May 25, 2020

University students will march to defend the budget in Costa Rica

Students from the public universities of Costa Rica will hold a march on Tuesday to defend the budget of these houses of study, in the context of a controversy over the change of destination of about 61 million dollars by 2020.

Under the motto of "Defend the Public U", students will mobilize on Tuesday towards the Presidential House to demand that the authorities respect the Special Budget of Higher Education (FEES), with which the state University of Costa Rica (UCR) is funded ), National University (UNA), State Distance University (UNED) and the Technological Institute (Tec).

The controversy arises as a result of an agreement between the rectors and the Government to redirect some 61 million dollars of the current expense of the FEES to infrastructure projects.

The UCR Student Federation said that the transfer of that money will affect scholarship programs, student quotas, teacher hiring, research projects, social initiatives and investments in rural areas.

The FEES, which corresponds entirely to about 900 million dollars, is being studied by Congress as part of the analysis of the state budget for 2020.

"We demand that the Ministry of Finance and Minister Rocío Aguilar cease their actions and policies aimed at the weakening of Costa Rican public universities. We demand that the entire budget agreed for FEES 2020 be provided without restrictions imposed by said ministry in order that each University can allocate its budget according to their needs and thus not violate the principle of university autonomy, "says a statement from the UCR Student Federation.

According to the rectors, in the agreement signed with the Government last July to invest some 122 million dollars in infrastructure and equipment, they interpreted that the money would come from sources other than FEES.

However, the Ministry of Finance placed the amount as part of the FEES when submitting the state budget to Congress.

In the commission that is studying the budget, deputies passed a motion last week to reduce the amount agreed by the government and the rectors by half, resulting in about $ 61 million.

In recent days UCR students have held protests in university buildings in various parts of the country, while students of the National University keep a street blocked in the city of Heredia (downtown).

. (tagsToTranslate) University students (t) (t) budget (t) Costa (t) Rica

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