EL SALVADOR: Don Bosco University Biomedical Engineering Program Receives Recognition for Excellence in Academics
(MissionNewswire) Don Bosco University, located in San Salvador, is working to provide opportunities for advanced education and employment for disadvantaged youth in El Salvador. Approximately 6,000 students are enrolled at the University which maintains a strong link to the local employment sector through research, technology transfer programs, continuing education courses and consultancy services. Degree programs are offered in engineering, social sciences, humanities, economics, technology and aeronautics, among others.
Close to 35 percent of El Salvador’s population lives in poverty, according to the World Bank. Youth in the country are confronted not only with poverty but with instability, high levels of violence and inadequate access to educational opportunities. Despite ranking high for economic indicators, the need for practical education is more important than ever with 12 percent of youth ages 15-24 unemployed and 41 percent underemployed.
Recently, the University’s biomedical engineering program received recognition and five-year accreditation by the Central American Accreditation Agency for Architecture and Engineering. The program is recognized for its academic standards and was evaluated for its curriculum, process of teaching and learning, research and technological advances and the physical and technological infrastructure that integrates the practical skills of students and specialized teachers.
“Don Bosco University was the first university accredited at a national level that is part of the worldwide Salesian University Network,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “By offering a biomedical engineering program, Don Bosco University brings advanced educational and employment opportunities to vulnerable youth which in turn prepares them for participation in the country’s continued economic development.”
The University is the only institution of higher education in El Salvador that offers a biomedical engineering program which trains professionals in the design, analysis and management of the technologies and systems that contribute, from an engineering perspective, to the improvement of medical applications. To date, 191 students have graduated as biomedical engineers and many have already distinguished themselves in El Salvador and abroad.
Almost all of the graduates of the program either go on to acquire masters degrees or PhDs or are employed directly in the biomedical engineering sectors. Twenty of the University’s graduates are professionals employed in cutting-edge biomedical companies in the United States and Europe. More than 65 percent of graduates are working in the private health sector. Others are serving as consultants for the acquisition of medical technologies or developing business management technologies.
“The program at Don Bosco University has been successful in providing the education and skills necessary to help its graduates either directly enter the workforce or continue on for advanced degrees,” adds Fr. Hyde. “The accreditation and continued recognition helps support the University’s main objective to provide educational programs that increase the professional skills of its students while contributing to the socio-economic development of the country.”
El Salvador is one of the most violent countries in Central America along with Honduras and Guatemala. The murder rate in El Salvador rose more than 44 percent in the beginning months of 2014 when compared to the same time last year. Gang violence is a leading cause of violence in the country and it’s estimated that some 60,000 young people have gang affiliation. Gang involvement often offers a sense of belonging and family that counters the lack of education and employment opportunities offered in the country.
World Bank – El Salvador