According to Ecuador’s Secretary of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (SENESCYT), René Ramírez, the government spent $207 million on higher education last year.
The allocation of funds were broken down as follows: $153 million to scholarships, $13 million to technical education, $6 million to the Prometheus Project, $5.6 million to the excellence project, $18.4 million to admission and accreditation system, $6 million for innovation projects and $3 million to a contingency plan.
Over the past decade, the government has spent a total of $13.9 billion on higher learning – two percent of the country's GDP – making Ecuador the country that has invested the most in this area.
Ramírez stated that as a result of the investment, enrollment increased from 28 to 41 percent between 2006 and 2016. He also added that the number of students who continued their studies rose to 87 percent from 48 percent over a four-year period; 9 out of 10 students who started their studies in 2015 continued in 2016. There was an increase of 71 percent in SENESCYT registration, from 75,879 to 129,537. "We have made progress and must continue to move forward," said Ramírez.
Regarding scholarships, the government had put aside $586 million from 2007 to 2017. So far, there are 4,818 returned scholarship recipients, of whom 98 percent are currently employed – 27 percent in the health sector, 30 percent in education, 23 percent in private sector and 7 percent in the central government.
The number of teachers with fourth-level qualifications rose from 29 percent in 2008 to 80 percent in 2016 with 60 percent of teachers working full time in universities and polytechnic schools throughout the country. Salaries jumped from $1,281 to range from a minimum of $ 2,967 to $6,222, which has positively impacted the quality of educational institutions.
Ramírez said that the country had recovered its culture of excellence and quality within the university system, "to have gone from about 30 percent of teachers from level 4 to more than 80%, to be a country that multiplies by 6 Its scientific production, being the country that grows the most in publications in indexed journals and accounts for quality, "he said.
The number of students who have entered higher education because of new policies that benefit people with disabilities or those who belong to socially excluded groups increased significantly, from 528 in 2014 to 24,241 in 2016. The number of students of indigenous descent also rose from 7,774 in 2012 to 44,212 in 2016.
In addition, 11 universities were extended and 22 new careers created. "It is the challenge of the university system to have high standards in the methods of passing on knowledge, to generate knowledge through scientific research relevant to social transformation and to enhance individual and territorial capacities," the secretary said.