Online Degree, Online Courses and Distance Learning in Argentina

About Online Degree, Online Courses and Distance Learning in Argentina

Argentina, also known officially as the Argentine Republic, is the second largest country in South America, with over 1 million square miles of total land area.  The country consists of six regions:  Pampas, Mesopotamia and the Northeast, Chaco, Cuyo Andean Northwest, Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, with 23 provinces spread throughout these six regions, and a population of more than 40 million.  The country is considered an “emerging economic force” in terms of world trade, and for good reason.  Argentina is bursting with natural resources, along with the industrial means to manufacture and export them.  This, however, requires a workforce throughout the country that is highly skilled and well-educated—a challenge to which Argentina has been committed for decades, including the recent addition of their online distance education program, designed to include even more learners in the higher education system.
Education in Argentina, at both the national and provincial level, is a very high priority, and all children are required by law to attend school from age 6-18.  After these primary and secondary school years, graduates who want to continue their education have a number of options available to them.  Tertiary schools, which generally lead to licenses or certificates of competence, train students in a variety of technical and professional fields, while universities feature an array of academic programs, including engineering, medicine and law.  Graduate schools, offering Specialist, Master’s and Doctorate degrees, are available to qualified candidates possessing an undergraduate degree from the university.  And save for graduate and post-graduate programs, each stage of a student’s public education is tuition-free—another sign of the country’s commitment to education and training.
In terms of population, the largest of the six regions in Argentina is Pampas.  It is also the most important region in terms of education and commerce.  Here is where you will find the country’s capital and most recognized city, Buenos Aires, along with many other important cities such as Cordoba (2nd largest city and former capital), Rosario and Mendoza.  These cities, and particularly Buenos Aires, are where most of the higher education in Argentina is concentrated.  Students in this region have scores of educational options and opportunities available to them, ranging from vocational training in fields such as construction and hospitality services to doctorate-level degree programs in law and engineering. 
But what about potential students who reside outside of Pampas or those people who lack the time (workers) or ability (disabled) to attend these institutions?  How do they take full advantage of these high-quality education programs in the region?  The answer: for many years, they didn’t.
Fortunately, these scenarios have now been remedied.  Recognizing the need to reach more people, in 2007 the Ministry of Education in Argentina announced new opportunities in higher education through “open distance learning”—online classes that lead to academic degrees and professional certificates.  According to the Secretariat of Public Education, as written in a letter to university personnel in 2007, the goal of this program is to provide “attractive and flexible opportunities to students that, for various reasons, including distance, work and disability, have not been able to pursue higher-level studies.”
Today in Argentina, nearly every major university, public and private, has implemented distance education into its curriculum.  These schools now offer online courses and online degree programs to students who otherwise would have been excluded.  Through this distance education format, which consists of virtual classrooms, email correspondence and communication via instant messaging and video conferencing, students now have the option of graduating in just two years from one of the many vocational programs offered by the country’s tertiary schools, or enrolling at one of the many universities to pursue a 5-6 year undergraduate degree.  Some universities, including the National University of Buenos Aires, even offer graduate-level classes through this new online format.

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