Friday 14 May 2021

Thousands March in Colombia In Defense Of Public Universities

Thousands of students, professors, and university directors of 32 public universities in Colombia participated in the National March in Defense of Higher Education to demand higher budgets and transparency from the national government Wednesday.

Ahead of the march, students of several faculties in Colombia’s public universities organized a student strike and held permanent assemblies to discuss the student movement’s demands.

- Advertisement -

Colombians are demanding higher budgets for public education, which for years has lagged behind inflation despite the fact that the public system continues to grow and accommodate more students, many of whom cannot afford private universities.

Local news outlet Semana reported that the number of students in the public university system has increased by 284 percent between 1993 and 2016, going from 159,218 students to 611,800.

According to the organizers, public universities are facing a deficit of US$1 million in outstanding salaries to professors and administrative expenses, and US$4.9 million to maintain quality in education and infrastructure.

The president of the Patriotic Union, an opposition party tweeted Wednesday, “Proud graduate of Colombia’s National University. They are the critical thought and democratic reserve for social changes. Today they mobilize to defend the public university from the Santos-Duque privatization. #MarchForTheU”

- Advertisement -

Alejandro Palacio, president of Colombia’s university student’s association (ACREES) argues investment in education is deficient because it doesn’t take into consideration investment in research.

“For next year with the resources the state gives public universities, it will not be enough to cover the payroll for the National University. That is when you see the defunding, when they say there is no money to buy paper, change light bulbs,” Palacio argued.

According to analysts, the lack of government resources have led to universities trying to produce income, negatively affecting access. “For years ago, enrollment fees at the National University was around 400,000 pesos (US$131)and for 2018 it went up to 800,000 (US$262), that is double the amount and the programs for student well being have decreased,” Palacio explained.

Protesters are also demanding education loans without interest and the regulation of private universities that students claim are being used to produce a profit.

It is estimated that around 50,000 students in Colombia are unable to pay their student loans.

Students from private universities also joined the march. “We join because right now were are in a context of a fractured education system. If the public universities are at their limit, on the side of private institutions the middle class that is impoverished is being strangled and cannot pay an enrollment fee of 20 minimum wages,” Cesar Vargas, student leader of the Universidad de Los Andes said.

- Advertisement -

Demonstrations took place in the cities of Bogota, Medellin, Bucaramanga, Cali, and Barranquilla, among others. The organization of these protests was agreed on during a student congress held between Sept. 14 -16.

Students and professors are also demanding the government guarantee their right to protest, in a context where state officials have sought to delegitimize social protests by accusing them of receiving funding by illegal armed groups.

Article originally appeared on Today Colombia and is republished here with permission.

- Advertisement -

FACT CHECK:
We strive for accuracy in its reports. But if you see something that doesn’t look right, send us an email. The Q reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it’s accuracy.

Q24N
Q24N is an aggregator of news for Latin America. Reports from Mexico to the tip of Chile and Caribbean are sourced for our readers to find all their Latin America news in one place.

Related Articles

Why Colombian protesters are taking to the streets

QCOLOMBIA – For the past two weeks, mass protests that started...

“Nicaragua is not a Republic, it is a 16th century monarchy”

TODAY NICARAGUA – If he wins the presidency of Nicaragua, the...

MOST READ

Space tourism is here – 20 years after the first stellar tourist, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin plans to send civilians to space

For most people, getting to the stars is nothing more than a dream. But on May 5, 2021, the 60th anniversary of the first...

48 patients with covid-19 from other provinces wait for beds in San Jose hospitals

QCOSTARICA - 48 patients with covid-19, the majority in severe and moderate condition, this Thursday morning were waiting for a bed in a hospital...

27-year-old connected to an ‘artificial lung’ for 111 days after infected with covid-19

QCOSTARICA - In contrast to the belief that only the old get deadly sick after being infected with covid-19, a 27-year-old old and a...

Can scientists predict all of the ways the coronavirus will evolve?

Late last year, three distinct and fast-spreading coronavirus variants were observed in the UK, South Africa and Brazil. More recently, variants in India, the...

These are the sanitary measures that will be applied from today, May 10

NOTE: Monday afternoon the government announced changes in the vehicle restrictions that take effect Tuesday, May 11 and capacities (aforos) starting May 13 and...

Travel agencies estimate 10,000 Costa Ricans who will travel to the United Stares to be vaccinated

QCOSTARICA - The demand of Costa Ricans to go to get vaccinated against covid-19 in the United States increased strongly from Semana Santa, so...

Costa Rica will buy two million more doses to accelerate vaccination

QCOSTARICA - The President of the Comision Nacional de Emergencias (CNE), Alexander Solis, announced this Monday afternoon that Costa Rica is purchasing an additional...

Mexico City reduces restrictions due to sustained decline in cases of covid-19

Q24N - Mexico City will reduce social distancing measures as of next week in the face of a continuous decline in the spread of...

These are the new sanitary measures that will be applied in May

QCOSTARICA - At the press conference from Casa Presidencial that started more than 15 minutes this afternoon, the government announced new sanitary measures that...

WANT TO STAY UP TO DATE WITH THE LATEST!

Get our daily newsletter with the latest posts directly in your mailbox. Click on the subscribe and fill out the form. It's that simple!

Article originally appeared on Today Colombia and is republished here with permission.

Log In

Forgot password?

Forgot password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

Log in

Privacy Policy

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.