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Training and Education

Army conscripts received their training in the units to which they were assigned. The quality of basic training depended greatly on the importance attached to it by the brigade commander. In an effort to standardize unit training, the Department of Instruction was created in army headquarters in 1988. Special ranger, underwater demolition, parachute, and other similar courses were given at brigade level. Upon attaining the rank of corporal, conscripts accepted for enlistment for further service could apply to one of several NCO schools. Each school included a core curriculum accompanied by training in a military occupational specialty at such facilities as the armor school at Riobamba or the engineers' school at Esmeraldas. The intense competition and the difficulty of the courses produced a high dropout rate among NCO candidates.

Cadets preparing for commissioning as army second lieutenants studied at the Eloy Alfaro Advanced Military School (Escuela Superior Militar "Eloy Alfaro") in Parcayacu, approximately fifteen kilometers north of Quito. Candidates had to complete the ninth grade of school and pass a battery of written examinations, interviews, and psychological screening. In 1987 approximately 130 cadets graduated from the school's three-year course of study, which corresponded to the final three years of high school. The Eloy Alfaro school offered separate curricula for cadets opting for combat arms (infantry, armor, artillery, engineers, and signals), service branches (administration, supply, transportation), and service support branches (health, military justice, cartography). Observers considered the school's quarters, sports facilities, and training areas to be excellent. Additional construction was expected to allow enrollment to climb from 500 in 1987 to 800 cadets by 1989.

Prior to promotion, lieutenants and captains each attended separate nine-month courses at the Advanced Training Institute (Escuela de Perfeccionamiento). Courses covered tactical operations, integration of the various service arms, and branch-oriented training. Total enrollment was about 165.

The Army War Academy (Academia de Guerra del EjÚrcito), located in a southern suburb of Quito, prepared majors for command and general staff posts or for assignments to service elements at brigade and higher echelons. The study material corresponded to that of the United States Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The academy offered a two-year program for officers of combat arms and a one-year program for service and service support officers. Enrollment in 1987 was forty-five in the combat arms track and seventy in the service tracks.

The Army Polytechnic Institute (Escuela PolitÚcnica del EjÚrcito--Espe), located in Quito, combined the functions of a technical training school, a technical college, and a postgraduate scientific and engineering university. Espe included undergraduate departments of civil, mechanical, and electronic engineering as well as geography. A graduate-level program consisted of industrial and systems engineering. Although administered along quasi-military lines, Espe had a largely civilian faculty and student body. Military attendees ranged from soldiers from the enlisted ranks through mid-level officers. Several Espe dependent institutes offered nondegree courses in basic sciences, languages, computer programming and systems analysis, and industrial administration. One Espe branch at Latacunga, the Advanced Technical Institute of the Armed Forces, offered practical training in automotive mechanics, electronics, telecommunications, and automatic data processing.

The Institute of Higher National Studies at Quito offered a one-year course for ranking military officers of all three services and for civilian officials. Comparable to the National Defense University in Washington, the institute offered a curriculum focused on the planning and execution of policies at the highest levels of government. The NSC supervised the operation of the institute.

Each of the services operated a number of schools for children in the first through the ninth grades. Although originally intended to help families of military personnel avoid difficulties arising from divergent school calendars in the Costa (coastal region) and the Sierra, the schools also accepted children of civilians on a tuition basis. Ecuadorians rated these schools highly; as a result, competition for admission was keen. Graduates of the armed forces schools had an advantage in applying for admission to one of the service academies.

Data as of 1989

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