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Central America/Panama/Universidad De Panama/

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Coordinates: 8°59′02″N 79°32′38″W 8.983935931807538, -79.54399824142456


Universidad De Panama

  • Location & Contact Information
    • Address & Directions
      • Transístmica, Panama, Panama
    • Telephone Numbers: 54223523-5273 / 5274 / 5278 / 5279 / 5280
    • Official Website: [1]
  • History & Memorable Moments

The University of Panama was created by presidential decree on May 29th of 1935. However, it began operations on October 7th of the same year in one of the wings of the Instituto Nacional (National Institute). Later on, under the administration of Enrique A. Jiménez, the government purchased around 60 hectares of land in the neighborhood of El Cangrejo, destined to be the future University's main campus. [1]

The construction work began in January, 1948, under the supervision of the Engineer Alberto De Saint Malo, who was the Dean of the Engineering and Architecture Faculty, at the time. The first four buildings to be constructed were those that would be home to Humanities, Engineering and Architecture, Science Laboratories, and Administration and Library. Classes in the new buildings began on May 29th, 1950. However, the campus was officially inaugurated on November 1st, 1953, the same year of the Republic's 50th Anniversary of Independence. In the 1950s, the construction work continued and 11 additional buildings were raised, some of which would hold the Biochemistry Center, and the Faculties of Pharmacy, and Public Administration and Commerce. In the following decade, 15 more buildings were constructed, among of which figure the Odontology and Law Faculties, and the Experimental Center for Agricultural Research in Tocumen. [1]

Between 1970 and 1980, the buildings that were destined for Biology, Architecture, Engineering, Humanities (other), and those destined for the Simón Bolivar Library and for the Laboratory of Specialized Analysis, among others, were finished. At the end of 1979, the University of Panama received the facilities of the Rainbow City High School in Colón, where the first of the University's Regional Centers would begin operations. In the following decade, the Regional Centers for the provinces of Veraguas, Chiriquí and Coclé, and for the region of Azuero were built, including an Agricultural Sciences Faculty in Chiriquí. [1]

In the 1990s, the Regional Center for Panamá Oeste (Western Panama) and four buildings destined for research were constructed. At the end of the decade, in 1999 to be more specific, the ARI (Interoceanic Regional Authority) transferred the buildings of the former Curundu Junior High School to the University of Panama. This complex would later hold the Harmodio Arias Madrid Campus. Other facilities transferred were the ones later used for the Veterinary Hospital, in Corozal.Also during this time, the University expanded its number of buildings by adding 19 more, thanks to the acquisition of adjacent buildings and to the construction of the Regional Center in Bocas del Toro, the extensions of Chepo and Darién, and the Popular Universities of Azuero and Coclé, today known as Universidades del Trabajo y La Tercera Edad (Universities of Labor and Elders). [1]

Since the 1980's, the campus administration has been accused of being a corrupted institution. This controversy is supported by the well-known efforts of the General Committee to maintain autonomy over the national government, announcing new laws and requirements to retain old professors in the top salaries and not leting new ones advance in the academia, and also for keeping authorities in extended periods of ruling, without proven success at office. Also is pointed-out in local news media that campus employees are inefficient and lazy due to not-so-strict policies to increase productivity and customer service. [1]

This has been the main cause in several occasions of heavy riots and violence perpetrated by student with left-wing ideals like the B.P.U, JP-15, and the most well-known FER-29. In more than one occasion the local police has been in confrontations with the angry students who paralyze traffic in one of the main avenues of the metropolitan area, the Via Transistmica, and confront the local police with homebrewed gas bombs, Molotov cocktails and rocks. Also the actual rector, Gustavo Garcia de Paredes, has been accused of making changes to the official campus constitution in order to remain in the highest decision-making levels of the institution. This is his second round as rector, and the campus laws specify that he can no longer run for a re-election; thus, the general committee is trying to create a new political figure to keep him in it. It has also been news the ideas of the government of closing the institution and let the private colleges take care of higher education. [1]

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