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Nonformal Education

To evaluate the level of effective literacy in a region or country, the presence in a household of a literate person who generates a positive public good for illiterate members as well as a considerable rise in nonagricultural employment and literacy is taken into account. Although the largest numbers of adults are trained by the military, in 1962 the Ministry of Public Education established a department of adult education in response to a law which required literacy training for all illiterates between the ages of 15 and 50 years. This program has been extremely successful. During the first year, 50,000 people participated.

The military acts in some ways as a nonformula educational institution. According to the Constitution, all Ecuadorians are subject to military service obligations, but in practice conscription applies only to those who are liable for call-up at age 19 for 1 year of service. As of 1988, about 80,000 of approximately 1.8 million males in the 18 to 49 age bracket were in the military. In a country of chronic underemployment, many poorer youths improve their education, housing, and dietary situations by joining the armed forces. Ambitious young men with few opportunities in the civilian labor market might be successful candidates for further service and training, thereby learning valuable skills and finding an avenue for upward mobility. Students in good academic standing receive deferments, and only sons, breadwinners, or heads of household are excused from service. All officers graduate from one of three military academies. Those of working class or middle class origins, whose fathers were artisans, military NCO, or workers, constituted approximately 20 percent. John Samuel Fitch's study found a striking pattern of recruitment to the officer corps from the interior highlands, which has persisted in spite of the shift of population toward coastal provinces. Fitch also notes a definitive trend towards the democratization of the officer corps.

Naval cadets attend the Advanced Naval Academy at Salinas in a four year program that stresses the humanities, scientific subjects, naval science, and physical training. Located in Guayaquil, the Naval War College was the senior instructional institution and prepared officers, generally at the level of commander, for higher ranks and general staff duty. The two year course of study covered such topics as strategy and tactics, logistics, geopolitics, operational planning, intelligence, and international maritime law, with sociology, economics, and other nonmilitary subjects. The marines operated their own instructional program, including a basic school for recruits and more advanced courses in amphibious operations, communications, intelligence, and weaponry, plus special courses in frogman and paratrooper skills. The navy also administered the Merchant Marine School whose cadets received some military training and formed part of the naval reserve after graduation as merchant marine officers.

In an effort to standardize army training, the Department of Instruction was created in 1988. Upon attaining the rank of corporal, conscripts accepted for enlistment for further service could apply to one of several NCO schools. Each school included a core curriculum accompanied by training in a military occupational specialty at such facilities as the armor school at Riobamba or the engineers' school at Esmeraldas. The intense competition and difficulty of courses produced a high dropout rate among NCO candidates. Cadets preparing for commissioning as army second lieutenants studied at the Eloy Alfaro Advanced Military School in Parcayacu. The Army War Academy, the Army Polytechnical Institute, and the Institute of Higher National Studies complete the training schools comparable to the National Defense University in Washington.

Distance Education is represented in Ecuador through Globatel, a company dedicated to interactive distance learning (IDL) that has come up with a way to open higher education to larger numbers of people. Kurt Freud, a founding member of Globatel and of the University of the Pacific in Ecuador, a university dedicated to finance and business, suggests that it is possible to develop an IDL system with fluid, interactive capabilities that will allow governments to popularize education in a way that is cost effective and feasible. Globatel has developed an IDL system that uses combined satellite and computer mediated communication. In the system, users can communicate simultaneously and interact freely and effectively, including sharing graphical and textual data via computers. Students can also interact with the instructor using regular telephones connected to the system via satellite. The phone keypads act as a keyboard for data communication, while voice communication is handled through regular headsets. Obviously, for this kind of system to work optimally, Ecuador needs a more reliable telephone system, and this has not gone unnoticed. Ecuador has been developing its computer and satellite capabilities for many years. Ecuanet was one of the first Internet providers in Latin America. It is also a non-profit organization under the auspices of the Banco de Pacific. A decade ago, Ecuanet came to life as a scientific network and today Ecuanet works with the University of Miami to provide access to schools, businesses, and individuals.

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Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceEcuador - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education