Peru has one of the strongest economies in Latin America. As a democratic republic consisting of 25 regions, it is considered a fast developing country with a high Human Development Index score and a poverty level of around 25.8 percent. Main economic activities include mining, manufacturing, agriculture and fishing. The Peruvian population, estimated at 31.2 million in 2015, is multiethnic, including Amerindians, Europeans, Africans and Asians. The main language is Spanish, but a significant number of Peruvians speak Quechua or other native languages.
The Peruvian economy has been growing by an average of 5.6% for the past five years with a stable exchange rate and low inflation, which in 2013 was just below the upper limit of the Central Bank’s target range of 1-3%. Solid macroeconomic policies and positive external conditions have stimulated high growth in employment and low inflation amidst gains in financial and social inclusion. For the last three years, this growth has been due partly to high international prices for Peru’s metal and mineral exports which account for almost 60% of the country’s total exports. In recent years, Peru has been a fully dedicated member of the Pacific Alliance alongside Chile, Colombia, and Mexico. This alliance accounts for more than 40% of FDI in Latin America and Peru’s participation will lead to positive changes in the economic climate of the region.
The biggest risks for Peru’s economy are the deceleration of one of Peru’s main trading partners – China, and the growing social turmoil in the mining sector which would negatively affect the investment climate. At the same time, Peru’s small but well-capitalised and supervised financial sector is highly dollarized, which can result in potential currency risks.
Peru has made tremendous strides in reducing its dependence on mineral resources, and the President Ollanta Humala has made the education sector a top priority for the government. Education spending increased to 3.5% of GDP in 2015 from less than 3% in 2014, and by 2021, the index will be at around 6%. Despite the economic boom in the country, the results from the most recent OECD Programme for International Student Assessment rankings point out that students in Peru underperform in reading, maths and science as compared to 64 other countries. The economic growth, combined with the problematic education sector has triggered an increase in the outbound student mobility in the country. At the same time, since 2014 Peru has set a plan to achieve national bilingualism by 2021 and is investing more resources in student and teacher training abroad.
In recent years the country has invested more than $136 million in science and technology, with the aim to cultivate more STEM graduates in order to advance key industries such as mining and agriculture. According to a World Bank report, major future challenges will include achieving stronger, more sustainable economic growth and further strengthening linkages between growth and equity.
Student Mobility Trends
Students abroad in 2013: 14,204
Top destination countries:
- Spain (3,490)
- USA (2,430)
- Italy (1,760)
- Cuba (1,143)
- France (783)
- Brazil (615)
- Germany (604)
- Australia (364)
- Chile (361)
- UK (246)
- Canada (204)
International Education Cooperation Agreements
- UK: memorandum of understanding for English language and teacher training and partnerships with UK institutions
- Canada: institution-specific agreements and study permits for over 200 students
- Australia: agreement on cooperation in postgraduate scholarships
- France: 13 agreements for cooperation in HE and research
- Germany: ALEPRONA agreement for masters and PhD programmes
“Becas Presidente de la República”
The country’s National Programme for Scholarships and Education Loans – PRONABEC provides a range of funding opportunities, including the so-called “President of the Republic” scholarship is destined for Peruvian citizens residing in Peru and is available for full-time masters programmes (up to two years) and PhD programmes (up to four years). Through the scheme, postgraduate students could receive access to degrees in one of the top 400 institutions ranked by QS world, ARWU and Times Higher Education in 52 countries over the world.
The purpose of the scholarship is to further enhance the knowledge and skills of the country’s top talent abroad and, with the requirement for students to return home once their studies are complete, the government hopes to build a network of qualified professionals who would be able to help address the existing skills gap and help for the country’s economic advancement. More details are available on the programme’s official website.
Scholarships offered by other countries:
The organisation of American States has among its top priorities to promote and increase educational opportunities in the Western Hemisphere. The scholarships granted by the regular programme are intended for master’s degrees, PhDs and graduate research and are available to all students from the OAS Member States. They should apply and secure themselves a place at institutions across South and Central America, Canada and USA.
This is a very peculiar opportunity, granted by the Association of Nikkei and Japanese Abroad and available exclusively to young Japanese descendants, aged between 18 and 35. Applicants should be interested in promoting development of relationships between Japan and their country of residence and also engage in volunteering and social activities. Japanese language knowledge is required for attending lectures and general communication and if students would like to improve it, they have the opportunity to take lessons for 6 months to one year. The scholarship includes all areas of study and covers flights, tuition, course materials, life and travelling expenses and medical insurance.
New Zealand Development Scholarship
The New Zealand Aid Programme provides scholarships for postgraduates from several Latin American countries with preference to the following disciplines: agriculture development and renewable energy. Applicants should be no younger than 18 years old and must return to their home country for a minimum of two years after competing the degree. The types of courses funded are postgraduate certificates (6 months), postgraduate diplomas (1 year) and master’s degrees (1-2 years).
Etiquette and Customs
- Peruvians – and Latin Americans in general – tend to have a much smaller ‘personal space’ than North American and Europeans are accustomed to and it can be considered rude or unfriendly to back away from a person you are in a conversation with.
- It’s considered polite to always greet people properly. A simple ‘buenos dias’ when meeting and an ‘hasta luego’ when leaving are sufficient.
- An indirect style of communication is preferred over a direct style. It’s best to imply what you are saying then actually saying it.
- It is important to show that you are listening to the speaker, so occasional eye contact is important, however, one should not hold the gaze for too long.
- Deadlines and timescales are fluid in Peru. Patience will play an essential part in successful cross-cultural management.
- Personal relationships are important in dealing with Peruvians. They prefer to deal with those they trust therefore much time is spent in developing the relationship.
- Do not discuss politics or indigenous groups unless you have developed close relationships or understand the culture.
- Peruvians belong to a hierarchical culture where authority is expected to be respected, consequently titles are important and surnames may be used.
- Crossing your legs by resting the ankle of one leg on the knee of the other is considered inappropriate. It’s best to cross your legs at the knee.
- Refrain from motioning for someone to come near you by opening your hand and moving your finger or fingers toward you as this may be considered rude.
Student Recruitment Tips
The most influential factor among 53% of the surveyed Peruvian students when deciding to go abroad to pursue further education, are people who already work in the same field of their interest. They care to be engaged in a rewarding job and become experts in their area of occupation. Considering the figures, a suitable approach for attracting prospective students could be focusing on the institution’s links with industry and strengthening relationships with companies across all sectors. Demonstrating strong partnerships with international organisations would encourage applications from Peruvians who aim to receive relevant professional development. Examples of successful alumni using videos and case studies to reflect their current work experience or testimonials from companies’ representatives to stress upon the university’s reputation in the industry would be appropriate tactics in recruiting students from Peru.