Though the government-funded program Pronabec has faced some challenges, the Peru scholarship program has soared on with intensity. As of 2015, Peru had celebrated 50 years of giving out national scholarships to prospective students. In just the last four years, the Peru scholarship program has financed almost 70,000 scholarships by facilitating foreign support, training new educators and offering opportunities to some of the most educationally at-risk Andean populations.
The scholarships began in 1972 under the program title “National Institute of Scholarships and Educational Loan” (INABEC), then morphed into “Office of Scholarships and Educational Loan” (OBEC) until 2012, when it became the “National Program of Scholarship and Educational Loan” (PRONABEC). This organization has awarded access to thousands of students over the years through scholarships given to Peruvians hoping to study internally or abroad.
Pronabec Gave One Andean Tour Guide a Full Scholarship
In an interview with The Borgen Project, a tour guide in the Titicaca region in Puno gives an inside view of the way a scholarship altered his fate. He explained how the system has allowed him to study economics almost for free at the acclaimed Universidad Nacional del Altiplano, practicing English during his night classes. Born in the Andes mountains, he grew up in a family living below the poverty line and would have otherwise been unable to afford school.
After his primary-school grades came to the attention of the Peru scholarship program, the university contacted him and offered him a merit-based scholarship. Proud of his Aymara heritage, he tells the stories of the Lake Titicaca and mountain regions in English, Spanish and Aymara. Because of this education, he can act as a guide for a well-known tour organization and share his story along with many others. “The most important thing,” he said, “is to keep positive and never, never give up.”
The Importance of Government Support For Pronabec
In 2013, the PRONOBEC’s Institutional Management Plan outlined the lack of 862,750 professionals in Peru in several academic areas, such as agronomy, medicine, administration, mechanical-technical, communications and industrial engineering. At the same time that the stability of Peru’s economy was gradually increasing, political turmoil had boiled over many times.
The recent resignation of the last President Kuczynski, who was discovered to have taken political bribes from corporation Oldebrecht, underlined the insecurity of Peru’s government. The Oldebrecht scandal, a construction giant based in Brazil, called out the many government officials during this time of unrest who were willing to benefit from the corrupt business.
Directly after Kuzcinski’s resignation, the currency in Peru improved by .4 percent to 3.2516 per dollar. As a result, many political scientists foresee more hope and economic peace for the country as the new President Martin Vizcarra takes over. The success of the Peru scholarship program depends on subsidies being sustained into the future. If the government funnels funds into universities, educational access and businesses that support the local economy, the investment in Peruvian universities can continue to develop and benefit from a more stabilized job market.
The Benefits of Pronabec
Pronabec offers scholarships at universities all over Peru including Lima, Arequipa, Puno, Cusco and even at the National University of the Peruvian Amazon, UER Amazon. The number of employees has grown from 40 to 537 as of 2016, and their model of a revolving fund for educational loans has given 73,052 government-funded scholarships over the years. Subsidized scholarships focusing on specific populations is promoting access and completion of education for scholastically at-risk populations. The decentralization of the financing means partnering with regional, provincial and local governments as well as private companies in each geographical area.
The Peru scholarship program offers support to diverse populations in Peru in the form of transportation costs, school supplies, health, food and tutoring services. Ensuring that students transfer into the workforce, the program follows the model of other institutes by integrating graduates into the labor market and technological development of Peru. Since its inception, more than 2,000 Peruvian citizens have also enrolled in the International Experience of scholarship granting, traveling all over the world on subsidies in order to gain experience and learn from foreign educators.
Pronabec follows a “social inclusion approach” to provide scholarships for rural students living in poverty. In fact, close to 100 percent of its scholarships have been given to those living in moderate to extreme poverty, with women having received up to 55 percent of those scholarships.
On to the Future
Gradual and steady economic growth in the last few decades has reduced poverty rates and built a more solid foundation for secondary and tertiary education. The Peru scholarship program must work towards becoming more inclusive and decentralized while maintaining competitive standards, which will contribute to the labor market and economy. Sustainability can only be achieved through continued education and investment in educators, resulting in human capital that can carry on the programs with greater momentum.