University defunding condemns us to inequality and backwardness

University defunding condemns us to inequality and backwardness

It is a minor item of public participation in the economy, but symbolic of a much broader set of measures whose central objective is to generate a structure of natural resource extractivist business -agriculture, energy, mining and fishing- with practically no industrial added value, accompanied by service activities, where The financial has preponderance and leadership.

The social and productive organization that the executive branch is trying to install is much more similar to that which governs the rest of Latin America. The essential features are those of a international insertion subordinated to the interest of the great powerswith societies even more fragmented than ours, with greater job insecurity, subject to the dominant sectors and where higher education, managed by the public sector, has a much more limited space of influence.

A proud pillar of our country, from a progressive perspective throughout its history, has been the militant role of students and also workers to defend and promote their rights. To a large extent, distributive tensions and social conflict are linked to the struggle of those social groups that have tried to resist the attempt of concentrated groups to seek establish power relations much more similar to those of our region. In sister countries, these disputes were settled a long time ago in favor of the dominant powers and, therefore, changes in economic models and social mobility are even less frequent.

In the prevailing Latin American order that the current government tries to replicate a significant portion of the population is not required to access higher academic training managed by the State; The cadres of technical personnel necessary for the functioning of the public and private corporate sectors are mostly occupied by an elite of the population capable of paying in full for their university training.

Probably, seek to break spaces of sovereign, plural and inclusive training be the reason for President Javier Milei’s savage aggression against public universities through their definancing. And, in particular, it may explain the reason for last week’s blow to the most internationally recognized and prestigious public sector institution for its academic excellence, the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), with false accusations, asserting that his Economics Course “washes the minds” of students.

The presidential attack provoked a categorical response from the management of the UBA Economics Program through a statement that concluded as follows: “Is it mere prejudice, ideological fanaticism, pure ignorance? Or, is it rather an attitude that has to be read in the more general framework of the current administration’s attack on all the activities that are carried out within the institutions of the university research and teaching system and that is manifested, among other actions, in the nominal freezing of its budget in a context of very high inflation? Only time will tell, but the academic community of our course wants to make it known that it will respond to these unjustified attacks by doing what we always did: teaching and researching to continue providing excellent training to our students.”

The greater the economic backwardness, the less access to higher education

The Organization of Ibero-American States for Education, Science and Culture In April of last year, a detailed study was carried out that collected data on access to higher education for the population between 19 and 23 years old in twelve Latin American countries.

In the case of Latin American nations, the 29.9% attend higher education (includes tertiary courses). Argentina is well above that average with an index of 36.7%, only surpassed by Chile (49.1%), But statistics also reveal that, in our country, 701 people out of every 10,000 inhabitants achieve their first degree, while in Chile only 592 out of every 10,000 inhabitants achieve it, and the trans-Andean country has a higher percentage of tertiary courses counted as higher education (26 % in the Chilean case and 19% in the Argentine case).

The lower figures in the report coincide at the same time with the backwardness of the economies, as in the rest of the world. Honduras has the lowest level of entry into higher education with just 15.9%, followed by El Salvador (19.5%). Meanwhile, the developed countries of Latin America, Spain and Portugal, have high rates (48.2% and 40%, respectively).

The State policy of each country is also manifested when appreciating the distribution between public and private sector managing access to higher education. The most advanced countries in Latin America have high rates of public participation (76% in the case of Spain and 81% in Portugal), while the Latin American average is only 45% and that of Argentina amounts to 77% (with statistics that, of course, still do not consider the impact of the decisions of Javier Milei), only surpassed by Uruguay (90%) and Cuba (100%). Meanwhile, Chile, although as we saw has a high level of youth enrollment in higher education, has the lowest level of attendance at public institutions (16%).

He freezing of the university budget in our country it will involve lose positions in terms of academic insertion superiorsince public university investment decreases, as a percentage of the public budget, to just 1.11% when in the last three decades it was only once below 3% (in 2005, when it had reached 2.91%). .

Milei can cause irreparable damage

Without strong social resistance, like the one that rejected andRicardo López Murphy’s adjustment in March 2001 or the one that confronted former president Mauricio Macri in September 2018 when He demanded a teacher salary increase with a large demonstration student in Plaza de Mayo, the policies of educational defunding and general deterioration of public administration, will end up leading us to share the worst social and productive primarization of the most backward countries and submissives of the region.

The quality of worker training in Argentina is an asset that today, despite the crises, continues to positively differentiate us internationally.

The role of public universities is vital to sustain this positioning and aspire to develop a productive structure that allows us to progress by improving the general quality of life of the population. The official project of transforming us into a country totally subject to the interests of the United States in the region, fighting with its Latin American brothers, without a development strategy, with disorganized workers and students and policies subsumed by a priority objective of generating enough savings to exhibit solvency for the full payment of commitments of public debt, It is only beneficial for the true “caste”.

Milei is a regrettable, terribly harmful and cartoonish example of what Marcelo Diamand observed about the training of economists half a century ago: “a professional spends years of university training studying very complex theories, based on complex conceptual structures and supported by elaborate mathematical instruments.

During the learning process he fully trusts that what he learns constitutes an objective science. He does not realize that the premises on which the entire conceptual edifice that he is taught rests constitute a idealization of a reality that no longer existed in the 20th century and that, furthermore, they never had anything to do with the reality of the peripheral countries to which they intend to apply.

Nor can he perceive that these theories, supposedly evaluative, actually affirm the hegemony of certain sectors and countries, and constitute one of the most subtle tools of ideological dominance that produced humanity. When – after years of studies – when trying to apply his knowledge he collides with the irrelevance of everything he learned and raises doubts about its validity and his scientific asepsis, it is already too late: the learned conceptual structure is so incorporated that it almost irremediably blocks your understanding of reality.”

Economist, advisor to companies and industrial chambers and university professor

Source: Ambito

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