A delegation of Ecuadorian dignitaries visited K-State on Wednesday for the university’s Day of Ecuador in recognition of the Go Teacher program, whose participants will graduate on Thursday.
Ecuadorian Ambassador Nathalie Cely and the country’s vice minister of its governing body of high education Maria del Pilar Troya spoke at the event, telling of the country’s education reform within the last seven years, of which the Go Teacher program is a part.
In a partnership with K-State and also the University of Kentucky, New Mexico State University and Valparaiso University, Go Teacher students come Ecuador to those schools where they spend seven months improving English language and teaching skills, all to bring those skills back to their native country to move its education system forward.
Cely said in her career she became “convinced that education was the most important factor for economic development,” a goal of the country’s after financial stagnation and poor public policy, she said.
“We’re transit to the learning society, the knowledge-based society that will provide, of course, a more inclusive, egalitarian and equitable society that we keep dreaming of,” she said.
Del Pilar Troya said some of the problems with Ecuador’s education system included an inaccessible equality of opportunity, outdated financial policies and a lack of overall education quality.
She said the country has since reformed its system by creating four new universities, closing ones that were not working and making all levels of education free.
“We had to make sure education is relevant to businesses in the country,” del Pilar Troya said of one aspect of Ecuador’s reform.
Cely said that education reform also needs great teachers, which is where Go Teacher comes in.
Since the program started in 2012, K-State — the lead institution of the Go Teacher program in part because of its nationally recognized Teaching English as a Second Language Program — has had 427 Go Teacher scholars complete it. An additional 405 scholars have completed the program at the other partner institutions.
“The Go Teacher program and the wonderful partnership that K-State has with the country of Ecuador is absolutely a part of internationalizing our university,” K-State’s Provost and Senior Vice President April Mason said. “We’ve learned as much or more from this partnership as the Go Teachers have learned from us and I think that is truly the definition of a partnership.”