Juan Carlos Silas works for the University of Monterrey (UDEM) in the city of Monterrey in the Northeast part f Mexico. Currently Dr. Silas holds twofold responsibility in directing the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Quality of Education and Eradication of Poverty and his standard responsibilities as scholar member of the Department of Education.
His professional interests and expertise are focused on three topics:
- The between public and private higher education. The analysis of private higher education from several stances: a) the complementing Vs competing perspectives, b) the role of public policy as one of the factors encouraging (or not limiting) the strength of private low-profile institutions, and c) transnational and for-profit higher education.
- College student development. Mainly strategies to help students develop complex thinking skills.
- Organizational issues in higher education. Mainly is related to academic departments as “hubs of relations, intentions and meaning”.
Dr. Silas was a member of the National Research System from 2001 to 2004 and collaborates as an affiliate with the Program for Research in Private Higher Education (PROPHE) hosted by the State University of New York at Albany.
- Silas, J.C. (In press) Contributions of Autopoiesis Theory to the organizational analysis of higher education institutions. Revista Perfiles Educativos. CESU-UNAM
- Silas, J.C. (2006) Complexity as an element for innovation in education (La complejidad como un elemento para favorecer la innovación en educación). In the book Innovación en Educación Edited by the RED-NIE and ITESM
- Silas, J.C. (2005). Realities and trends in Mexican private higher education. Revista Perfiles Educativos. Vol. XXVII, No. 109-110. CESU-UNAM
- Silas, J.C. (2004) Private Higher Education in Mexico at the beginning of the 21st Century. International Journal of Private Higher Education e-journal (http://www.xiaujournal.net)
Equity, access and quality in Mexico´s higher education: A delicate balance between public-private investment.
Mexican higher education has nearly doubled its size in the last 14 years. Enrollment in the “Licenciatura” level grew from 1.1 million students to 2.1 million in the period (SEP, 2004). This unprecedented expansion was evenly distributed between public and private institutions. Demographic data and information about higher education in Mexico, show that the demand, which has been unsatisfied for decades by public, religious and elite universities seems to be attracted by “demand-absorbing institutions.” These institutions alleviate some pressure from public institutions and, in a way facilitate access to postsecondary education which is related with equity of opportunities. These institutions present a curious dilemma. On the one hand, they provide low income students with opportunities to get credentials and join the job market, increasing their chances to climb the socio-economic ladder (one of the promises made by Latin American public universities). On the other hand, these institutions have no accreditation whatsoever and have no reputation for providing high-quality education, which means that students may get the credentials but do not receive a good enough education to prepare them for their professional future.
This research project aims to answer the following questions: One, is this expansion making higher education more accessible to persons coming from underprivileged segments of society? Two, is this expansion affecting the quality of higher education? Three, is this expansion providing the country with qualified professionals to play an important role in the new, knowledge-economy? Four, what educational policies should be implemented in order to promote equity and quality at the same time? The proposed methodology involves the analysis of nation-wide information and statistics from governmental and educational organizations about: a) enrollment by type of institution and programs of studies, b) job-placement, and c) economic and demographic issues related to the project (such as the National Household Survey). The data analyses will be complemented with discussions with key scholars.