Bogota, Colombia, July 16, 2018- The
International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group,
approved a long-term loan of $25 million to Universidad Santo Tomás, one
of the largest institutions of higher education in Colombia, to boost access
to quality education in several cities in the country.
The loan will help the institution to improve
its infrastructure in the campuses of Bogotá, Tunja, Bucaramanga, Villavicencio
and Medellin. The partnership between Universidad Santo Tomás and IFC will
also help to improve the preparation of students with the tools required
by private sector employers and facilitate their entry into the labor market.
The university will also continue to focus on expanding it virtual education
and technological platforms that increase access to education in remote
locations and in distance learning.
The agreement will also allow Universidad
Santo Tomás to take advantage of IFC's experience working in the education
sector around the world. IFC has invested more than $1.5 billion in education
projects over the past 15 years to promote the goals of improving access
to education, reducing costs and helping students prepare for the labor
"In alignment with the mission of the
University of Santo Tomás, we have set goals for the institution, which
include to be an international reference point for top quality multicampus
education, so that people accessing our academic programs can contribute
to the social transformation of the country," pointed out Juan Ubaldo
López Salamanca, Rector of Universidad Santo Tomás.
He also highlighted that of the university’s
plans include the adoption of international academic and administrative
standards, with the objective of obtaining an international accreditation
for the institution and its programs, which will require a decrease in
student drop-out rates and the strengthening of a cohesive and high-quality
teaching body. Other objectives include upgrading and developing physical
and technological infrastructure, to implement environmental sustainability
practices and to consolidate a quality virtual academic offer, relevant
to the needs of the regions.
"The achievement of these goals will
guarantee an institutional architecture (effective articulation between
processes, organization, and functions), in accordance with the contexts
in which the University is present, strengthening the system of quality
assurance in development, coverage, and short, medium and long-term financial
sustainability. Therefore, IFC is a strategic ally for the strengthening
of Santo Tomás University," said López Salamanca.
"This partnership with Santo Tomás University
will boost access to quality education in Colombia and we hope it will
help the university to continue growing as one of the largest academic
centers in the country," said Juan Gonzalo Flores, IFC's representative
for the Andean region. "This loan shows that our commitment to support
Colombia's sustainable development continues to grow," added Flores.
With support from IFC, the university will
also implement energy efficiency measures that will allow it to comply
with some of the best global practices in this matter. The university hopes
that the incorporation of these new measures will help it become "carbon
neutral" by 2026.
Elena Sterlin, IFC's Senior Manager, highlighted
the presence of the university in many regions of the country where traditionally
there have been very few high-quality educational institutions. "IFC's
priorities in the education sector include supporting institutions that
promote access to quality education at affordable costs and that improve
the job prospects of its students, and Universidad Santo Tomás is an excellent
ally in this task," she said. "We are very glad to be building
this new partnership with Santo Tomás, which is an institution that is
working to support the sustainable development of Colombia," Sterlin
IFC is the largest multilateral source of
investment in private education in emerging markets. In the last 15 years,
IFC has supported more than 110 education projects carried out in 39 countries.
IFC's role in education in Latin America and the Caribbean focuses on supporting
institutions with sufficient scale to provide high-quality services and
IFC —a sister organization of the World
Bank and member of the World Bank Group— is the largest global development
institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets Working with
more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our capital, expertise, and
influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of
the world. In FY17, we delivered a record $19.3 billion in long-term financing
for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to
help end poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit
About Universidad Santo Tomás
Universidad Santo Tomás was funded on June
13, 1580. It is present in five cities of the country, with headquarters
and sectional offices in Bogotá, Bucaramanga, Medellín, Tunja and Villavicencio.
The university has been contributing to the social transformation of the
country and promoting the comprehensive training for its students for more
than 438 years. Check all our academic programs at www.usta.edu.co