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More than a third of the universities in Peru will close due to lack of quality

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Among the universities that did not get their license is Telesup, run by businessman José Luna Gálvez, leader of the populist party Podemos Peru. EFE / Paolo Aguilar / Archive

Lima, Jan 16 (EFE) .- More than a third of the 145 universities that operate in Peru will have to close for not complying with the minimum quality standards of the university reform, a process of great political confrontation since several leaders of political parties the opposition own suspended universities.
The evaluation process of Peruvian universities took six years of work since the new University Law was approved in 2014, as announced this Saturday by the National Superintendence of Higher University Education (Sunedu), the body in charge of reviewing all study centers.
The universities that will have to close were not able to obtain the license from Sunedu despite having had different deadlines to adapt to the requirements demanded by the university reform.
Among the different aspects valued in the evaluation was the number of full-time professors, professors with postgraduate studies, as well as the production of research and technological innovation.
UNIVERSITY QUALITY AT STAKE
This allowed, according to Sunedu, that 30% of the professors of the private universities are now hired full time, when before the reform they were only 13%.
Likewise, the number of non-graduate teachers has been significantly reduced in both public and private universities.
The university reform took place in 2014 to resolve the great proliferation of universities of dubious quality that arose as a result of a decree during the government of former President Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000) that in 1996 liberalized university education and allowed the creation of universities with a spirit of profit.
With little control, private universities multiplied, also driven by the tax exemption that exists in the education sector.
UNIVERSITIES LINKED TO POLITICAL PARTIES
Among the universities that did not obtain their license is Telesup, owned by businessman José Luna Gálvez, leader of the populist Podemos Peru party, investigated for irregularities and alleged bribes to obtain the registration of his political formation, which currently has 11 representatives in Congress.
Also the Alas Peruanas University (UAP), founded by members of the Peruvian Air Force (FAP) but whose late former rector Fidel Ramírez was being investigated for alleged illicit enrichment and money laundering, as was his nephew Joaquín Ramírez, former secretary general of the party Fujimori Popular Force.
Several of these parties have always criticized the university reform and it was one of the implicit reasons for the controversial dismissal in Congress of former president Martín Vizcarra (2016-2018), a faithful defender of the consolidation of the new University Law.
Other party that voted in favor of Vizcarra’s “vacancy” in November 2020 was Alianza Para el Progreso (APP), run by César Acuña and his son Richard Acuña, who have also been reluctant to reform despite the fact that their universities like César Vallejo or Señor de Sipán did get the license.
However, from Congress there are still attempts to dilute the university reform, such as the latest bill presented by Congressman Rubén Ramos, of the ultra-nationalist group Nueva Democracia, which seeks to have the State expropriate private universities without a license so that they can improve and keep running.

Ben Oakley
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