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Colección: La Educación
Número: (129-131) I,III
Año: 1998

Author’s Note

Since I completed this paper, rapid progress on the evaluation and accreditation system has occurred. In addition, a new president, Jamil Mahuad, was elected in July. Some of these apparent changes are the following:

1. According to the September 18, 1998 Chronicle of Higher Education, the new president, Mahuad recognized the need for greater spending on education in his inaugural speech. He is the first president in decades to recognize—at least symbolically—the importance of spending on education.
2. A new constitution went into effect with Mahuad’s inauguration that officially establishes the System of University Evaluation and Accreditation. According to the Chronicle article (Fraser 1998), the constitution calls for admissions standards and tuition. Congress has six months to pass the laws needed to put these constitutional changes into effect.
3. Enrique Ayala, rector of Simón Bolívar University, is quoted as saying (Fraser 1998) that “there has been one fundamental improvement: There is now an awareness nationwide that the situation is bad and must be improved. There is an awareness that the university system must be reformed, and this implies control over both public and private universities—at least quality control.” If accurate, this represents a dramatic change from opinion in 1996. Although some segments of the population may have recognized the need to improve the quality of higher education before 1998, the higher education community itself (aside from the relatively few proponents of accreditation) was doubtful of the methods proposed to achieve this end. The major proponents of evaluation and accreditation have obviously been quite convincing.