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Nicaragua: “We All Cried Over the Closure of the Institute”

When they were 30 days away from graduating from a technical career, 180 young people were left hopeless. Forty workers and teachers left unemployed

Facade of the Victoria Technological Institute (ITV) in Managua.

Iván Olivares

1 de julio 2024


The cancellation of the legal status and registration of the Victoria Technological Institute (ITV), which was sponsored by the Nicaraguan Brewery Company, left around 180 students who were pursuing various technical careers in this educational institution, which had been authorized since 2013 by the National Council of Universities, in an educational and labor limbo.

The closure was unexpected. So much so that neither the administrative staff nor the teachers, and even less the students, knew about it until it was finalized, according to the testimonies of three students, JP, Rafael, and Anielka, as well as a teacher (Ignacio) and an administrative worker (Saul), who agreed to speak with CONFIDENCIAL on the condition that they be identified with pseudonyms.

The closure of ITV is “an outrage against the most deprived young population of Nicaragua,” says Professor Ignacio, considering the number of students who studied on scholarships, the quality of education they received, and the increased job opportunities their graduates had.

When they were just over 30 days away from graduating from their respective technical careers, the 180 students received the news of the closure of an institute where “neither the children of the Ortegas, nor the children of Sandinista entrepreneurs, and much less those of the Pellas family or other big businesspeople studied,” said the professor.

Those who studied there were “the son of the lady who sells tortillas, the daughter of the lady who sells cold water, the young man who gets up at four in the morning to load sacks at the Oriental market to have money for his bus fare to go to receive his technical specialization classes in a responsible institute,” says Ignacio, citing real cases.

“What the government did is a vile and blatant theft from Nicaraguan youth,” says Ignacio, without forgetting that the closure of the educational institution meant leaving almost forty workers unemployed, including teachers and administrative staff.

Ignacio had to emigrate abroad even before ITV closed, but so did Saul, a man of few words when talking to a journalist, who only limited himself to saying, “I’m looking for a job,” after working for such a prestigious entity as ITV.

At the end of 2018, the regime headed by Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo first ordered their deputies in the National Assembly, and later the Ministry of the Interior, to cancel around 3,660 NGOs, including those that requested voluntary dissolution to get ahead of the guillotine.

The stories of JP, Rafael, and Anielka are marked by three common emotions: crying, anger, and uncertainty, plus a feeling of being victims of an injustice they cannot understand.

JP: It Was a Selfish Decision

I heard about ITV in 2022 from some friends I went to a fair with at the Olof Palme (Convention Center) to see what careers we could study after graduating high school. After completing the process, I was worried for a few days because my friends were being called to confirm they had been admitted, and I hadn’t heard anything. I thought, they got in, and I didn’t, so I prayed to God until they called me to come and start the process because I had been awarded a full scholarship.

While we were completing the subjects in the third year of studies, waiting for July 18 to graduate, on the morning of June 11, the career coordinator came and told us, “Guys, leave what you are doing. I need you to come with me because they are going to make an announcement.” We thought: they are going to tell us something, they are going to call us out for something we might have done.

When we arrived at the multipurpose room, we were surprised because normally when they called us, it was by career, but this time it was everyone, and when we saw it filling up, we began to say, ‘this is something serious, it’s something bad.’ Then the director spoke and told us, “Guys, they took away our legal status, and we don’t know why. They just told us to shut down operations, so from now on, you can’t do anything here. Put away your tools, put away everything,” and the lamentations and cries began. That hit us hard as students because we were already in the final stretch.

I knelt with my hands on my head and said to myself, ‘The Lord knows why things happen.’ I began to hug my classmates, and we asked ourselves, “What am I going to tell my father? What am I going to do? What will happen after this?” because, given the situation, there won’t be another opportunity like this.

I feel that closing ITV is a selfish decision because we, as young people, are the generation that the country will depend on, the one that will make it possible or not for it to improve, but the government wants to have control of everything. Since then, I redid my resume and submitted it to many places, including a call center, to see if I could get a job.

Rafael: We All Started Crying

When I graduated from high school, my intention was to enter UNI, but I failed the admission test, despite having good grades. After that, a friend told me that ITV offered classes, so I went and applied for a full scholarship, which required grades above 70%. Most of us had full scholarships, some opted for half scholarships, and the rest had to pay, but I didn’t know anyone who paid. There were different types of scholarships: transportation, food, school supplies, etc.


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My time at ITV was something I had never seen in high school, although we already know that public high school doesn’t have a very high academic level. I was surprised from the beginning that they gave a psychometric test, a math test, and an interview before starting a one-week leveling course, and then starting classes.

At first, I had problems because I felt the classes were very difficult, but then I understood that they weren’t, rather, they had a high level. The teachers were excellent and always available to answer our questions: they gave us information, PDFs, or books to expand our knowledge.

On June 11, the third-year students were finishing their class projects; the Administration students were doing pre-defenses of their thesis, and the rest of us were starting to formulate the bases to develop a functional mechanical project. Around 10:30 in the morning, we were called to a meeting, and we were surprised to see it was for the entire Institute, not just our career. When we were all there, they communicated the news of the closure.

What followed was a chain reaction: we all started crying. There was a lot of discouragement. At that moment, we didn’t know what to do, so we started putting away the tools as we had been instructed. After putting them away, we said goodbye to the teachers because we didn’t know if we would see them again or hear from them.

That moment was disastrous. Some people walked away; others — and that was heartbreaking for me — called their mothers. People who had never cried, who I had never seen cry, or who I never thought were that sensitive, broke down when calling their mothers because they might have had many economic problems, and this was their last option to get a degree.

I’ve seen news where they say this was a robbery of the Institute because all the tools that were there remained with the government. I can’t confirm if it’s a robbery or not since I’m not very familiar with the political process.

For most of us, it’s too late to start a university career because we would graduate around 25 years old, and some older people would graduate at 30. Right now, I’m looking for a job. I sent my resume to many places with the help of the teachers, who support us in knowing where there are job opportunities. If I can start working, I would study a career — whether technical or engineering — on Saturdays or Sundays.

Anielka Graduated on Time

I graduated from ITV in May of last year. I heard about the Foundation from a friend who was trying to get in. I tried twice but succeeded on the second try because I didn’t prepare much the first time, but then I wanted to be there because it seemed like an institution with many opportunities, especially since it was backed by a prestigious company, one of the most important in the country.

The facilities looked beautiful: everything in order, everything they had was out of the ordinary. It was totally different from what I knew, and I told myself: next year, I want to be here, so I prepared, and thank God, I got in, which was really nice. I wanted to be in a university, but I didn’t want to spend many years on a degree, so it was good to be able to do a shorter career that covered everything with impressive educational quality.

I had excellent teachers. The quality I found was something I didn’t expect. I graduated very grateful for all the support the institution gave us during the three years of the career. They never left us alone. To this day, I can say they kept an eye on us. Even after graduation, they have always been with us, and that is not something you see everywhere.

I heard about the closure when the students shared the news on Facebook. I took it very badly, with a mix of anger and sadness, because it was one of the few institutes with impressive educational quality, comparable to a prestigious university. It was sad. I was very, very, very angry with everything I was reading, asking myself, “How is this possible?” thinking about those who couldn’t get in, those who were about to finish, those who were halfway through.

I got angry and cried. It was very sad, but I felt lucky and proud to have graduated from that institution and to be where I am now because if I have a job, it’s thanks to the education I received; otherwise, I would still be a university student, and we know that the level of ‘higher’ education today in Nicaragua is extremely low. It’s horrible.

The country lost one of the last institutions that provided quality technical education. Universities that were once prestigious have become mediocre, and it is really sad because ITV offered an important option to many young people who didn’t have to pay a single córdoba but only had to put in all their effort and dedication to become professionals.

This article was published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times. To get the most relevant news from our English coverage delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe to The Dispatch.


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Iván Olivares

Iván Olivares

Periodista nicaragüense, exiliado en Costa Rica. Durante más de veinte años se ha desempeñado en CONFIDENCIAL como periodista de Economía. Antes trabajó en el semanario La Crónica, el diario La Prensa y El Nuevo Diario. Además, ha publicado en el Diario de Hoy, de El Salvador. Ha ganado en dos ocasiones el Premio a la Excelencia en Periodismo Pedro Joaquín Chamorro Cardenal, en Nicaragua.