COSTA RICA NEWS — The rotonda de la Hispanidad, in San Pedro, was the flooded with university students with flags, banners and placards in demonstration against the possible budget cuts to the special Fund for Higher Education (Fondo Especial para la Educación Superior (FEES).

The more than 3.000 students then moved on to the Legislative Assembly building in the heart of downtown San José.

The government agreed to increase the fund by ¢51 billion colones for 2015, bringing it to ¢410 billion colones, a 14% increase over 2014.

However, legislative initiatives may see the increase cut in an effort to cut government spending and tackle the fiscal deficit which is now at 6% of the gross domestic product, according to the Central Bank (Banco Central).

The dean of the Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR), Henning Jensen, said that budget cuts will affect the system of grants, tuition and higher education infrastructure. “A country cannot progress without improving the quality and access to education,” said Jensen.

President Luis Guillermo Solís, an educator by profession, expressed his support for the student protest. “The protest is justified (…) I hope it moves legislators to consider that college funding and education in general as a high priority,” said the President.

“Neither the PAC (Partido Accion Cuidada) nor legislators are going to cut (the budget). What we want is to study,” was the student chant.

“I think it’s feasible cut without affecting education, which is a precious commodity in Costa Rica to reduce social inequality and poverty,” said the legislator Mora.

Source: La Nacion; Amelia Rueda; Hoy Canal 9;

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