Like nearly all educational institutions throughout Perú, Universidad Nacional Pedro Ruíz Gallo, nestled in the insect infected city of Lambayeque, in the Province of Lambayeque, is riddled with overt and covert corruption being run by the ill-educated who gained their seats by worshipping at the power base of politicians. These men, and a few women, are more interested in cronyism and self-enrichment and power than they are in educating those who come seeking to learn how to better Perú. In many ways, Universidad Nacional Pedro Ruí Gallo is similar to University of Frankfurt after it was taken over by the Nazis when Hitler came to power. Jacob Bronowski said, “When Hitler arrived in 1933, the tradition of scholarship in Germany was destroyed, almost overnight… Europe was no longer hospitable to the imagination – and not just the scientific imagination. A whole conception of culture was in retreat: the conception that human knowledge is personal and responsible, an unending adventure at the edge of uncertainty.” (Bronowski, Jacob (1973). The Ascent of Man. London: British Broadcasting Corporation, p. 367.)
Scholarship is unimportant in the postgraduate (Graduate College) school’s administrators. The Director is more interested in the money the students carry to the school than the education they might obtain.
Most teachers in UNPRG postgraduate programmes are there for the money and not to educate. Grades are given out to friends, not earned by qualified students. Theses in minor fields are at best bad jokes, peppered with plagiarisms and of little value; by definition in the First World of nations, a thesis must be an original contribution to a discipline, not a composition on how to take notes or to stimulate discussions.
The UNPRG Postgraduate school of English studies has no qualification to merit being listed among reputable graduate schools of the world. Those who graduate, especially in the area of Education and specifically in the field of the teaching of English have at best mastered what would be considered an eighth grade primary student’s diploma.
Unwilling to take a stand for liberal arts education, the weak and self-serving directors of the schools of Universidad Nacional Pedro Ruíz Gallo, rely on students to ferment dissent and to pressure peers to revolt against solid academics and academicians, especially in the School of Languages (cp. http://dissidentvoice.org/Mar05/Kimmerling0329.htm a clear reading is at http://www.monabaker.com/pMachine/more.php?id=2720_0_1_0_M cf. http://forward.com/articles/127097/).
Universidad Nacional Pedro Ruíz Gallo (UNPRG) is number 6249 in the world according to 4icu.org (World University Ranking: http://www.4icu.org/reviews/3622.htm; only the Pontifical University in Lima reached into the 300s ranking). Although UNPRG ranks near the very bottom of world universities, a pseudopatriotism flakes off among its students who acclaim its coursework and professors are superior in ranking. The Ph.D. holders among the faculty who have terminal degrees frequently note that their education was “on-line” and that there were websites that sold degrees or had marginal requirements (such as York University of Alabama, University of Phoenix, and other for-profit schools that are currently being sued for false advertisement and poor education). Many schools had no requirements for writing a thesis or dissertation, and research was marginal. The average dissertation that I read, including those written in Perú universities are equivalent to an undergraduate term paper.
Surprisingly in Perú, there is no requirement for serious academic research or publications as is expected and demanded at the better universities in the UK, USA, or the rest of Europe, Canada, or Oceania. Few teachers have even an article to show after twenty years of teaching, while other faculty “collaborated” with colleagues to write a three-page essay.
Those who disagree or show information that is contrary to the popular hysteria at UNPRG are quickly singled out by the least educated and most volatile of the student body for reprisal. Physical attacks upon teachers by disgruntled students is common place, and has been since the days of Alberto Fujimori (http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB64/). Students not only attack teachers but also other students (http://www.youtube.com/user/screamo1992) and the university (http://elcomercio.pe/peru/642640/noticia-violencia-chiclayo-universitarios-destruyen-campus-disconformidad-elecciones-internas#1064414) with student takeovers common (http://enlacenacional.com/2010/11/11/estudiantes-en-huelga-toman-local-de-universidad-pedro-ruiz-gallo-de-chiclayo/).
Located at Av. Juan XXIII 391 in Lambayeque, Lambayeque Province, Perú, (UNPRG) claims to have a “post-graduate” program in numerous areas. The majority of UNPRG faculty lacks any appreciable graduate education outside of the Third World, next to none have any legitimate publications (although many have photocopied the works of other writers and put their names on the title pages, a common practice at even “faith-based” universities such as the Pontifical (Lima) and USAT (Chiclayo) where plagiarism is a daily occurrence, and is, in fact, encouraged being rampant throughout all schools (colegios) and universities, with even the faculties of the Pontifical universities in Lima and Chiclayo, the national universities, and all private universities. This is in direct violation of Perú Law 822 (http://www.cerlalc.org/derechoenlinea/dar/leyes_reglamentos/Peru/Ley_822.htm). Perú continues to have among the highest rates of copyright law infringement and is placed on the international “watch list” that urges publishers, writers, filmmakers not to send intellectual property to Perú as it is commonly stolen/plagiarized (http://www.state.gov/e/eeb/rls/othr/ics/2009/117241.htm, cf. http://www.indecopi.gob.pe/0/home_derechos_autor.aspx?PFL=9 and http://www.indecopi.gob.pe/repositorioaps/0/9/par/formatosolic/F-DDA-12.doc).
It is common for teachers in Perú to reprint a book by another author and put their name on the book as the author. What is tragic is that the students in public schools and universities are expected to pay for their materials and examinations. This is made mandatory as the government of Perú $4.3 billion (an increase of 4.3% since 2008) of its budget on education, and thus limits education (http://www.livinginperu.com/news-7295-education-perus-education-budget-increases-4-3-percent-4-3-billion) advancement, procurement of books, increased salary for teachers, and development of libraries especially in the provinces.
While all past presidents of Perú have promised to increase education funding and grandstand the issue of elevating teachers’ knowledge, it has never happened. This is accepted as a way to maintain bad teachers in schools, in a union known as SUTEP (a short history is found at the web site http://www.iadb.org/res/laresnetwork/files/pr183finaldraft.pdf).
Most schools try to keep teachers basically undereducated. Teachers are not expected to be educators. Teachers are hired as “facilitators”–leading students to areas of study the teachers have not explored. To be a subject matter experts is considered pompous. Teachers are encouraged to use “canned” (prewritten) books that they are expected to read to (or with) the students. The teachers do not invite questions, disputations, or arguments. It is as if the students of Perú were in Pakistan sitting in a Madrasah (Arabic: مدرسة, madrasah plural is مدارس, madāris). The Madrasah is the Arabic word (of Semitic origin; primarily from the Hebrew מדרש: midrash) for any type of educational institution. Peruano youth are taught to memorize and repeat material as if they were trained parrots without the capacity (and definitely not the education) to have independent thoughts.
Libraries are scarce (for libraries that have web connections see: http://lists.webjunction.org/libweb/CSA_Peru.html; on book censorship in Perú, see: http://www.beaconforfreedom.org/about_database/peru.html). Literacy is low. In Perú most students hate to read. Even fewer students in number find little interest in writing. When Perú students do write it is cryptic as if writing on the Internet Instant Messaging (IM chat): “q” takes the place of “por que” (as an example, meaning “what” as an interrogative).
In the area of English (language and literature, the latter which is nearly non-existent) its students are barely capable of writing coherent essays or solid analytic interpretations as I discovered in the two courses I taught at UNPRG (2010-2011, although the last course, in “Learning Strategies” was cancelled when students complained that (1) I was teaching philosophy, (2) that I was not holding class from 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. [the result of a vote by the entire class was that class would be from 8:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with the remaining two hours on Saturday and Sunday to be made up on a day of the class’ chosing. This vote was conveyed to the administration by two students in the class, and the hours of class (from eight in the morning to one-thirty in the afternoon known by the administration as Coco, the “engineer” who brought the computer and projector to each class recorded the time, requiring my signature and time of receipt before either the computer or projector was left. This action was repeated at the end of the class period with Coco ascertaining the time the class was finished–however such details were ignored by students and the UNPRG administration], and (3) the students objected when I refused fully plagiarized essays and stated each who plagiarized [about 90% of the class] had earned a grade of zero, and (4) resented having to read any article
or book). In Merriam-Webster’s Learning Dictionary, strategy is defined as
[countable noun] a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal usually over a long period of time ▪ They are proposing a new strategy for treating the disease with a combination of medications.
The government is developing innovative strategies to help people without insurance get medical care. ▪ marketing/business/investment/ defense strategies (2) [noncountable noun] : the skill of making or carrying out plans to achieve a goal”
The International Facility Management Association defines the philosophy of strategy succinctly (http://www.ifma.org/about_ifma/strategic_plan/up.cfm) as does Clear Capital (http://www.clearcapital.com/philosophy/); using information so that it is productive and of value (http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/content-strategy-the); risk management (http://www.strategies-tactics.com/philosophy.htm); techniques in teaching worldwide (http://www.sasked.gov.sk.ca/docs/midlsoc/gr8/philos8.html) as carried out by all teachers of education from ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, through the European and Asian Middle Ages, to the days of Descartes.
Since the Director of the Graduate Program in English, Jose Maquén Castro, (who does not speak a word of English); who took a Peruvian Master degree (equal to an eighth grade term paper at better primary schools in the First World of nations) at UNPRG: http://www.semanarioexpresion.com/noti_ver.php?codigo=ZR1861CR04) was intimidated by two students (Yadira Sánchez Toros and Edilberto Antonio Garcia Yzquierdo, both students who were failing the course) after pressuring the class into signing the letter of complaint that I was not teaching specific strategies. What was strange about this incident from a USA perspective is that I was not informed that my class was cancelled by the Director, but by the second worse student in my class:
The Director of the English language program did not “meet” with me until two weeks later. Not being able to speak a word of English, Jose Maquén Castro showed me the document that all students signed for about thirty seconds. Unlike what would happen in a democracy or any First World nation, I was not given a copy of the charges. My mind flashed back to the days of the Third Reich, as Jose Maquén Castro’s action was identical to that of the Gestapo in Nazi Germany when it “eliminated” unwanted faculty either by sending them into exile or shooting them.
Removing the paper so that I could not see it, Jose Maquén Castro told me, as an afterthought, that since I had a student with me to serve as a translator for him, he would contact me at a later date for a possible future course. Why he would think I would ever return to such an unprofessional school as UNPRG left me confused.
The class in Learning Strategies was not cancelled as the letter stated and Jose Maquén Castro argued. Instead another teacher, without any known qualification and no publications in the area was commissioned (paid) to teach the course, and was put in charge of the class. What was quickly learned is that the Perú system of the hiring of teachers came into play: the new teacher is a personal friend of the Director of the English section. Such cronyism is a common plague on education throughout Perú, and would piece-meal feed direct strategies without any background or rationale.
Neither book was sufficient to meet the demands of several students, especially those of Yadira Sánchez Toros and Edilberto Antonio Garcia Yzquierdo. Those who entered UNPRG’s English language program came to the university in quest of “learning [teaching] strategies” which they expected to be spelled out, methodology and pedagogy. Yadira Sánchez Toros and Edilberto Antonio Garcia Yzquierdo and several other students in class had little to no command of the English language (grammar, spelling, writing, listening, speaking, and so forth). Street jargon, rather than competent linguistics and philology, are common, and nonwords such as “wanna”, “gonna”, “iza”, “gotcha” and so forth pepper papers to the point of illegibility. Such misuse of the language I regularly fail–to the consternation of many students who claim that they either read it in subtitles of Hollywood or Bollywood movies (the favored one is Two Idiots from India where one screen displays the subtitle: U 2 B) and thereby “enriching” the English language.
Yadira Sánchez Toros and Edilberto Antonio Garcia Yzquierdo had asked several pointed questions as to strategy. Ms. Sánchez Toros asked what I would do if a student asked to pray. I responded that if I was teaching in a parochial school I would have to honor the request, but in a public school I must meet the demands of all students; therefore, I would invite the student to do as he or she felt it was necessary while offering the caveat that I would continue with the class material that I expected the student to master (by asking for notes from another student, or seeking a conference with me, and so forth).
Edilberto Antonio Garcia Yzquierdo informed the class that he taught his class English by having them sing songs written by the Beatles. That was fine, I commented, provided that first he correct the grammar and delete the jargon. For example, instead of having the students sing “I wanna hol yor han” I would print out “I want to hold your hand,” and so forth.
Unfortunately, many poorly, woefully inadequately, trained teachers return to the field of teaching, more incompetent than when they enrolled. The grades of my students were not stellar, and none would be able to teach anywhere outside of Perú.
Peruanos who teach do so as it is a job–and one way to earn money. Most teachers go for a graduate degree not to learn more, but to earn more, and they remain ignorant of most issues and weak at best in their subject matter as new teachers at SENATI informed me when the director asked me to help them pass the IB FCE (International Baccalaureate First Certificate in English). Even that could not help them.
The paucity of knowledge and evaporating English skills and teaching knowledge is not surprising, for former Education Minister Antonio Chang was required by the presidency of Alan Garcia Perez to test all teachers in Perú (http://www.michael-edison.com/views/peruprotest.htm). Of the more than 180,000 (some sources record that 300,000 teachers–being all the teachers in Perú–took the examination, but many boycotted the testing) teachers who took the exam, only 151 passed with a marginal score. Protesting teachers surrounded the regional education building in the central Junin department, and threw stones, burned tires and blocked roads, state news agency Andina reported (http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Peru+teachers+strike+to+protest+testing-a01611370714).
Perú’s record of teaching excellence is non-existent, especially in Lambayeque Province and in the mountains and the Amazon.
The popular concept of teaching is reserved primarily for “roll-playing” with the elevation of Jacob L. Moreno (1889-1974) to the level of a god with his introduction to this technique in 1910 in Vienna, Austria (http://www.blatner.com/adam/pdntbk/rlplayedu.htm; cp. Chesler, M., and Fox, R. (1966). Role-playing methods in the classroom. Chicago: Science Research Associates). “Roll-playing” is not only reserved for elementary levels, but even rigorously used at the university level although it has numerous drawbacks, especially if there is no security mechanism built-in, without which many language learning students can feel intimidated. Others turn to B. F. Skinner as the ultimate authority on pedagogy and methodology, with few Perú teachers knowing later (or earlier) thinkers and philosophers, and less than a handful have any familiarity with those who taught the foundations of education before the twentieth century.
Violence, theft, extortion, and other crimes are common on the UNPRG campus both within the student community (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQr8B7mmiec&feature=related; cp. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMq8AyIuHHo&feature=related) as well as among the faculty who are easily bought and frequently get their positions because of cronyism and corruption (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-HyQPENI8o&feature=related, cp. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVXAwnki3Ws&NR=1). Theft is common at UNPRG where library books are vandalized (entire chapters are cut out, as with the Spanish translation of El modelo entidad-relación CASE*METHOD by Richard Barker. Editorial Díaz de Santos, S.A, 1994: ISBN 0201601117 ISBN-13: 9780201601114, where pages 31ff are cut out of one of the five copies in the library) desks and walls defaced, etc.
UNPRG does have some creditable alumni and teachers, such as Yehude Simon Munaro (born 18 July 1947) who was on the faculty of Veterinary Medicine, and later was a Prime Minister of Perú during the second term of Alan Garcia Perez. Outside of one other English teacher who was educated at Cornell University, University of California at Berkeley, Hayward and Davis, and Sacramento State University and has taught TOEFL to immigrants, and others, there are no other truly qualified teachers of English at UNPRG.
I was originally invited to teach since I have postgraduate degrees from numerous universities with a final earned doctorate from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1974, followed by additional graduate work. This “lustre” (after the student revolt) meant nothing, as the nation of Perú and UNPRG has a published policy that the only requirement is that the teacher has a Master degree regardless of its merit or soundness. Most Master theses are cut-and-paste offering no contribution to the field in which it is written, as the regulation states: refirió el ex decano de la Orden Profesional de Sociología en Lambayeque, quien hasta la fecha viene solicitando se le sirva brindar las facilidades respectivas a los docentes de la Universidad Nacional Pedro Ruiz Gallo que han realizado estudios de maestría en otras universidades, a efecto de que se les otorgue, previo trámite que corresponda, sus grados académicos en la Escuela de Post Grado, dado a que para el proceso de Acreditación de esta casa superior de estudios es requisito indispensable que dichos docentes tengan el Grado de Maestro, http://www.semanarioexpresion.com/noti_ver2.php?codigo=ZR1861CR04) when students led by Edilberto Antonio Garcia Yzquierdo (who teaches his students English by having them sing songs by the Beatles using vulgar [street] English without correcting the grammar or word choice) and Leydy Yadira Sánchez Toro (who is an assistant to Daniela
Aracely Seclén Barrato, Director of the Language Center for Universidad Señor de Sípan, and although I taught there for one month, and daily sent her an e-mail asking for an appointment since she would not open her door, to explain that none of the students knew two words of English and were constantly flipping through bad dictionaries and knew no grammar, she refused to reply; Leydy informed me that they needed to pass the course in order to graduate, and when I failed the entire course (none had a grade above 2 points on a 20 point scale) Leydy changed my grades and passed two students so that not all would fail) who is a friend of Edilberto Antonio Garcia Yzquierdo and went to the other students to urge them to sign the petition that I no longer continue my class. What is interesting is that both Edilberto Antonio and Leydy were failing.
Since I failed Edilberto in my previous course he would have to repeat both courses. This so thoroughly distressed Edilberto that he called my home telephone daily begging me to give him the minimum passing course and after I repeatedly said I would not change the grade, he began to stalk me, complaining that he could not continue to teach at SENATI (Servicio Nacional de Adiestramiento En Trabajo Industrial (Spanish: National Service for Industrial Labor Training; Peru) without passing the course. When I refused his pleas, he traveled to the downtown Chiclayo SENATI center and waited outside my classroom door each day for another two weeks to beg for a higher grade, once bringing a friend who threatened me with physical harm. He and his companion only left when I told him I would not change the failing grade, noting that my decision was final as he had missed more than half the classes, was late to the ones he did attend, never took notes, and during the four-hour final handed in a paper of one paragraph after thirty minutes and left. Turning abruptly the disgruntled student disappeared until December when he entered, late as has been his custom, my Learning Strategies class.
While Antonio complained the loudest that there was no focus on learning, he was conveniently gone when the rest of the class was shown single and double loop learning strategies. A variety of strategies were offered the first two weeks to introduce the class to modern strategies, but with the caveat that no strategy could be learned, mastered, or used without knowing the antecedents and history of the strategy and its originator/philosopher. The fact that few were paying attention, and several had to miss the first two and three weeks because they were obligated to teach in schools under contract (for example: Yaritza Violeta Rojas Guevara), outside of one or two (usually Ernesto Diaz Mercado and Luis Alberto Rodriguez Amu) students none responded (a common reality in all classes throughout Perú from Kindergarten through the university) save for the rare student who wants to better his or her life and education, was never considered. The one student who showed the greatest promise was ill most of the time, still he turned in required compositions.
What surprised me was that all signed the letter demanded by their peers. In Perú. peer pressure is absolute and to ignore it invites violence and even murder as seen with the regular commentaries on extortion that is broadcast on Perú television. Extortion and acts of violence are especially common among the least educated teachers who are members of SUTEP (http://www.livinginperu.com/news/4204).
When Antonio did come to class he managed to sit with Leydy (except during the last class), whispering all the time while not participating in any group discussion, responding to any question another student or I posed, etc. Unfortunately, while Edilberto Antonio Garcia Yzquierdo is typical of the majority of students at UNPRG who are in the English program at all levels. One graduate, the former Prime Minister of Perú Yehude Simon Munaro is among UNPRG graduates, and while I do not consider him the symbol of courage or sound reasoning, he does represent Lambayeque Province and is unique in Peru politics as he is one of Perú’s 2000 Jews.
Although Yehude Simon Munaro was a short-time lecturer at UNPRG, he found his calling and fortune in politics, beginning in 1983. He was an elected member of parliament (MP) from 1985-1990, at which point he became vilified by Alberto Fujimori.
Yehude Simon Munaro was among the few who strongly opposed the dictatorship of Alberto Fujimori who doted on his delincuente daughter Keiko who he made his First Lady after ending his marriage to Susana.
Yehude Simon Munaro served as a Member of Parliament (MP) for Lambayeque from 1985-1990, after which he founded the Free Patriotic Movement (1991)–which the Fujimoris claimed was the legal win of the MRTA (Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement) that became famous in 1996 when it took over the Japanese embassy. As Fujimori’s grip on Perú got stronger, leading the Alberto and Keiko to bring in armed thugs to keep them in power, Simon participated in a protest against Fujimori’s illegal closure of the Congress of Perú–an action that led to his arrest on 11 June 1992 on the accusation that he was a subversive. Later that year he was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for the crime of “glorification of terrorism”, which he denied. He served eight and one-half years in prison while various human rights organizations worked for his release which brought in the verbal support of several opposition Peruvian politicians who demanded that Fujimori pardon Simon.
Ultimately Yehude Simon Munaro was released and elected to serve as governor of Lambayeque Region. He left Lambayeque when he agreed to become Garcia’s President of the Peruvian Ministers Cabinet (equal to the role of a Prime Minister) on 14 October 2008. His appointment was short, coming to an end after Garcia’s National Police fired on civilians in the Amazon Region who were protesting with stones and sticks the invasion of their farmlands and homes to further Shell Oil’s land grab to explore for crude in June 2009. 34 people were killed so that Shell could destroy the Amazons (See: Adams, Guy (17 June 2009). “Peru’s premier quits after protests end in bloodshed”. The Independent on-line at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/perus-premier-quits-after-protests-end-in-bloodshed-1706935.html). Simon resigned on 10 July 2009 (See: Peru: Prime Minister to Step Down, The New York Times, June 16, 2009), and went to apologize to the indigenous people admitting that the government of Garcia did not “act properly” or consult with them before passing ten controversial laws that gave foreign companies easy access to explore the Amazon for oil, gas, and lumber (See: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jun/17/yehude-simon-peru-resign cp. http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2009/06/200961618223869749.html|). Today he is running for a seat in Congress to represent Lambayeque although he claimed in 2008 he would seek the presidency in 2011. What is not unusual in Perú politics is that he is both hated and loved–with little middle ground: some calling him a terrorist, others a friend of the people (http://www.livinginperu.com/features-578-politics-who-is-yehude-simon-munaro-). Even at UNPRG there are widely divergent thoughts and arguments about his character and his value in Perú society; what is clearn, however, is that this individual needs further investigation and commentary.