Senescyt invests $150M a year in scholarships for Ecuadorians

Quito, March 20 (Andes).- The National Secretariat for Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (Senescyt) invests 150 million dollars a year in scholarships for Ecuadorians to study in the world’s best universities and then return to their country to share their knowledge.

On Wednesday, 224 new scholarships were awarded as part of the program for masters’ degree and doctoral degrees in different areas. A total of 1.034 citizens applied between July and September last year. The selection process is thorough, the first stage is to present documents, then take an exam and a personal interview. All of these requirements lead to the final decision, and applicants with the best scores are chosen.

Rina Pazos, deputy secretary of Science, Technology and Innovation, told Andes they are about to grant 20.000 scholarships which is a milestone since previous governments gave 230 scholarships. Moreover, she said that about 4.000 scholarship holders have already returned to the country and 98% are currently working in different institutions or on their own businesses.

“Nowadays the most valued asset we have is knowledge because it allows you to change your reality. You can improve productivity; you become a knowledgeable citizen, aware of your rights. It changes the lives of people, families and society as a whole,” said Pazos.

One of the Ecuadorians who was granted a scholarship. Photo: Micaela Ayala V./Andes

Diego Lascano, who was awarded a scholarship, said Senescyt’s open competition is one of the best in the world. “It’s an organized process with different steps to follow and it is easier for us to have an opportunity, the rest depends on everyone’s effort and commitment,” he said.

He will study a master’s degree on Industrial Engineering in the Univeristy of Cataluna, which would cost about 50.000 dollars but thanks to the Ecuadorian government it will be free.

“It’s a unique opportunity and it’s a large investment the country makes for us,” said Evelyn Bustos, who will study a master’s degree on Statistics in the University of Barcelona.

For his part, Ivan Salazar, who will study at the British Columbia University, said this is a valuable opportunity to strengthen your abilities and then apply them and innovate according to the knowledge acquired.

He said that eliminating Senescyt, something candidate Guillermo Lasso has pledged if elected president, would be a historic mistake. “I think this is the right path, this is the most adequate path. We’re not only developing our abilities but the country in general is developing its human talent in order to change.”

Iván Salazar will study music atthe British Columbia University.  Photo: Micaela Ayala V./Andes

On this matter, Pazos said eliminating an institution that focuses on promoting knowledge clearly proves their intention is to maintain Ecuador underdeveloped.

She made clear that Senescyt not only grants scholarships but is represents a public policy of knowledge generation. “Last year, we approved the Ingenios Code which establishes a series of powers for Senescyt, several new programs to be implemented and if eliminated, the work done with the help of thousands of people would go to waste.