domingo, 30 de septiembre de 2012

Graduation Rate (III). The soccer world cup.

For an outsider who visits El Salvador it is very impressive the passion that soccer makes in salvadorans. Spanish La Liga is follows very closely by every person in any social class. Fellow professors get around to watch a very small TV that one of them has in his office. Every time there is an important match (like Barcelona versus Real Madrid), downstairs in the laboratories one of our technicians turns on a big TV. Students drive me mad with their noise. Every now and then I have to shut them up.

But soccer has established itself as a measurement pattern among our engineering students.

The concept of graduation rate was foreign. Sometimes as a joke, sometimes as irony, and so many times with bitterness, students talk about how many soccer world cups they have spent meanwhile studying their major.

Let's take for instance students who enrolled in 2006. That year Germany hosted its second soccer world cup. 146 students enrolled in San Salvador, 18 students did it in Santa Ana and 9 students enrolled in San Miguel. Two years later only 11 students enrolled in the very first course on circuit analysis. Just 3 out of 11 could move ahead.

Four years later, by the time South Africa was hosting the very first african soccer world cup, not a single student had the chance to finish on time with the curricula. Just two of them ended the program in six years. However, they are required to write an undergraduate thesis. That job is taking them a year long. So the very top two students who enrolled in 2006 are going to take more than seven years to get their diploma.

What about the other students who enrolled in 2006? Between 85 and 90 percent of them have dropped out. With luck, the remaining 10 to 15 percent would graduate the year Brazil will be hosting its soccer world cup.

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