Bachelor of Chemistry and Doctor of Science, Jose Manuel Pingarrón He is the number two of the ministry he directs Manuel Castells: Universities. Both are immersed in the project of the organic law of the university system (Losu). The text, which has caused friction with the rectors' conference (Crue) and the students, will be taken to the Minister council at the end of January and will enter Parliament in February for its final approval. Very critical of public spending devoted to higher education (from the 10,500 million that were allocated in 2019 it has gone to 9,800 million in 2019), the Secretary General of Universities asks for a vote of confidence for the Losu and ensures that the disagreements with principals and students are more formal than real.
With the new law, who is going to be rector and how are they going to be elected?
In a first draft, in addition to the current weighted universal suffrage election system, we proposed an alternative measure to establish a selection committee with 30% members from outside the college. We have withdrawn it due to lack of support in the university community. Nobody wanted to use their autonomy to have that different modality. So the rector will be elected as now: by weighted universal suffrage.
What they have not removed from the text is that the applicants are due to merit and not by rank.
Now you have to be a professor to be rector. We consider that there may be another type of civil servant teaching staff that has sufficient merits to be eligible. The rector is elected by the university community. What we do is open the options. If then the university community wants to take only professors, then perfect. The merits that Losu asks for are an experience of 18 years in research, 15 in teaching and 4 in management.
They stick to that point, although the rectors' conference doesn't like it.
We have some discrepancy, nothing happens. We agree with 95% of the law.
Losu aims to end the temporary status of teachers. How?
Templates cannot be more than 20% temporary (right now it is 40%). Excluding, yes, associates in health sciences, who have a different dynamic. We are in talks with La Crue about how many years this point should be met. We think six, but we have to keep talking about it.
What will happen to the teachers associated?
They are a very complex group. There are those who are professionals whose priority activity is outside the faculty. With them there is no problem. Yes there is with the others, whose only activity is teaching and they are precarious.
Are they the majority?
We do not know. There are 25,000 associate professors, of which 42%, about 12,000, are PhDs. Which ones are precarious and which ones are not? We do not have that data, the universities have it. What Losu does is provide a way for those teachers who are doctors and have been hired for 5 years to have a 15% seat reservation. This reserve will not only be for associate professors but for all personnel who meet the conditions. Most will be associates, but there will also be substitutes, visitors ... They must be doctors and be accredited with research and teaching merits.
La Crue doesn't like quotas.
Perhaps due to misunderstandings. When you explain it and talk about it, they understand it and the rejection is not so much. It was a more formal than real clash.
What will happen to teachers who are not doctors?
The law incorporates a temporary measure, which will allow the hiring of this figure for five years only during the first three years after the law enters into force. We want to give these professors the option to enter the system, but they have to do the thesis.
With the students There have also been frictions, something that had not happened during Castells' tenure.
The students' protest has been more formal than real.
They complain of a lack of representation.
I challenged them to tell me why and they didn't answer. At Losu, not only has the representation of students in government bodies not been reduced, but it has also been increased and shielded because the current norm does not specify it. In the cloister now it will be 25% as a minimum. In the governing council, a minimum of 10%, and in the faculty and department councils, another 25%.
The rector will serve for six years (and not four as before), but without the ability to renew. Is it a way to avoid inbreeding?
Rather, inbreeding has to do with teacher selection processes. Now, in the selection committees there will have to be a majority from outside the university.
What will happen to the three-year races?
We have a royal decree that says that the degrees are four years. If at some point, when the master's degrees cost the same as the degrees and when circumstances allow it, a government wants to modify it, it can be done without touching the Losu. We believe that the grades have to be general and the three grades are too specific.
We are convincing them of the pedagogical model of four-year careers.
How will the research in the faculties?
We don't want there to be teachers who just teach or just do research. The law says that universities must have 5% of their budget dedicated to research.
Will the professors visit other universities?
That has already been done with European funds, which dedicate a game to the requalification of teachers. To be permanent you will have to have been at least nine months in a different center than your thesis.
Going back to the students, will the Losu fight the current 20% dropout?
You have to clarify that percentage because those who leave a cerrera but go to another are included. We are conducting a study to verify the actual rate of resignation.
There are students They leave because they can't afford to pay the fees.
Our priority is that it does not happen. We have increased the budget for scholarships, which Losu considers a subjective right subject to socioeconomic conditions.
The FP, where unemployment is lower, has entered the educational system with force. Do you fear a drastic decline in college students?
It is necessary to promote the FP, absolutely in agreement. But, let's see, the data is the data. According to him INE, the rate of unemployment of university students it is 8%, while in high-school VET it is 16% and the higher one, 12%.