Sunday, January 24, 2010

New Majors Emerge in Bolivian Universities

There are plenty of new high school students who choose traditional career paths like Law or Communication, even though there’s evidence that they job market is over saturated and holds few opportunities.  However, there exists an important group—in the country as well as the city—that demands new professional options from universities, requiring the higher education system to reinvent and renovate itself.  Biomedicine, Mechanical Electronics, Aeronautics, Conservation Biology, Resource Management, Anthropology, and Global Philosophy are some of the new majors emerging in the curriculum of universities and teacher colleges. 
annual census revealed that in the 8,000 high schools (the majority of private schools), nearly 35% of students are looking for “different” careers.  This information spurred the Private University of the Valley (Univalle) to offer majors based in engineering and technology applied to new fields such as Electromechanics, Aeronautics, Biomedicine, and other hybrids like Information System Administration or Systems and Corporate Management Engineering, explained director of marketing Boris Ugarte.
“We’ve had a great response in the last year since we launched those majors, and there’s a great job market.  For example, Biomedicine is one of the careers with the highest international demand because it’s a profession that applies technology to medicine,”  said Ugarte.  Univalle has laboratories specifically for practicums, like the simulation laboratory for Aeronautics, where the student uses actual airplane instruments.
Engineering and business also form part of the offerings in the Catholic Bolivian University (UCB), where the preparatory classes include recreational mathematics, introduction to critical reasoning, logic games and creativity in chemistry and physics.
In another area, they offer Biology with a specialty in Wilderness Conservation and Land Management Engineering.  “The job market was taken into account, but they’ve also seen the needs of the country.  For example, in the case of land management, there isn’t prudent use of natural resources and we want to train people to work in that, explained the director of environment engineering, Mauricio Azero.
The past week, the deputy minister of higher education, Diego Pari, announced that starting this year, the Teacher Training Colleges would introduce Communication and Indigenous Language, Global Philosophy, Anthropology, Citizen Educaiton and Environmental Education as new specialties “related to the new vision for training teachers.”

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