The Executive Vice President of the CRUCH, rector Juan Manuel Zolezzi, stated that “we have worked with the parliamentarians, with their advisers, to see the alternatives that exist and we will be in this democratic process of the Budget until the end, until we have recovered it. that we think we should recover. Obviously, we start from the base that we are going to solve our problems or most of them ”.
The rector Carlos Saavedra, a member of the CRUCH Economic Commission, with respect to the 2021 Budget for Higher Education pointed out that “in total there are 42 billion pesos that are reduced in the budget and, since they are basically basal funds, they are incorporated in the functioning of all institutions ”.
In today's session of the Council of Rectors, which was attended by the Undersecretary of Higher Education, Juan Eduardo Vargas, one of the central issues was the proposal presented by the Undersecretary of Higher Education corresponding to expenses not established in permanent laws for Education Superior for the year 2021, which was rejected by the Fourth Mixed Subcommittee on Budgets last Monday, October 26.
"We raised all concerns with the Undersecretary with all frankness and towards the end of the meeting (it seemed to me) that he had a broader view," said the executive vice president of CRUCH, rector Juan Manuel Zolezzi at the end of the session on Thursday 29 October. "Even on the issue of the Solidarity Fund, he again invited a work table," he added.
Given that the working table was given an urgent nature, “probably today we are going to communicate (with the undersecretary),” Zolezzi announced, while he announced the names of the rectors that will make up said instance: “they are the presidents of the associations (of the CRUCH) that have been presenting permanently in Parliament, that is, the rector Ennio Vivaldi (President Consortium of State Universities of Chile, CUECH), the rector Patricio Sanhueza (president of the Regional University Association) , the rector Diego Durán (President of the Non-State Public Universities, G-9), the speaker and the rector Carlos Saavedra, as president of the CRUCH Economic Commission ”.
For his part, the rector Saavedra, from the University of Concepción, recalled that "on Monday a presentation was made in the mixed commission where in one of the interventions we were invited to have a dose of realism in this period." In this regard, he emphasized that “in this period the CRUCH universities have guaranteed the continuity of academic functions and contributed to public policies for the care of citizens (in a pandemic). Therefore, under these conditions, universities and their communities have had a greater dose of realism. And what we propose is that this dose of realism reaches all the actors of the system ”.
Saavedra indicated that the budget proposed by the Undersecretariat “presents a significant decrease in institutional funds and, in particular, there is a heading for G9 universities that have a decrease of 100%, they are eliminated. In total, there are 42 billion pesos that are reduced in the budget and, since they are basically basal funds, they are incorporated into the operation of all the institutions ”.
With regard to Gratuity, although there is an increase of 6.8%, it is to accommodate the new institutions that join, but in Saavedra's opinion, "the advancement of gratuity must be made with new resources and not with redistributions that eliminate budget items that affect the network of public universities distributed in the country.
Regarding the debate on the 2021 Budget, the Executive Vice President explained that "when one faces these budgetary discussions, the Executive has to defend its budget, and we have to state that it is necessary to make adjustments and improvements." In this context, "one expects the country to prioritize certain things and obviously one of those priorities is education, science and technology."
Regarding the next steps, Zolezzi said that “we have worked with the parliamentarians, with their advisers, to see the alternatives that exist and we will be in this democratic process of the Budget until the end, until we have recovered what we think that we must recover. Obviously, we start from the base that we are going to solve our problems or most of them ”.
"We hope that there is flexibility from the Executive and, accompanied by the possibilities of support from the legislature, the necessary flexibilities will be generated for the use of existing resources, such as the University Credit Solidarity Fund," Saavedra added.
One aspect of the discussion focused on the $ 12 billion emergency fund approved by Congress not to reduce the 2021 budget in the relevant areas. “One of the main objectives was to guarantee that the effects that this pandemic could have were the minimum possible in the budget law. As far as we know, this package has been partially used and there are significantly important resources still in force and they are oriented towards infrastructure, in areas in which sometimes there is not even a project, ”said the rector of the University of Concepción. He added that “the reactivation plan that the Executive has proposed to the country has a traditional perspective (…) and what we have learned in this period is that other more developed countries are betting on a different perspective: in science and technology, innovation based technological ”.
So, “what members of the mixed commission have asked us is that they are going to make efforts so that from those resources available in the Public Treasury, restitution is generated for the resources that we are requesting in a way that does not affect other areas. We are confident that we can move forward in this regard, ”said Saavedra.