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Jose Simeon Canas Central American University
San Salvador, El Salvador


University description (as per official university website)

Universidad Centroamericana "Jose Simeon Caņas", known as UCA was founded in September 1965 in the context of the optimism of the decade of development. A group of parents "Catholics" approached the government and the Society of Jesus with the intent to promote the establishment of a second university. They wanted an alternative to the University of El Salvador to train professionally to graduates of Catholic schools.

The university designed for this group of people was private, with capital and shares, and geared to meet the demands of a job education of an elite. They felt that a Catholic university in these terms would contribute greatly to the cultural advancement of the Salvadoran people. To counteract the elitism, intended to offer some scholarships.

In addition to these general considerations on what should be the university, it is important to underline the prevailing perception about the University of El Salvador. Except for the medical school, usually considered high-quality teaching in other schools was perceived by the economically and socially powerful groups such as mediocre or poor. But what most concerned about these classes was the ideological orientation of the University of El Salvador, which was considered openly communist. The size of the intentions of anti-promoters of the new university was not publicly spelled out, but it was understood among the ruling class, without whose support has not been possible to establish the university.

The original idea of the association of parents did not progress, but the Society of Jesus, who for several years contemplated the possibility of establishing a university, urged an alternative, at least two important points. The first is that the university would be a public benefit corporation, whose administration is responsible to a board of directors, then reconstitute itself, in the absence of any of its members. The second is that the university would be oriented towards economic and social development in the region. In this vision there was a perception, not entirely clear, the great social injustices. The college founders chose the name and symbol for freedom of "Jose Simeon Canas."

The University of El Salvador, which was threatened their monopoly of higher education, the political opposition, seconded, opposed to the UCA. But the government also wanted an alternative to the first and, therefore, supported the project. Their support was crucial for the legislature passed the bill on private universities, the March 24, 1965 (Legislative Decree No. 244, published in the Official Journal of 30 of the same month). The following statutes were developed (Executive Decision No. 06,173, September 1, 1965, published in the Official Journal, September 13, 1965), when the first board of directors, composed of five Jesuits, was officially opened September 15 and began classes with 357 students, local Don Rua, provided by the Salesians, in early 1966.

Based on a previous study, the UCA career began with the economy, business administration and industrial engineering (electrical, mechanical and chemical). Humanistic careers and training high school teachers were provided, but were postponed. Indeed, the Faculty of Science of Man and Nature was founded until 1969, with racing philosophy, psychology and literature. From the beginning it was thought that graduates in these disciplines contribute to the transformation of the education system. In this line, offered in three runs short of three years to earn the title of professor of secondary education in arts and sciences. A second reason to open this branch of knowledge that racing was set up then, rather pragmatic in nature, should be integrated into their curricula and humanizing Human Studies with a view to a comprehensive education.

We chose the name of science of man and nature to suggest the necessary link between science and interdisciplinary basic and profound of all scientific knowledge. The creation of this power meant an important intellectual dynamism to the UCA, as well as incorporating the humanistic dimension, opened new perspectives to the work of a university and forced to review what has been done before.

Throughout its history, the UCA has been discovering its mission, identity and functions. These concepts did not appear in finished form at once. Consistent with its vision, the UCA has been historicized, therefore, are dynamic concepts. The following summarizes the thought of being aware of the UCA and practice today.

The center of the UCA, the country's problems

The ultimate meaning of the UCA is in its bearing on the historical reality of El Salvador. Since its inception, the UAC was not focused constituting itself or on its staff, or their campus, even on its students, but he set his heart outside himself in the country's problems. The UCA has always considered to El Salvador as their main problem. The country's situation was unavoidable and is doing this decentralization. Now, to address the problem of El Salvador are necessary science, research and relationship with the popular majority.

By placing the center of his work in El Salvador as a problem, the UCA enters the political field. Throughout its history, the UCA has found a way to university policy, as distinguished from those who want to do the wrong way, doing political work and academic work of those who want to do academic work without political work. Thus, the university determines the type of politics of the UCA and politics determines how the university fulfills its mission. The demands of reality determine what to do, while the academic requirements that determine how to do.

By putting your heart out, the UCA was to opt for social change and become the best university possible. By opting for social change, the UCA formally and explicitly devoted to defending the fundamental rights of popular majorities impoverished and oppressed, from the horizon of their release. For their quantitative and complexity of their problems, these majorities are the country's problems. Its existence is, in itself, the denial of truth and reason on the part of injustice.

Overcoming this massive fact, unjust and irrational is one of the biggest challenges faced by the intelligence and will of the AAU, who feels compelled to find the theoretical response adequate and effective practical solution. Therefore, the UCA struggle for liberation, for only in so far back that injustice will open the real possibility for truth, justice and freedom. So the UCA, as a whole and its parts, different and specific, which can and should take other immediate objectives have been put to use that option.

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