Budget: Nation agreed only with the UBA and unleashed the anger of the other universities

The University of Buenos Aires (UBA) announced this Wednesday that it reached an agreement with the Nation for the update of budget items and activated the discontent of the other houses of higher education in the country who described the measure as “inadmissible” and “provocative” .

Almost a month after the massive national march in defense of public education, the dispute over funds for universities added a new chapter. The national Executive ordered the single delivery of 270% of resources for the Buenos Aires university and activated the unanimous claim of the National Interuniversity Council (CIN) which brings together all the rectors of the country.

The rectors of the rest of the national universities came out hard to demand financing.

Through a strong document, the CIN demanded that the authorities transfer the same money as that arranged for the UBA: “It is inadmissible and provocative that the budget update is recognized only for one university and not for the entire system that brings together to a group of 60 universities throughout the country. We will not accept that there are first-class and second-class students.

“We immediately demand a resolution that guarantees an increase equal to that granted to the UBA for all public universities in the Nation,” the letter added.

See also“Without immediate concrete results”: universities met with the Government

After the march on April 23, the Government decided to change the negotiation strategy, removing the Undersecretary of University Policies, Alejandro Álvarez, from the focus of conflict, targeted for his confrontational ways.

The Secretary of Education, Carlos Torrendell, was in charge of talking to the rectors. However, the CIN Executive Committee was convened only once, on April 30, to a meeting at the Ministry of Human Capital, in which Minister Sandra Pettovello also participated, although there was no concrete proposal regarding the demands raised.

Sandra Pettovello received the rector of the UBA in parallel with the rectors of the CIN.Sandra Pettovello received the rector of the UBA in parallel with the rectors of the CIN.

An example of the dispute that took place this Wednesday took place on that occasion, when a day before, on April 29, the officials summoned the authorities of the University of Buenos Aires separately, without revealing any further information about what was discussed in the most recent meeting. than a photo and a press release.

Negotiations in Congress

The demand for funds for national public universities is developing in parallel in Congress. This Wednesday, the Radical Civic Union bloc in the Senate announced a “commitment” from the Minister of the Interior, Guillermo Francos, to guarantee university financing as part of the negotiations of the Bases law.

At the same time, the Government guaranteed the continuity of the University of Río Tercero (Córdoba), which had been suspended when this government took office. The efforts were carried out by the head of the UCR Deputies block, Rodrigo De Loredo, after meeting with Minister Petovello and Secretary Torrendell.

Torrendell, for his part, spoke on Tuesday evening in the Education Commission of Deputies and stated that there will be increases for public universities, but he avoided giving details about amounts and deadlines in which they will be issued.

The day before the 270% agreement for the UBA, the Secretary of Education maintained that a new 70% increase would be applied for operating expenses in the universities. He argued that his portfolio is “progressively increasing the budget, not in the desired way, but in the possible and responsible way.”

carlos torrendellTorrendell assured that the university budget “is being increased, not in the desired way, but possible.” Photo: Chamber of Deputies.

The toughest opposition blocs in the Lower House seek to advance a ruling that establishes a budget expansion for the remainder of the year, if the Executive Branch does not provide guarantees.

The project is based on the claim of the rectors of the 60 universities that operate in the country, that in the first five months of the year they have already exhausted the annual funds to cover current expenses, given the decision of the Executive to extend the budget of the last year but in a context of inflation and rate increases.

However, Torrendell stated that the Government is not in a position to draw a horizon of budget predictability for the remainder of the year, so the Government will only grant increases in dribs and drabs.

The UBA stands in “solidarity” with rectors and teachers

The Superior Council of the UBA resolved this Wednesday to suspend the budgetary emergency declared on April 10. “This arises from the reinforcement that the National Government approved after negotiations with the University authorities,” said the Buenos Aires university in a statement.

In the recitals of the resolution, the Superior Council stated that with the assigned reinforcement, the budget for operating expenses that had been extended has increased. “The aforementioned resolutions imply an update of expenses, not including salaries and other items, of 270% year-on-year with respect to the budget sanctioned for the university in 2023 and 300% for the university hospitals and those functions of the university linked to the healthcare area,” They explained.

As part of the same resolution, the UBA also declared the “state of alert and deep concern regarding salary recomposition, expressing the urgent need to reach a prompt agreement between the National Executive Branch, the National Interuniversity Council (CIN) and the union representatives of the National Universities, aimed at restoring the income of teaching and non-teaching workers to a fair salary; as well as with respect to the remaining items not yet updated and/or discontinued, particularly those linked to the areas of Science and Technology, University Extension and university infrastructure programs.

Likewise, the Superior Council of the University expressed itself in favor of the sanction of a University Financing Law that establishes objective parameters in the distribution of the budget of national universities, as well as an updating criterion that allows maintaining year after year, already throughout it, the purchasing power of the budget allocations made.

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