“In Ecuador the experience is overrated,” said Jorge Zavala Baquerizo an attorney from Guayaquil, during an interview with the editor of Diario Expreso, Rubén Darío Buitron, on January 13.
The phrase was the conclusion of his response regarding the concerns about the government’s requirement that the university classes can only be given by those who have PhDs.
Jorge Zavala Baquerizo was Vice President of Ecuador, an attorney specializing in criminal law, author of numerous books about his specialty and also a university professor. He’s one of the most recognized Ecuadorians in the field of law and recently retired from being a university professor, after 55 years of uninterrupted teachings.
“I promptly resigned to teaching due to that resolution (the government regulations that only one is allowed to teach to university students with a fourth level degree). Since I am only a doctor in law, therefore I can no longer be a teacher, so I chose to retire,” he said.
When the reporter asked: “how can an eminence in law as yourself cannot be a professor?” He replied: “I have no title that credits me as an eminence. I do not have such profound knowledge of the subject. Today Ecuador no longer values the experience, the years in the classroom, the practice. Nothing. What matters is the title. Not the true knowledge.”
Despite his retirement from the university classrooms, he still works in his office, he continues to read and write, he continues to think what new book to produce, despite the dozens of manuscripts he has published that are of mandatory reading for judges, prosecutors, lawyers, and students of the career. Also, Bella Gellibert, his secretary, assures he is very punctual and that in his office he not only writes and read, he also takes his time to call Bella and the study staff to narrate them juicy political stories about the city and the country, or his exciting experiences as a lawyer in cases that left great lessons in the courts.
Bella appreciates it so much that one day, a few years ago, she decided to pursue a career in law to try, at least, to put into practice what was learned empirically in her daily contact with the doctor, an expert lawyer, who also likes crosswords.
The legal expert prefers not to qualify the government’s decision that led him to his retirement, but “what I can say is that this is an absolutely inconvenient for the university youth.” He justifies his statement by saying that teaching cannot be limited to repeat texts or quoting authors, but to transmit the practice. Despite what the people with the diploma says, the practice is not given by the titles, but the constant exercise, the daily comings and goings of the career.
“Students will be harmed, no doubt, because they do not receive classes of teachers that have managed to merge theory with practice, as it should always be. The theory is no good if its not accompanied by practical experience and pragmatism that is given by the experiences of practicing the profession,” said.
And although he does not believe that the formation of the future professionals is in any danger, he assured that there will be gaps, deficiencies and blanks in the knowledge of the profession. And that is concerning for a society that needs lawyers with great knowledge of their specialties.
As the teacher he is as during the interview he made a judgment about the measure: “The government had to be more aware of what this could generate. At least it must give a ten-year term so that somebody can earn a PhD while at the same time practice the profession. The demand for the moment seems unnecessary, but it is very good for the future of the Ecuadorian professionals, so they have higher standards to become better.”
The interview concludes with a confession of his secretary: “The other day, with nostalgia, he mentioned aloud that he would never return to college.”