Zero tariff: They analyze to alleviate low budget in universities

Zero tariff: They analyze to alleviate low budget in universities

This Friday a discussion was held in the Chamber of Deputies where the execution of Law 6,628 of Zero Tariff in Higher Education was addressed. Representative Kattya González, several deans and rectors from all public universities in the country, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Finance and university students participated.

The call was made by the Parliamentary Front against Corruption and Impunity and former university leader Raúl Benítez. In said meeting, several deans agreed on the lack of total execution of the budget designated to the universities and institutes dependent on the Ministry of Education and Health and that it seriously affects the quality of education, infrastructure and supplies.

«Today the 18-year-old who is finishing school and wants to study at the university or at an institute dependent on the Ministry of Education or Health, has to worry first about how to pay for the admission course, because some faculties no longer offer these classes due to lack of resources, that is why today’s intention is to clarify the weak points of the Law, to seek solutions as soon as possible,” said former university leader Raúl Benítez.

Also, the deputy Kattya González, President of the Parliamentary Front against Corruption and Impunity that «It was a successful meeting with students and deans of the different national universities, to analyze the current situation of the Zero Tariff Law. The strengthening of democracy, based on permanent dialogue, is one of the priorities of the Parliamentary Front against Corruption and Impunity, and we will continue on this path, with more meetings”, she declared.

For her part, Dr. Viviana Ríos, Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences of the National University of Asunción lamented that last year the faculty operated with barely 19% of the initial budget, which made it impossible to pay for the service of electric power. “How can we talk about excellence if we can’t even connect to the internet? Our budget for infrastructure is zero. We do not have the resources or the items to build, our students are under trees. They are killing us, they are killing public universities right now. Evidently, education is not a priority for this country, and even less so is higher education,” she said.

While Dr. Nelly Monges de Insfrán, Vice Chancellor of the National University of Itapúa, pointed out that it is necessary to talk about a set of public policies that allow improving the framework of the law. “Not paying the fee is just one point, but you have to have public transportation, mobility, residences, and other aspects that make up the well-being of the student,” she specified.

Closing of courses

Likewise, Eng. Silvia Leiva, Dean of the Polytechnic Faculty of the UNA, expressed that due to the low budget, the faculties closed the admission courses and the “private courses put the price they want, before that price was regulated because the public university made available. We have 95% of students graduated from public and subsidized schools, half can pay the fee, but the law does not allow us, let’s go back to study the law », she pointed out.

Proposals

On the other hand, Dr. Daniel González Martínez, Dean of the Faculty of Economic Sciences, expressed that he is in favor of the law and put forward two proposals: “The first, seeing that the resources cover approximately half of the budget, is to open up the budget 2023. For that, let us designate the percentage that FONACIDE is going to be able to really cover in the hands of FONACIDE funds, and let us look for financing alternatives for the remaining percentage, which should be funds generated by tax resources, since education is fundamental, something that is seen in all the countries that came out ahead.

The second, as a palliative measure: prioritize the execution for national universities in 100% of the approved financial plan”, he sentenced.

“The resources of FONACIDE are suffering a decline” they said from the Treasury

Claudio Vázquez, Director of the Treasury of the Ministry of Finance, pointed out that since 2018 there has been a decrease of almost 47%. Universities complain that they receive less than what is budgeted. Itaipu has reports that this decline in income received through compensation (from which comes what is subsequently allocated to free higher education) is due to weather phenomena that directly affect the water flow of the Paraná River. FONACIDE resources are insufficient to cover the needs of universities and other beneficiaries », he explained.

“There are missing items” they said from Itaipu

Eng. Gerardo Soria, representative of Itaipu Binational, dependent on the Directorate of Social Responsibility for Scholarships, pointed out that there is a lack of items other than those of Itaipu to meet the demand. “Despite the fact that we comply punctually with everything that Itaipu contributes, that is not enough to cover the budget,” he said.

The nail

For his part, Dr. Miguel Torres Vice Chancellor of the UNA, reported that the house of studies received Gs. 125,791,313,474 in tariffs (2020 tariff base) and Congress, through the new law, assigns in 2021 a budget of Gs. 60,791,506,756, which represents a reduction of 51% in terms of income and that in addition to this, they only received 65% of the budget that was assigned to them (Gs. 39,320,606,416). While in 2022, the allocated budget was Gs. 76,273,915,144, from which they received (to date) Gs. 29,867,734,878 (only 36%).

“Maintaining quality under these conditions is very difficult.” The improvement plans that come as a result of external evaluations are very difficult to apply.

In addition, it estimates that the funds received by Fonacide will be less and less,” he concluded.



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