.@yachay_dc ::: #Telesup school’s #FAKE_facade called ‘a #symbol of #Peruvian_university_system’. @guardian.

#Education_inspectors revealed the #university had #failed to get #accreditation, prompting the #state to order a #shutdown.

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From the street, the newest site of the Telesup university in Lima appeared to be a gleaming, glass-fronted 7-story tower. Inside, however, students were surprised to find the stairs only reached the fourth floor.

Drone photos published this week revealed that the top three floors were just a façade supported by metal struts, in an episode which has cast an unflattering spotlight on Peru’s booming private university industry – widely seen to be rife with sub-standard education and profiteering.

Education inspectors released the pictures as they announced the university had failed to get accreditation for falling short of basic academic requirements.

“It’s a symbol of the facade that is the Peruvian university system,” says Ricardo Cuenca, director of the Institute of Peruvian Studies. “It was presenting an image with nothing behind it.”

Máximo Estupiñan, a spokesman for the university, has denied the trompe l’oeil effect was a “false facade.” He described it as a “curtain wall, an architectural category and concept which was implemented for purely aesthetic reasons”.

Speaking to journalists on Thursday, Estupiñan said the fake three floors were a temporary construction while work on the building continued.

Such arguments may be purely academic, as Sunedu, the state body which regulates higher education standards, blocked fresh student enrollments and gave Telesup two years to shut down for good.

Meanwhile, most of Telesup’s 20,000-odd students will complete their studies at licensed educational institutions, according to Sunedu’s chief, Martin Benavides.

“We evaluate the essential conditions for a university service. The infrastructure is one of them and [the facade] is part of the reality of this university,” Benavides told local media.

Over recent decades, Peru’s tertiary education sector has grown dramatically, and the country currently has more than 140 universities – more than four times more than in the 1980s.

Most are fee-paying private institutions which do not offer degrees which would be recognized outside the country, education officials admit.

During the 1980s public universities were often used as recruiting grounds by the Shining Path, a violent Maoist guerrilla group. Then in the late 1990s, the now jailed former president Alberto Fujimori passed a law promoting for-profit private universities with deregulation and tax breaks.

The subsequent boom meant what was on offer for students was “disorderly, of poor quality and very fragmented”, Cuenca said.

“Poor higher education means poor quality professionals,” he said. “It’s a terrible sign that a country can grow economically but fail educationally.”

Telesup school’s fake facade called ‘a symbol of Peruvian university system’
in Lima
Sat 8 Jun 2019


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