If one were to describe the state of Latin America’s universities today, a fitting motto might be: “An early 20th century higher education system for the early 21st century.“
Falling behind Asia and Central Europe, Latin America’s universities are not even ranked in the QS World University Rankings of the top 100 universities. Asia has 25 on the list.
To sustain and further the progress made since neoliberal economic reform — and, at a minimum, not fall behind — Latin America needs to address its higher-education shortcomings in five key areas:
Teaching body. By any measure, most university faculties in Latin America come up short. Following outdated curricula, many professors lack master’s or doctoral degrees, and because of the notoriously low pay and few full-time positions, most teach part time at several universities. Very few conduct quality research and are active in international academic associations in their field.
Infrastructure. Latin American universities, particularly public ones, possess a physical plant characterized by architectural design akin to Mussolini’s Italy in the 1930s or Central American government ministries in the 1940s. Decrepit, badly maintained and poorly equipped, the libraries especially are in pathetic condition. Internet connectivity? Dream on. Where it does it exist, it is usually of the dial-up variety.
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Read: “Sad state of universities,“ an article from the MiamiHerald.com.