Directors of the public higher education system expressed theirconcern about reducing the budget to public universities. This happened in thesession of the Economic Development Commission of the National Assembly, on theafternoon of this Monday, November 12, 2018.
The budget amount went from USD 1 443.04 million, in September2018, to USD 1 297, 91 for next year in the budget Pro forma. That is, USD145.1 million less, the cut reaches 10%. Three are the main concerns: budgetreduction, late allocation of items and non-compliance with the reforms to theOrganic Law of Higher Education (LOES).
The demand of students each period requires human talent, technology and infrastructure, that will be affected by the lack of resources, said Jaime Calderón, director of the National Polytechnic School (EPN). Also the execution of investigations and projects. He pointed out that this cut will affect the autonomy of the universities guaranteed in article 355 of the Constitution.
For Pablo Vanegas, director of the University of Cuenca, the reduction will not only affect infrastructure projects and the implementation of laboratories and classrooms for student demand, but could also affect the operation of universities.
In addition to the reduction, Vanegas referred to other problems such as the delay in the implementation of proposals raised in the reform of the LOES such as the generation of a special hiring system for universities or the creation of collection accounts to allocate self-management, constraints to operate projects.
The sub-execution is another inconvenience observed by the directors. They added that the money that should be allocated between the first months of the year is between September and November. “That makes it impossible to manage and execute the budget because it’s too late,” added Vanegas. They ask for this to be solved.
Another point that stood out is that the demands of the State have been focused on expanding quotas, careers and modalities, “currently that is difficult, even worse with the approval of that Pro form,” said Byron Vaca, director of the Polytechnic School of Chimborazo.
That university, for example, received 6,000 new students for this period. Silvia Salgado, president of the commission of Education, said that this reduction will not help to comply with what is established in the LOES regarding expanding coverage, generating new modalities and reinforcing, even, technical and technological education.
She also said that there is concern that the increase in payment to teachers is not contemplated. In the Economic Development Commission, it was resolved to work together with the Board of Education, to generate a report with recommendations and proposals to the budget Pro, to avoid this reduction.
It was established that until Wednesday, November 14, it should beready. For its construction, proposals of university and polytechnic directorswill be collected. (I)