Canary Islands public university financing | Canary Islands7

Canary Islands public university financing |  Canary Islands7

In response to the Director General of Universities

The general director of Universities says that the problem is not money. In his mandate, the agreement by which the financing of the universities should grow by the same percentage as the budget of the Government or the Ministry of Education has not been fulfilled

For a few days now, the media have been loaded with criticism of public universities in the Canary Islands, something that could be normal if the attacks came from private universities, seeking to discredit them in order to 'fish' in their fishing grounds for future students ahead of the next enrollment period . However, the surprise is that those who argue against them are precisely those in charge of ensuring that there is a sufficient public offer to be able to provide the public service of higher education with guarantees, and even more surprising is that they come from a so-called progressive government, and that it is supposed to be closer to the defense of public education than to promoting a private university must be a matter of the summer heat.

Public universities are accused, among other things, of not seeking funds with which to finance themselves. I do not know if this is now going to be a common practice of the Canarian administrations, and if from now on the counselor will encourage primary and secondary teachers to give private classes to be able to repaint the centers, or film or theater sessions will be promoted in the courts to seek complementary funds. If, on the contrary, it is considered that universities are not public administrations, then why are the same spending restrictions applied to us as to these, even to spend the money we have generated?

And it is said that public universities in the Canary Islands do not have financing problems, and this is the heart of the matter. The General Director of Universities, in
an interview this Sunday, he intended to demonstrate that a results-based financing model is followed and that the problem is not money. The truth is that during his mandate the agreement that said that the financing of the universities should grow in the same percentage as the budget of the government or that of the Ministry of Education has not been fulfilled, since the funds destined for the universities were never have approached that rate of growth. In this way, I am afraid that the only thing that his argument demonstrates, once again, is the validity of the Peter principle.

Regarding the dropout rate, it hurts no one more than the teachers; it is a phenomenon with many edges and one of them is the previous training of those who access the university

Let's take a look around us: each Canarian university has a target population of approximately one million people (much larger than other regions, which should be enough to justify its existence). The University of Oviedo, the only one in the Principality of Asturias, for a population similar to that of the eastern province, receives some 150 million euros per year from its autonomous government. Cantabria, with a little more than half the population, even makes a higher per capita budgetary effort... all this without mentioning the Basque Country, which with a population similar to that of the Canary Islands, spends 381 million euros annually on its university. Therefore, the real question is the priorities, and it is clear that the Government of the Canary Islands is not research (we will not speak here of the meager funds or the peculiar management of the ACIISI) nor university teaching. Some other politician has mentioned that the problem is one of management, and that it would be solved by merging both institutions, and I don't know through what strange mental arcane he has come to the conclusion that by superimposing separate institutions in a fragmented territory, an improvement in the management, but if that is your idea, it should not take long to propose an accelerated process of merging the Island Councils.

We are also repeatedly told that two major indicators of the inadequacy of the Canarian public university system are the dropout rate and the lack of response to the problem of vacancies in the master's degree. The latter is due to the need to cover teaching positions in schools and institutes, something that can hardly be said to have caught the Ministry by surprise, since it is foreseeable that people, every 365 days (in general), fulfill a year more. In this way, the forecast of the aging of the teaching staff of the Ministry itself should have led them to make investments in improving the infrastructures of the faculties, preparing their laboratories, providing more teaching positions or increasing training in digital skills. However, nothing has been done. It is requested that more places be created, but I have never heard that "maintaining quality in the training process" is added, something difficult to achieve if the number of students is doubled with the same classrooms, teachers and laboratories.

As for abandonment, I assure you that it hurts no one more than teachers to see students who cannot continue their studies. It is something that deserves an in-depth study since it is a polyhedral phenomenon with multiple edges, and one of them, without a doubt, is also the previous training received by those who enter university.

Perhaps, in light of this, we should all join in this process of reflection (he calls it self-criticism) demanded by the General Director of Universities, for example, also assessing what is the real quality required of private universities, which do not I hear that they are asked to be competitive in research, when that is an inseparable part of the quality of the university training process. Finally, what I do not know is why all this is done, what interest there is in creating a conflict with the universities, in discrediting a public system that has cost so much effort to create, and what benefit can be obtained from it from a progressive perspective. I am afraid that the general director, or the counselor, are only willing to "do self-criticism" to the rest of us.

Manuel Ramírez:

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