ECUADOR: Salesian Polytechnic University inaugurates new modern laboratory building
(MissionNewswire) The Salesian Polytechnic University which launched in 1994, has campuses in Cuenca, Guayaquil and Quito, Ecuador. Recently, the Guayaquil campus inaugurated a new building complete with modern laboratories used for automotive, mechatronics, electronics and automation, electrotechnics, telecommunications and information technology courses. The new 7,500 square meter building has seven floors and is connected to an existing building by an innovative bridge.
The inaugural event included speakers, a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a tour of the new facility which features new equipment and instruments that will ensure quality education for students. University leadership, teachers and students attended the event including Father Javier Herrán, rector of the university, Andrés Bayolo, vice-chancellor, Father Francisco Sánchez, provincial of Ecuador, and Reinhard Heiserer and Michael Richter, director of and member of the Salesian organization, Jugend Eine Welt.
“We are very happy with the results achieved. Whenever I have the opportunity to come here, I see that new things have been created where students can put their knowledge into practice,” said Heiserer.
Students have been impressed by the new facilities and upgraded equipment. Oscar Morquecho, a current student, said, “On behalf of all the students, I would like to thank all the authorities for the transformation and constant growth of this institution which in recent years has enabled thousands of young people, often with scarce economic resources, to have a study center with a high academic profile available.”
The Salesian Polytechnic University focuses on providing a college-level education 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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UNICEF – Ecuador