Students from public universities in Colombia joined by others from private institutions and teachers began mobilizations today in different parts of the country to ask the government for more resources for the sector.
"The main problem of the country is that it does not have a State policy for public education and for the General Education System, we need to work in the Government and in the universities to establish it and that every year we do not have to fight for the budget" , affirmed Dolly Montoya, rector of the National University, the main public of the country.
A few days ago Montoya warned that this institution has a deficit to cover the payment of salaries this year and 2019 and today recalled that resources are also required for research, extension, social innovation and for work with science and technology parks, according to the news agency of the National University.
This is the first major mobilization facing the government of President Iván Duque, who took office two months ago and today reiterated that by 2019 resources are expected for 39 billion pesos (about 12,615 million dollars), "the highest education budget that I've seen the country. "
"I understand the anguish of many young people, and I understand their claims, and I understand them because they want to have that education designed for the fourth industrial revolution, and we have difficulties to satisfy all the aspirations in eight weeks of government," he said today. a meeting of the Circle of Montevideo that is celebrated in Bogota.
The largest mobilizations take place in Bogotá by public universities such as the National, the District and the Pedagogical, which hope to concentrate this afternoon in the Plaza de Bolívar, in the center of the Colombian capital.
In other cities, students and professors also mobilized in defense of the public university.
The vice president of Colombia, Marta Lucía Ramírez said that the Government has "all the commitment so that young people in Colombia have access to the best quality education" and that for that "the public education budget has increased".
"We are going to work to achieve full coverage of higher education," Ramírez added.
According to expert calculations, higher education has a deficit of 3.2 billion pesos (about 1,034 million dollars) for its operation, and public universities also need 15 billion pesos (about 4,852 million dollars) for infrastructure investments .
Rectors of several institutions assure that beyond resources, the country should make a substantive debate on education and define a State policy, where it is established if it is going to invest in the offer (money for universities) or in the demand (scholarships for students to choose where they want to study).