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New Providers and New Forms of Supply for Latin America Higher Education

In Latin America, new providers and new offers are appearing, in some cases they are done in the virtual manner, but there are also some branch campuses and franchises. However, there is also a larger number of articulated and agreement programs as can be seen in Table 2. 4

Table 2

Foreign higher education institutions with presence in the Latin American countries according to the region of origin and the internationalization modality (*)






Distance Education






Branch Campus,







Cooperative Programs












(*) Countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Venezuela and Central America (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama).5

Source: Personal research based upon country reports been done by: Marquis 2002, Peña Davidson et. al. 2004, Zarur Miranda 2002, Gonzalez 2004, Didou 2002, Bravo Villa 2004, Quintana 2004, Llaque Ramos 2004, Camarena 2004, Brezzo 2003, Jaramillo y De Lisio 2004, Estrada y Luna 2004.
The data in Table 2 shows an important number of foreign providers with different modalities and different forms of supply, which didn’t exist only a few years ago. As can bee seen in the following graphic, Europe has a higher level of presence in the modality of distance education as far as the number of institutions is concerned-6, and the United States, in the modality of branch campus and franchising. Yet, inasmuch as the articulations and alliances, both Europe and the United States stand at a pretty much similar level. In turn, the Agreements modality is present in all countries, but specially inside Latin American countries.

Graphic 1: Foreign higher education institutions with presence in the Latin American countries according to the region of origin and the internationalization modality. Percentages.

Source: Table 1.

Foreign Distance Education Institutions, including those with domestic support.7
In this case, Europe has a 53% presence, followed by the United States with a 27%, and next Latin America with 19%. With regard to the European presence, Spain is by far the most outstanding one, as from the 54 European institutions reported in Latin America, most of them are Spanish, except for the Open University of Great Britain. Amongst the Spanish institutions the most frequently mentioned are: Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED) (National Distance Education University), Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (Autonomous University of Barcelona), Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Polytechnic University of Madrid), Universidad de Salamanca (Salamanca University), Universidad Virtual de Barcelona (Barcelona Virtual University), among others.
From the United States there are universities such as Phoenix University, Pacific Western University, New York University, Harvard University, Athabasca University, Bircham University, Atlantic International University, Oracle University. Some have representative offices in host countries.
The Atlantic International University functions in: Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Central America (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama). It awards university degrees, bachelor’s degrees (licenciatura), master’s degrees, and Ph.D. degrees. In turn, the Oracle University counts with local support in Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, The Caribbean, Costa Rica, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela. It offers working education programs and Masters.
It is important to outline the features of the Phoenix University since it pertains to the Apollo group one of the major investors worldwide along with the Sylvan group, which will be analyzed further ahead. It offers information via Internet and has, recently, according to Rodriguez (2004), initiated a series of prospects to ally with countries like Brazil, accompanied by the Pitágoras Group and they are exploring options with Chile and Mexico.8 In Mexico, offices have already been installed to acquire the Universidad Tecnológica de México (Technological University of Mexico) which, according to its size, it is the third private one in the country, having 35.000 students. (The second largest is the Universidad del Valle de México (Del Valle University of Mexico) acquired by the Sylvan group).
The Latin American distance education institutions do not appear to have explored seriously the regional area, with the exception, of course, the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey (Technological Institute of Monterrey) (private) which had developed a virtual campus network in Bogotá, Guayaquil, Medellín, Panama, Lima, and Quito, as well as centres in Peru, Colombia, Chile, Honduras, Venezuela; and outside Latin America: in Barcelona, Spain. (Didou, 2002).
In Latin America, distance education is offered, in most cases, at the already existing higher education institutions. In this respect, important experiences can be observed as in the Universidad de Quilmes (UVQ) (Quilmes University) in Argentina. It is a public university that counts with technical support coming from the Universidad Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) (Oberta University of Catalunya) which has developed, since 1999, a pioneer university educational experience in the virtual modalities, where the students can follow their university careers in full by means of a Virtual Campus. Another case is Brazil, which has developed a consortium of sixty nine (69) public higher universities also of the virtual type. This proposal includes postgraduate levels, extensions, and continuing education.

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