27 January, 2023

Memory of the Alma Mater: El Salvador University 181 years of homeland history

Since its foundation, it was the students who, raised the flag of struggle for academic freedom, University autonomy and respect for Human Rights. Likewise, They have fought military dictatorships.

By Eduardo Cubias

Education – The history of the University of El Salvador marches parallel to the history of this troubled country. 20 years had elapsed since independence, when it was founded in 1841, the University of El Salvador, and since then, his public life, has left its mark in the different presidential periods, whether from conservative or liberal governments.

Since its foundation, it was the students who, raised the flag of struggle for academic freedom, University autonomy and respect for Human Rights. Likewise, They have fought military dictatorships.

Photo: Courtesy.

University, from the beginning it has led struggles against political and economic power, the coffee oligarchy, repression against indigenous peoples and corruption in fascist governments. All this has cost blood, pain, death and mourning throughout its history

Also the chase, jail and exile of his best sons. Minerva has always been in mourning.

During the first years of conservative governments, the students were against the interference of the church by imposing the dogma and the cloister, in academic and administrative, respectively, as scholastic norms in this house of studies. Politically and economically, the students were against the power of the State.

Photo: Courtesy.

In this context, We remember the fierce struggles of liberal patriots for a secular education starring Gerardo Barrios, in his fight against Francisco Dueñas and his conservative government, in the last months of 1859.

Years later, University, In addition to the Church and the State. face a new adversary: the coffee oligarchy, and its desire for power as a new economic class that wields, also, their political and social dominance., who saw the University of El Salvador as a threat to their capitalist interests.

On the other hand, to the struggles of the liberals for academic freedom and university autonomy is added the demand for a fair budget. The University requires funds for its operation and development. While the Conservatives rule, the budget is only enough for the payment of salaries and administrative expenses, this demand has been maintained throughout the history of the Alma Mater.

Photo:Courtesy.

Presidential dynasties and dictatorships, whether civilian or military, have always affected the University, and this has worked between the ups and downs of internal struggles, between liberals and conservatives, and it is good to remember that these wars, they left the state coffers empty and without funds for the support of the University.

And so we arrive at the end of the 19th century., when the University becomes State Opposition and begins to be a victim of repression against officials, teachers and students.

New popular organizations have emerged and the University leads the protest movements as a defender of Human Rights.