Global News

This article first appeared on CNN Chile on November 19, 2021.

Bolivian President Luis Arce swore in Édgar Pary as the new Minister of Education on Friday, an appointment that came after the resignation of his predecessor, Adrián Quelca, accused of alleged corruption in a case of exams trafficking.

Pary’s inauguration took place at the Government House in La Paz, one week after Quelca resigned from his post to face a judicial process in which the Prosecutor’s Office requested his house arrest, accused of breach of duties.

The accusation against Quelca, made by a vice-minister, dates from July of this year for the case of “exams trafficking” to favor appointments in institutionalized management positions, but the effects were only noticed the previous week when the then head of Education resigned, although he assured he was innocent.

“We are going to work in a coordinated manner” with social sectors, teachers, universities, and student representatives, said the new minister during his speech.

Pary assured that his function will be mainly focused on the closing of this administration and the planning of the next one within the framework of education in the face-to-face, blended, and distance modalities due to the pandemic and the fourth wave of contagions that the country is facing.

In addition, President Arce expressed that one of the main “challenges” of the new minister is related to the “educational quality” that students currently have and that, in his opinion, is far from that of previous generations.

The president, who is also a professor at the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés (UMSA) in La Paz, appealed to his experience to express the deficiencies he observes in students, who arrive at higher education with deficiencies in writing and simple mathematical operations.

Arce said that it is necessary to “restore the Educational Quality Observatory”, which will be an external entity that will supervise and make a “real” assessment of the progress and situation of education, as well as to meet with the rectors of state universities to discuss this aspect.

“We want to put resources into education, but we also demand results,” he said. The head of state in his speech did not make any reference to the case that caused the resignation of the former Minister of Education.

The change in the Ministry of Education is the second due to allegations of corruption, after last April something similar happened with Edwin Characayo, then Minister of Rural Development and Lands, accused of receiving bribes in exchange for favors in land titling processes.