The Council of Rectors begins a Round of dialogue with parliamentarians

 The Council of Rectors presented to senators of the Finance and Housing commissions the proposals and proposals to address various Higher Education issues. 

With a breakfast held today at 8:30 a.m. at the Central House of the University of Chile, the Council of Rectors of Chilean Universities presented to a group of senators from the Finance and Housing committees the proposals and proposals to address various issues of Higher Education, which are on the agenda of work with government authorities and on which it is expected to advance quickly. 
 
Patrimonial reconstruction, student aid and the law authorizing long-term indebtedness of state universities were the main topics discussed at the meeting. 
 
Particular emphasis was placed on the patrimonial reconstruction of the universities, whose figures were classified by Senator Camilo Escalona as "worrying" due to their amount and urgency. "Universities have seen their patrimony reduced by 27,000 million, therefore it is an issue to be resolved now that the study of the budget law for next year begins," he said. "I think it is unsustainable to think, in the face of the Bicentennial, that a part of the national patrimony, as the universities have it, simply slide without any type of investment from the State through the Budget Law in subsequent years. For me it is impossible to think in a Bicentennial leaving the public universities abandoned "he concluded. 
 
For his part, Senator Juan Pablo Letelier pointed out that "the reconstruction of heritage within the framework of government reconstruction policies is not in place. It seems that the reconstruction of heritage (in the case of universities) was a matter for academics, and not "It is like this. We are talking about what we are as a country. We need the government to understand that the amount needed to put the universities back on their feet, as they were before the earthquake, is the responsibility of all Chileans," he said.
 
Ricardo Lagos Weber pointed out that this is an issue that is beyond the differences that political parties may have. "Universities fulfill a public function, a social role, and I hope that more deputies and senators will join in and raise their voices on an issue of this relevance "he added.
 
Another relevant issue was student aid, specifically the scholarship of 30,000 pesos granted to affected students and the one that has been requested to extend, as well as to expand its amount. "We must continue with this scholarship. We have stated that this amount is insufficient, since it is not enough to cover the needs of the affected students," said the vice president of the Council of Rectors, Víctor Pérez. Additionally, he referred to the 2011 budget, "which must have the necessary resources to maintain student aid, baseline resources and continue with projects as important as MECESUP," he stressed. 
 
The law for the authorization of long-term indebtedness of state universities was also the point of the meeting. "The issue was discussed with the understanding that its objective is the development of infrastructure and equipment and not a debt that has to be done to repair the damage of the earthquake," concluded Rector Pérez. 
 
At the end of the meeting, it was agreed to hold a series of additional meetings with all the banks, as well as with the government authorities during this year, in order to continue the work and to be able to incorporate new topics and approaches for an in-depth debate on the reforms of Higher Education in Chile. 
 
The meeting was attended by senators Camilo Escalona, Juan Pablo Letelier and Ricardo Lagos Weber; On the part of the Council, it was represented by its Vice-President Rector Víctor Pérez (U. de Chile) and Alfonso Muga (PUCV); by rectors of the affected areas Álvaro Rojas (U. de Talca), Alberto Larraín (Vice-rector for Economic Affairs of the U. de Concepción), Juan Zolezzi (USACH), and by the strategic committee of the Council, the rector Aldo Valle (UV ) and Guillermo Marshall (Pro-rector PUC).