Following decades of political interference, Argentina has emerged with an accreditation
process for the study of informatics. This article
discusses forty-five years of political difficulties as they
affected computer education in Argentina. Following
this history, the article presents the current state of
Argentinean informatics, presenting the standards for
accreditation and the status of enrollment and graduation
at the undergraduate and associate levels. Finally, the
article summarizes the constitution and activities of the
national professional society.
In 2014, the Argentinean IT community will celebrate the
100th birthday of Manuel Sadosky, an event commemorated with
conferences, competitions and publications. Sadosky, known as
Argentina’s father of computer science (CS) studies, created the
first higher education program in computing, hosted the first Argentine computer, and developed the first IT professional association. However, due to political turbulence, it took almost forty-five
years for CS academia to reach Sadosky’s vision. Despite abundant natural resources covering more than one million square miles
( 2,800,000 square kilometers), a population of forty million inhabitants, and relatively few racial or ethnic conflicts, eighty years of
political instability crippled the development of the sciences, including computer science.
The faltering of the growth of the sciences in Argentina is particularly remarkable seen against the country’s history in education.
In 1613, two hundred years before Argentina’s founding, the Jesuits
created the first university in Córdoba, made public in 1858. In 1821,
Argentina’s second university, the University of Buenos Aires, came
into existence following the Napoleonic model of the “Imperial University” with the goal of forming the national leaders. The growth in
the 20th century has been dramatic. In 1955, there were only seven
universities in Argentina, all of them public. By 2000, there were
more than one hundred public and private universities.
According to Fernández Lamarra [ 15], the same explosive expansion took place in all Latin American countries: there were
seventy-five universities in all Latin America in 1950, but more
than 1,500 universities in 2003.
COMPUTER SCIENCE IN
ARGENTINA: THE PAST
Jacovkis [ 16] describes the curious history of computer science in
Argentina. Computer science began late (more than ten years later
than in the USA), had a ten-year span of flowering, but was completely destroyed by the military dictatorship in 1966. Disregarding
some advances in small universities in the 1970s, the science only
began a weak revival in 1983.
Regarding Argentina’s late entry into computer science, some
authors attribute this to a lack of critical mass of computer scientists in the years from 1945 to 1955, but the disruptions that followed were political in nature.
In 1955, by the time President Juan Domingo Perón was overthrown, there were only seven universities in Argentina, all of them
• Rosita Wachenchauzer •