Executive Vice President of CRUCH, Juan Manuel Zolezzi: "Without financial support, the consequences of the pandemic on universities will bring serious structural consequences"

Rector Zolezzi spoke at the special session of the Chamber of Deputies this Tuesday, October 6 and referred to the effects that the pandemic has had on CRUCH universities. The negative financial impact is estimated at more than $179 billion pesos.

The CRUCH university groups gave an account of their commitment and contributions to face the health emergency, give continuity to the training processes and fulfill the tasks of research and connection with the environment.

This Tuesday, October 6, the Chamber of Deputies held a special session, requested by 55 deputies, to analyze the role of traditional universities in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the complex economic situation they have faced faced and that is seriously affecting their financial stability.

The session of this Tuesday, October 6 was attended by the Executive Vice President of the Council of Rectors, Juan Manuel Zolezzi; the President of the Consortium of State Universities of Chile, Rector Ennio Vivaldi; the Vice President of the Network of Non-State Public Universities, Rector Christian Schmitz; and the President of the Association of Regional Universities of Chile, rector Patricio Sanhueza. In addition, the Minister of Education and the Minister of Finance were summoned.

At the beginning of the session, some deputies highlighted the contribution of the CRUCH universities to the country during the pandemic and expressed the need to implement actions to support the work they carry out and ensure its sustainability, and for the students to have the necessary support to give continuity to their training processes.

Subsequently, the rector Zolezzi intervened, who indicated that in the face of the country's health, social and economic crisis due to the pandemic, CRUCH universities “have contributed to facing the health emergency through the construction of a support network for health services. health of the country that includes multiple initiatives to strengthen regional health networks, either in the prevention, detection or treatment of COVID-19. In addition, they have implemented all the necessary actions to maintain their undergraduate and graduate teaching, giving continuity to the training process of more than 350 thousand students; and to maintain their research tasks, university extension and connection with the environment ”.

In this context, "the universities of the Council of Rectors have had a negative financial impact of more than 179 billion pesos," said the executive vice president of CRUCH. Additionally, the impact of the application of article 108 of the Higher Education Law in the 2020 period must be considered, which reaches $26,902 million, plus $31,897 million in fiscal year 2019, which include the effects of social mobilizations.

Setting tariffs and Budget 2021

 

Added to the above are the consequences that the process of setting fees and the 2021 Budget Law Project would have for the universities of the Council of Rectors.

Regarding the process of setting fees carried out by the Undersecretariat of Higher Education, the CRUCH has expressed its observations in different instances, emphasizing that as the process is being carried out, the tariff regulation established in the calculation report of the Undersecretariat would have a negative impact on the set of CRUCH universities that would exceed $8,887 million pesos.

In relation to the 2021 Budget Law Project, the Council of Rectors is concerned about the decrease in the Direct Fiscal Contribution, AFD (5%); Institutional Contribution State Universities, AIUE (5%); Basal Performance Fund (15%); Regional Higher Education (15%); contribution to the University of Chile (20%); and the Program for Access to Higher Education, PACE (15%).

Although the 2021 Budget considers an increase of 6.8% for Gratuity, this responds to the incorporation of new private universities, to which is added an increase of 3.4% for the CAE, which contrasts with the decrease of 18% for scholarships and a 50% reduction in the Institutional Development Fund for State universities and its elimination for non-state public institutions.

“A very relevant point is that the 2021 Budget provides resources to non-CRUCH private higher education institutions, with fewer years of accreditation, less regional presence, fewer demands for control by the State, many of them without integrating the free public policy , to the detriment of state and non-state public institutions. In a scenario as complex as the current one, where the contribution of institutions with high public commitment has been undoubted, the signal sent by the Executive in the budget proposal is alarming, ”emphasized the executive vice president of CRUCH.

For his part, the vice-president of the G-9, rector Christian Schmitz pointed out that “we see with great concern the budget project that does not reward all the effort that we have made and that we are going to continue making, and that ultimately endangers the financial stability of our universities ”.

Meanwhile, the president of AUR, rector Patricio Sanhueza, said that “the allocation of regional higher education worries us a lot, because the regions had managed to get governments and the Ministry of Education to worry about having a lot that is too small to promote , encourage, support regional universities as they contribute to their territories. Well this is now down to 15% for the 2021 budget. ”

The president of CUECH, rector Ennio Vivaldi, stressed that now we have “the opportunity to reflect on how we want to project ourselves in the future, which is the only thing that can be the great favor that this tragedy that has been the pandemic does us. In the first place, the systemic, transdisciplinary view of the whole of society. It is a whole, we have to insist that we want it to be cohesive, that the common good exists ”.

CRUCH proposals

 

Both the Rector Zolezzi, as the Rectors Vivaldi, Schmitz and Sanhueza, reiterated the proposals that the Council of Rectors has delivered and that would reduce the negative impact on the universities. The responses to these proposals have been negative or have not been considered.

In this regard, the rector Vivaldi, said that "there is a capacity for maneuver that allows, as is the current legislation, if there is the will to help the universities that are free, to make life easy for them or not to make life easy for them. ”.

Finally, the rector Juan Manuel Zolezzi asserted that “without financial support, the consequences of the pandemic on the universities will bring serious structural consequences, since the decrease in income has been significant and with it the financing of essential activities for the country, such as like the postgraduate, the investigation, and the extension ”.