In the last week, students from different careers of the Technological University of Peru (UTP) denounced that the university changed their curriculum months away from completing his university studies.
In social networks emerged complaints of the same type by students and former students against other houses of study, such as the Universidad Peruana del Norte (UPN), Cesar Vallejo University (UCV), the Peruvian University of Applied Sciences (UPC), the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP), and from higher institutes, such as Toulouse Lautrec.
The massive demand of the students focuses on the change and updating of the curricular meshes of a career. This harms, in most cases, young people who are about to complete his profession.
That is, if a student entered in the first semester of 2018, they must complete their degree in the second semester of 2022. However, when the university changes its curriculum (according to complaints, every two or three years), the student is affected because they add more courses or eliminate the credits of subjects that they have already approved.
The most overwhelming cases are of the students in their last cycles, who are two or three years away from settling their university life, because due to a change of curriculum they go on to have between 7 or 9 more courses, which implies staying one more year in the university. college.
In conversation with this medium, former congressman Daniel Mora, manager of the reform and the University Law, assured that this praxis is of many private universities whose only objective is to continue with the mercantilism of education. “There was a case of a university that divided into three courses what was really only one. At PUCP this course was taught in a single cycle, and at this university in three cycles. All for an economic benefit, ”he detailed.
Previously reported cases
in 2019a group of students from the then Alas Peruanas University (UAP), subsidiary Arequipa, denounced before the Ombudsman who were surprised by a new curriculum which entered into force in August of that year.
This sudden change harmed them to the point that they had to study longer to complete the new courses, which affected more those who were about to take the last semester of their degree.
Before the claims, The solution offered by the UAP was that the previous curriculum would only be maintained for those who finished their degree until July 2020, or they only had 45 credits left to graduate.
For Mora, everything that happens around the increase in coursessuch as mesh changes, is part of the “great problem of educational mercantilism, that money sees everything.”
Study plans and university autonomy?
In communication with La República, the National Superintendence of Higher University Education (Sunedu) explained that article 8 of the University Law, Law 30220(published on July 9, 2014) recognizes the autonomy of each university.
According to Sunedu, the university autonomy It manifests itself, among other cases, in the academic system that implies the self-determination power to set the framework of the teaching-learning process within the university institution. This supposes “the indication of the study plans, research programs, forms of entry and exit from the institution, etc.”, he added.
In turn, the autonomy is also expressed in the normative regimewhich results in the creation of internal rules that regulate the university institution, “among them those applicable to requests for withdrawal from the cycle, modification of study plans, among others,” according to Sunedu.
In this sense, each university establishes its frameworks and regulations in the adaptation of the curricular mesh of each professional academic school. Nevertheless, It is necessary that any possible change by the university be communicated to the student body.
Daniel Mora explained that, although all universities have administrative, academic, regulatory and government autonomy, must be governed according to Political Constitution of Peru And the law. “No autonomy can escape compliance with the Law or the Constitution,” he remarked.
The specialist assured that “the University Law it gives the minimum framework in which any university must operate; that is why the eight basic quality conditions are indicated”. So, “every university deals with its own academic programs, syllabus and learning methods. They have full freedom to make the best of the university,” he added.
However, for Mora, despite the existence of Sunedu, some universities abuse autonomy in order to get more money.
How often can the curriculum be changed?
Article 40 of the University Law points out that “each university determines the curricular design of each specialty, at the respective levels of education.” In turn, it establishes that “the curriculum must be updated every three (3) years or when convenient, according to scientific and technological advances.”
Likewise, the eleventh transitory provision of the University Law provides for the need to progressively implement compliance with the basic conditions of higher university educational quality, which includes the implementation of study plans appropriate to said law.
Along these lines, Sunedu issued the Board of Directors Resolution 006-2018-SUNEDU-CDwhich approves the “Technical criteria to supervise the implementation of study plans appropriate to the University Law, with attention to articles 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45 and 47 of Law No. 30220, Law University”.
In this resolution, Sunedu detailed the process of implementing the new study plans that each university would develop in the stage of adaptation to the University Law, which began with the entry into force of the University Law and ended on July 31, 2018.
In this context, according to the document, “the implementation begins the academic cycle following the date of approval of the study plans appropriate by the competent university authority.
Daniel Mora said that the curriculum can change every three years, but “it cannot be that changes are made during the year, even more so when a student has entered with a contract for a specific curriculum.” “In any case, the costs should be borne by the university,” he stressed.
Now, according to the ex-congressman, the issue of adaptation with monitoring of technological progress should point to updating the syllabus, but this does not mean that it is a new course. “When I sign up for a cycle, I am paying for a cycle number, and each race has a number of credits. If there is no substantial variation in it, I have no reason to go up or make you pay more, ”he stressed.
The normative vacuum generates abuses against the university student. To do?
The problem of how to implement the changes made by the universities in the curriculum for students who entered with a previous mesh is not fully resolved or by the University Law nor in the regulations and norms of the universities themselves.
For example, article 45 of the General Regulations of the UTPapproved by Resolución Rectoral 242- 2018/R-UTP, of November 12, 2018, points out that the university’s study regimen is established by school periods with a curricular mesh of at least ten cycles of duration, flexible, and by credits; however, it does not refer to the updating of the curricula.
Likewise, the Regulation of Undergraduate Studies of the UTP, approved by Resolution Rectoral 39-2021/R-UTPof April 21, 2021, only regulates the temporary application of study plans for the cases of reinstated students, not for those of regular students.
Former congressman Daniel Mora stressed that the absence of complaints by students allows universities to continue with this malpractice and constant abuse.
“Each university should have already implemented the university defense, according to the Law, and Sunedu must supervise this provision,” argued Mora. And in this defense students should report abuse.”
In addition, Mora stressed that the Sunedu can intervene in the face of these abuses. “If they change the curriculum every three years, the students must be respected. You can change the content of the course with the new trailers, but this can’t generate a new course to say, ‘The mesh was changed,’” she explained.
“I think that, if one enrolled with a curriculum, they should end with that curriculum and, if there has been some technological advance, it should be included in the courses that the curriculum has, but it cannot be an excuse to create another course”, he added.
Mora specified that saying that the mesh is not retroactive leads to the claim that this would oppose the advancement of science and technology. “The way out is that it be included in the syllabi and, if it cannot be done, the expenses generated should be borne by the university,” he concluded.