students to share their indigenous traditions with teachers and peers.

Salesian missionaries in Ecuador focus on providing education, social programming and workforce development to help the country’s most vulnerable citizens. Technical and vocational education is also provided to help youth gain the skills needed to find and retain long-term stable employment.

Ecuador’s poverty rate was 36.7 percent in 2007 and dropped to 22.9 percent in 2016. These results show that 1.4 million Ecuadorians escaped poverty within nine years. However, many Ecuadorians still live in impoverished conditions. Ecuador is one of the most inequitable societies in the world, according to UNICEF. The richest 20 percent of the population receives almost 50 percent of the national income, while the poorest 20 percent receives only 5 percent. According to the World Food Program, almost 26 percent of all children under age 5 have stunted growth, increasing to 31 percent in rural areas and 47 percent in indigenous communities.

Close to 20 percent of Ecuador’s population are people of indigenous heritage. For poor, rural and indigenous youth, education provides the best opportunity for finding employment, reducing inequities and breaking the cycle of poverty. Salesian missionaries have been providing education and other social programs for disadvantaged youth across Ecuador for more than 125 years.



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