Council of Rectors agreed to initiate the revision process of the Higher Education Law

The executive vice president of CRUCH announced that the scope of the regulation will be analyzed and evaluated, from which it could "ask Parliament or the Executive to review aspects that are considered difficult to handle."

The session also addressed the financial impact of the health crisis on universities, the proposal for a model of regulated fees and the vacancy regulation system that the Ministry of Education will soon present.

The Council of Rectors of Chilean Universities (CRUCH) adopted the agreement to initiate a review process to Law No. 21.091 on Higher Education, promulgated during 2018, and will address the possibility of proposing adjustments to this regulation. This was announced by the executive vice president of CRUCH and rector of the University of Santiago, Juan Manuel Zolezzi, at the end of the session on Thursday, March 25.

Zolezzi recalled that the law is now 3 years old, but that Gratuity was implemented two years before, "which is part of the regulation and the financing of the system." As a balance, he pointed out that "we have had some differences in how this law has been interpreted by the Undersecretariat of Higher Education and, for example, on the subject of regulated fees we made a presentation at the Comptroller General of the Republic."

The executive vice president of CRUCH stated that “we want to make an analysis as close as possible to the academic issues on Law 21.091 and from this make some decisions, which could be to ask the Parliament or the Executive to review aspects that are considered difficult to handle".

Regarding what the CRUCH expects from these authorities, the rector stated that “with Parliament we are close, they have been supporting us in recent years in budgetary matters and in a concern for higher education in terms of financing, development and quality. And from the Executive we have not heard a negative response. The Executive is receptive, waiting for what we can ask him ”.

Financial impact of the pandemic

 

The plenary also reviewed a report from the CRUCH economic commission, referring to the financial impact on CRUCH universities, first due to the social crisis and then due to the health emergency caused by Covid-19.

The president of the commission, the rector of the University of Concepción, Carlos Saavedra, said that according to this balance, the total impact is 248 billion pesos “and to reflect it simply, this is equivalent to the entire Direct Fiscal Contribution (AFD) that Mineduc does to CRUCH universities ”.

Saavedra explained that this figure considers three aspects: the decrease in income, the higher expenses of the universities due to the pandemic and also the savings generated by virtuality. He explained that "during the past year the study houses saw their income in the areas of undergraduate, postgraduate, continuing training, academic cooperation and the sale of services decreased, for a total of $228 billion pesos"; meanwhile, due to the health crisis, "the institutions had to assume higher expenses in adapting teaching to the non-face-to-face modality and in the implementation of semi-face-to-face work, which translated into a total amount of 75 billion pesos" ; finally, he stated that although "the presence generated new expenses, but it also generated savings, which is estimated at almost 56 billion pesos."

Regulated fees and vacancies

 

The CRUCH Economic Commission also presented progress on the design of its own model of regulated tariffs that considers integral aspects that should be considered in its setting. The rector Saavedra stated that "it seems relevant to us to have a proposal from the Council that contributes to the definition of regulated tariffs for the entire system."

The effects of the vacancy regulation system were also addressed, which, according to the provisions of the Higher Education Law, will be presented in April by the Ministry of Education and will govern for 5 years. "The institutions were asked for information a short time ago and, therefore, it cannot be a fully participatory process that incorporates a comprehensive view," said Rector Saavedra.

The university authority stated that it is essential that the regulation of vacancies considers “an unrestricted respect for the autonomy (of the universities) and that this autonomy, naturally, is increasing in terms of the years of accreditation of the institutions, so that they can maintain the independence necessary to define plans, careers and offers in each of these careers ”.

On the other hand, Saavedra stated that the system must address the missionary elements of each of the institutions "and that it is not exclusively regulated by a prospective supply and demand model."

Other topics of the session

 

On the other hand, the Undersecretary of Higher Education, Juan Eduardo Vargas, made a presentation on the results of the 2021 Admission Process, which were developed by the Ministry of Education and the Department of Evaluation, Measurement and Educational Registration (DEMRE) of the University of Chile .

In addition, this morning the CRUCH Universities and Constituent Process website was released, which brings together various initiatives that have been developed by the 30 universities of the Council, from 2019 to date. The site includes information on colloquia and meetings, citizen training activities, publications, resources of interest and other initiatives organized by the houses of study. See at: https://procesoconstituctado.consejoderectores.cl/.