ALDO VALLE: "We reiterate CRUCH's commitment to the gratuity initiative, it is a public policy in favor of the country"

 Council of Rectors of Chilean Universities (CRUCH) held its monthly session in the city of Copiapó, an activity organized by the University of Atacama. On the occasion, the rectors were able to analyze the scenario that exists around the gratuity for Higher Education, after the approval of gloss No. 5 in the Budget Law and the presentation of Parliamentarians opposed to the initiative before the Constitutional Court (TC).


 "We value the political decision of both the government and the Parliament because the approval of this initiative was achieved, not without problems, nor without errors or mistakes," said the Executive Vice President of the Council of Rectors regarding the approval of the Budget Law that contains the gloss N ° 5 to finance free higher education for the first five most vulnerable deciles as of 2016. “In the framework of our monthly session, we have analyzed what is related to said approval in Congress and we believe that this will represent a relief for thousands of young people and their families who will not have to go into debt to be able to finance their higher education ”, specified Valle. Who also reiterated CRUCH's commitment to this public policy in favor of the country, “beyond the governments of the day, the decisions or political sympathies that may exist, this goes to the direct benefit of those who need it and can better serve the country. ”.


Regarding the recent presentation of some opposition parliamentarians to the Constitutional Court to reverse the initiative, the rector of the University of Valparaíso was clear in pointing out that “regardless of which political sector has started this presentation before the TC, it seems to us that it is not good transferring political differences from Congress or from the political scene to a body of constitutional jurisdiction, it is not good to put the TC in the situation of having to make decisions that have a political effect that responds, in our opinion, to political differences beyond the legal assessments that may exist, "said the Executive Vice President of the Council of Rectors.


Despite the current scenario, Rector Valle was confident that the gratuity policy will continue, even with an adverse ruling, "if there is an adverse ruling, Parliament retains the power to establish another way in which it will be carried out. this public policy, because the TC cannot substitute the political powers of Parliament and the Executive Power ”. In this way, the CRUCH authority considers it legitimate for its schools to be part of this gratuity policy, “we are institutions that have served the country for many years, we do so in accordance with the standards that are widely recognized in the social scrutiny of Chile. and therefore we believe with all confidence that we must be part of the initiative that constitutes that next year thousands of young people will no longer have to go into debt to get to higher education ”, he explained.


For his part, Francisco Martínez Head of DIVESUP said that the presentation to the TC is very extensive and has several issues on which it can pronounce itself, therefore, it is not very easy to identify what the possible situations are going to be, "for that reason it is necessary to wait for what the opinion of the Constitutional Court will be and analyze it in its context, to see what situation we are facing, "said Martínez, who participated in the CRUCH session. The head of the DIVESUP also expressed that the TC is not asked to eliminate the gratuity, "what may be in discussion are aspects of how the gratuity will be implemented, not the existence of the benefit, nor is the power to use resources modified, if one reads the text of the TC that we are analyzing, in general it refers to specific implementations that appear in the gloss and not to the existence of gratuitousness ”, he specified.


Regarding the possible postponement of the presentation of the Higher Education Reform project, the rector Aldo Valle said that “it seems to us that we are wasting time because it is very important that the government present the project as soon as possible, but we understand that if it has been extended the time and that goes to the benefit of having a better bill, we support this additional time, for a bill that has a delay of several decades ”. In this scenario, one or two months of delay may not be so significant, but the Valley clarified that there is an urgent political urgency.


According to the latest modifications in the procedures of the Budget Law, there will no longer be agreements between the institutions and the State, there will be a unilateral manifestation of the institutions expressing to the MINEDUC that they will access the free regime under the conditions established in the gloss budget, an issue that the rectors discussed with the Head of DIVESUP, making him see that there are still schools with significant gaps, “it seems unacceptable that some institutions still present gaps that represent a threat to formulate their budgets for 2016, although the information that we have had is that these gaps are on the decline, in the case of some universities these gaps are burdensome, "said Valle.


In this regard, Francisco Martínez acknowledged that “we have worked systematically, throughout this time, trying to limit these discussions and we continue to do so, since we are still working with the institutions and there are some situations with open issues, but they will continue to be analyzed, but it is a subject in which we have a wide predisposition to clarify and refine ”. The head of DIVESUP called not to forget that these are estimates that vary according to parameters such as one estimates what is going to happen, “what is really going to happen is going to happen when the student enrolls and it is verified that the student enter and that will happen, both for gratuity and for scholarships, therefore this issue exceeds the nature of a previous analysis that we are doing to share opinions, but the existence of gaps does not belong to public policy, the gaps are they refer to estimates and it has nothing to do with reality ”, argued Martínez.


When asked about the process for Universities to adhere to the Gratuity, Martínez explained that it is the universities themselves that must express their decision to do so and for this there is a deadline until December 22, "the times are clear and agreed on the 22 of December several days before the students have to enroll it will be clear which institutions are participating in the process, it seems to us that there is a very good spirit of participation, in general the institutions are about to enter free and we are only waiting for the issue is closed with the Constitutional Court in order to implement the entire process, "he concluded.


Source: Communications Area, Council of Rectors, November 26, 2015.