August 3, 2020

Students from Colombia return to the street for resources for universities



Thousands of students from public universities in Colombia demonstrated today in different cities to reiterate to the government of President Ivan Duque his request for resources for the sector to prevent the closure of the schools.

The president of the Colombian Association of Student Representatives (ACREES), Alejandro Palacio, told Efe that public universities need 3.2 trillion pesos (about 1.037 billion dollars) not to close this year.

"The mobilizations have been very strong (…) people went to mobilize in all the cities of the country in a peaceful way," added the student leader.

Palacio said that the government is also asking to commit to paying 15 billion pesos (about 4,861 million dollars) of "the historical debt that the Government has with the universities."

They also request that students have access to educational loans and that they return to the Administrative Department of Science, Technology and Innovation (Colciencias) the monies that have been taken each year in the cuts made by the Government in the annual budgets.

Palacio stressed that the marches "passed in the midst of tranquility" although he acknowledged that there were some incidents that condemn because the demonstrations do not "have to have those situations."

During the demonstration today, the Bogota headquarters of RCN Radio was painted by a group of people who also threw ink against the front of the station, which was protected by police.

On October 18, at the first student demonstration, the rector of the National University, Dolly Montoya, said that the main problem is that Colombia does not have a State policy for public education.

La Nacional, the most important institution of public higher education in the country, warned that it has a deficit to cover the payment of salaries this year and 2019, as well as for research, extension, social innovation and for work with science and technology parks.

The biggest demonstrations on Wednesday took place in Bogotá and ended in the central Plaza de Bolívar.

There were also demonstrations and plantings in Cali, Medellín and Barranquilla, Cartagena and Bucaramanga.

President Duque announced yesterday that within the framework of the biennial royalty budget will be sought a billion pesos (about 324 million dollars) to allocate to higher education.

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