PRESIDENT BACHELET REAFFIRMED THE IMPORTANCE OF PUBLIC EDUCATION
THE HEAD OF STATE INAUGURATED THE LINARES CAMPUS, WHERE SHE STRESSED THE PRESTIGE OF OUR ACADEMIC INSTITUTION; THE PRESIDENT OF UTALCA, ALVARO ROJAS, APPRECIATED THE GOVERNMENT'S EFFORT TO REPOSITION PUBLIC EDUCATION, IN ALL ITS LEVELS, "AS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT FOCUS OF PUBLIC POLICY".
June 02, 2017
The President of the Republic, Michelle Bachelet, emphasized that the Linares Campus is a symbol of quality, behind which there is an academic institution of enormous prestige. The Head of State made this comment at the inauguration of the Linares Campus, which she described as a symbol of quality education and good news for Southern Maule.
Moments after signing the draft Law on State Universities, the President arrived in the Region to head this ceremony. She was accompanied by the Secretaries of Education, Adriana Delpiano and Economy, Luis Felipe Cespedes.
"What we see here is the type of country that we have to continue to consolidate, because this campus is a symbol of quality education," she said along with highlight that our University is "heir to the best traditions of public education, an institution that has managed to attract and train talents and has given rise to research and development poles. There is also here an educational project that has the best support, to one of belonging to the State."
She also expressed that the Linares Campus opened at a crucial moment, in which "it leaves behind the narrow idea of looking at education as a consumers good, rather than appreciate it for what it should be: a social right that we must guarantee."
In that regard, she was sure that the percentage of students with gratuity is an achievement that should be extended and that it will continue to favor a greater and greater percentage of the students of the University.
PRESENCE OF THE STATE
President Alvaro Rojas thanked the presence of the Head of State and highlighted the draft law that strengthens the State universities, "that have been able to maintain quality and the presence of the State in Higher Education, in an increasingly complex and openly deregulated scenario."
In the same sense, Rojas appreciate the government's effort to reposition public education at all levels "as a focus of public policy" and he said he is convinced that this legacy of the government "will endure for decades as the indelible mark" of Bachelet’s mandate. The ceremony was attended by the highest authorities from the Maule Region and the Linares Province, together with executives from the University, the Linares Campus staff, and students of the programs imparted at this academic institution.
In his speech, President Rojas recognized the progress that the country has experienced in recent decades and the efforts of the Head of State in order to bridge the gaps that still exist. In a special way, he referred to the scope of the Educational Reform, "mainly with regard to public and gratuity education."
"Thousands of young people can look to the future with renewed optimism," he said, and added that the effort required to get access to higher education and thus acquire the basic codes to perform in the knowledge society, "won't be done at the expense of the uncertainty, the impoverishment and indebtedness of their families", given that the State now gives them a quality education as the first step to ensure human development.
Alvaro Rojas emphasized the impact that the benefit of gratuity has had in the students in our Academic Institution and in their families. "About two-thirds of our students admitted in 2016 and 2017 have gotten gratuity", he said.
At the same time, he remarked that progress in the education sector never has an immediate effect and, consequently, "it is possible that the fruits of the reform to education are not still perfectly visible to society as a whole", but he added that without a doubt the amendments, such as gratuity, the creation of two new public universities and the network of State Centers for Technical Training, the dignity of the teaching career and the Program of Accompaniment and Effective Access to Higher Education (PACE), "will all lead to a structural change in our society, with great projections."
With the construction the Linares Campus, an ancient longing of the inhabitants of Maule Region South was fulfilled, and at the same time, a dream, as a university, of being present in the most important cities of the Region.
"Our public vocation invites us to be part of the community that shelters us, making our greatest efforts toward improving the quality of life of its inhabitants and, in particular, the education of their young people," said the president.
In this regard, he reiterated the conviction of being a tool for hundreds of talented young people from the Southern Maule macro-zone to get access to a modern, quality higher education.
The project taking place in the new academic space is mainly focused in the training of young people in the area of pedagogy and teaching, with a commitment to deploying into it an innovative and of-excellence effort, "in a technological infrastructure and equipment of the highest possible quality."
In this campus was established the Department of Education Sciences, which takes again the road of teacher training abandoned by the Corporation in 1987. "We cultivate again the Education Sciences with a renewed project, which looks at the new trends in the training of teachers, outlining the scenarios for the next two decades", said the president.
The University, together with the Regional Government (GORE), began, in 2011, the construction project of the Linares Campus, that represented an investment of nearly 7,700 million pesos (US$11.5 million, approx.), financed in close to 90% by the Maule GORE.
On a four-hectare total surface, 6,400 square meters were built, including the classrooms, labs, library, casino, administrative and faculty offices, gym and sports field, with a projected capacity to house more than 1500 students.
Currently, the Campus has 208 students enrolled In the programs of High School Teaching in Mathematics, High School Teaching in English, Primary School Teaching and Preschool Teaching, all with minors in English.
In addition to those aforementioned programs, the Public Accountant Auditor program makes it possible for young people coming from vocational education and senior technical education to access the next academic step.
This offer is characterized by a distinctive and of-its-own training model, with a skills-based approach that allows students to adapt to and contribute to the betterment of society.
For next year, it was announced the opening of two new programs: High School Teaching in Biology and Chemistry and High School Teaching in Mathematics and Physics.
To build the campus, the Corporation acquired a piece of land to the Salesian Congregation, which in this way was able to finance the reconstruction of the “Maria Auxiliadora” Parish Church, devastated by the 2010 earthquake.
Rojas also thanked the support of the Regional Government, the Regional Council, the Linarean community, its authorities and congressmen, to the Linares Campus project.
The dean of the Department of Education Sciences, Rossana Fiorentino, appreciated the inauguration of the Linares Campus as a milestone, which formalizes the initiation of activities on the campus. In addition, she remarked the social impact of the consolidation of teaching in one of the most disadvantaged regions of the country.
"Southern Maule needs a life of its own in human capital training and that is reflected in the rite of its inauguration. Because it is a campus, and not a headquarters, it means that we have a life of our own (…) This Academia responds to a spirit of decentralization of our Academic Institution by locating its Department of Education in a vulnerable sector of our Region, where the participation in higher education is only 6%," she argued.
She also remarked that by being a state academy, it springs the commitment to the responsibilities emanating from the State for the training of teachers with innovative approaches and strengths under the current worldwide standards of quality.
Moreover, she emphasized that the training of teachers in order to prepare them for a changing world is just beginning. "We want to graduate citizens of the world, with a mastery of the English language that allows them to open the doors on the international scene. The purpose of our innovative stamp is to put in evidence that what is taught. Training is understanding that theories change and the world advances towards new challenges."
For his part, Miguel Gutierrez, a student of High School Teaching in English told that the Linares Campus exceeded all his expectations, both academic and in infrastructure. "It is very rewarding for me to study at a university with modern spaces. With regard to the educational system, it seems to me that the pedagogies in English are very innovative for their skills-based model and investment in languages is an advantage that has brought us many benefits in the learning process. I was not mistaken in choosing the University of Talca as my alma mater," he stressed.
Likewise, Javiera Sepulveda, a student of High School Teaching in English, emphasized "that the University has modern and comfortable spaces to develop our activities with total normality. I love that all the teaching programs are on the same campus, because between races we have many similarities between our programs and we can share successful experiences".
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