Date of Award:

5-1970

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Engineering Education

Department name when degree awarded

Industrial and Technical Education

Advisor/Chair:

Austin G. Loveless

Abstract

A descriptive study of the Escuela Cenpritec school was carried out between September 15, 1969 and November 15, 1969 in La Paz, Bolivia. All pertinent literature was reviewed and interviews were conducted with school and government personnel.

A fine physical plant has been constructed that is well lighted and equipped. It is adequately protected by a perimeter wall and by the services of a night watchman. Classes were being conducted in the four areas of electricity, plumbing, masonry and carpentry.

Few of the objectives set forth in the organizational documents were met. Classes in the construction trades were offered but subsequent employment of the graduate in his specialty was very low. Coordination of on-the-job training, or, for that matter, any other kind of construction training in the city by Cenpritec did not exist. Only one class in training for the rural worker was held and efforts to encourage his return to the rural areas were unsuccessful because job opportunities were better in the city. Training for the student was at the very basic level and no classes for specialists were ever held. Basic literacy courses did not materialize even though widespread illiteracy among the study body hindered efforts to teach the building trades. No classes in management and supervision training were held.

Difficulties which surround the school were myriad. The initial feasibility study apparently was not accurate and was based upon subjective evaluation rather than statistical data. Many promises of support, financial aid and help were never fulfilled. The Board of Directors often failed to discharge its duty in the direction and administration of Cenpritec. The Peace Corps advisors failed to ensure total operation of the school in accordance with its legal documents. A breakdown in communications between USAID/Bolivia and the Peace Corps/Bolivia led to confusion regarding responsibility for the school, conditions necessary for continued financial aid, and extent of authority of the volunteer instructors.

Inability or unwillingness of the Government of Bolivia to accept readily its financial responsibility for the school suggests that future funding may reach crisis proportions.

A policy for the continued evaluation and observation of Cenpritec does not exist and the rapid exchange of American personnel in Bolivia has led to the responsibility for its operation being placed primarily in the hands of the Peace Corps volunteer instructors.

Future successful operation of Cenpritec will depend upon a careful reassessment of its role with respect to the construction industry, a reactivation of the Board of Directors, a pledge of support from the Bolivian Government and a commitment by American officials for continued, long term supervision.

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