Lidia Blanco, rector of the University of Patagonia San Juan Bosco, to whom President Alberto Fernández stood out on Wednesday for being the first woman and nurse in that position, in his speech before the Legislative Assemblysupported the need to “train professionals who can transform social reality”.
In dialogue with Télam, Blanco assured that the official project to increase investment in the sector from 6 to 8% of GDP and create five new universities is “essential to guarantee the right to education.”
-In his speech in the National Congress, President Fernández highlighted that you have been the first rector from the field of nursing to lead a university, what did you feel?
-It was quite a surprise, it was very important because it was a very significant event for the 40 years of democracy, it is a space where the people who make the big decisions of our country are. Women have been fighting for gender equality, but these things should not be so strong. The reality is that there are still inequalities; That is why we have to continue working for equality and obviously it will take time, it will not be overnight.
-The President highlighted that you as a nurse have reached that place, how is the profession currently?
-He named me based on the fact that I am the first nurse to hold the rectory and I think it is very important not only personally but for my colleagues, who always complain about the invisible and the lack of recognition that nursing has. Leave a message for those who are studying or who are going to study that there is another possible nursing home that has social and economic recognition. The nursing career is growing, there is a lot of demand worldwide, so States have to improve training and working conditions. Nurses around the world supported the health system in the pandemic.
-What is your opinion of the announcement of the bill for the Expansion of Educational Investment to guarantee the increase in investment in the sector from 6 to 8% within ten years and the creation of five new universities?
-That the financing of universities can be expanded seems fantastic to me, the public university is built with the contribution of all so we all have the right to go. Universities have to reach everywhere and that is done by opening new institutions. These projects are essential to guarantee the right to education. The increase in budgets we can improve access and permanence of students by providing opportunities for inclusion such as scholarships, dining rooms or accommodation.
-How did the pandemic affect the trajectory of students according to their experience at the University of Patagonia San Juan Bosco?
-We had two years of working with virtuality. Many students enrolled, even from other provinces, because the dictation was virtual, but when we returned to face-to-face, we were not prepared to continue with the modality, so we lost those boys, because we set fixed hours for them and many perhaps worked and did not have a double course .
-The President highlighted during the presentation in the National Congress that the Progresar Scholarships reached 1.7 million scholarship recipients and that the Belgrano Scholarships increased by 50%, how necessary are these policies for university students?
-They are policies that tell students that it is possible, that the university and the State are going to help them. We must make the university accessible, support students in those skills they do not know, whether soft or hard, give them support courses and tutorials. We look for the boys to enter, stay and receive their degrees. It is also important to work on connectivity, to facilitate access to technology, there are many children who have not yet reached the basics.
-What problems do you currently identify in the passage from secondary school to the university world?
– The problems we have today have to do with the skills of interpreting texts and slogans. There are also students who come and ask if there is chemistry or mathematics and they get scared. We have to become friends, we have to find a way so that they don’t see a cuckoo in these matters because we need professionals who contribute to the productive life of the country.
-In this sense, what role does the university play in thinking about the development of the country?
-The university is the only tool that will allow you to improve your living conditions, it is a right, it must be guaranteed and ensure that the greatest number of Argentines access it. We must train professionals who can transform the social reality of the country, and for that we have to know the territory, offer careers that are in demand and contribute to the productive development of the places.