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CULTURE | 16-05-2024 15:46

Milei government denies university ‘discrimination’ after UBA funding deal

Presidential Spokesperson Manuel Adorni says Education Secretariat will increase operating expenses by 270% in move to end funding row.

An agreement has been reached between the Education Secretariat and the Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA) to end a funding row that brought tens of thousands of demonstrators onto the streets to defend public universities.

Presidential Spokesperson Manuel Adorni on Thursday denied there had been any “discrimination” against other universities and revealed that the dialogue with the different institutions is open. 

UBA authorities faced criticism for their decision to go it alone and agree a deal. It cancelled its declaration of an “education emergency” in the wake of the accord.

At his daily press conference at Casa Rosada, Adorni confirmed the agreement, which will see “operating expenses increase by 270 percent and budgetary items for hospitals dependent on academic institutions by 300 percent.”

He also explained that President Javier Milei’s government is talking to all chancellors and authorities from different universities in order to “adjust budgets and needs to circumstances.” 

“UBA, with its own volume and dynamics, is not the same as any other university. It’s reasonable,” he explained.

In the same vein, he specified: “We’re talking to everyone. We don’t stop with any university. Yesterday, the agreement with UBA was disclosed and more will come. Hindrances and obstacles will be overcome.”

“We always suggested that dialogue was still open, but people insist that we are  cutting off dialogue, which is just not the case,” Adorni said.

According to President Milei’s spokesman, “there is no type of discrimination between universities,” but rather “with all of them we’re adding the final touches to the budgetary adjustment because each one has particular features which must be attended to individually.”

UBA confirmed in a statement it had ended its emergency declaration

“The above-mentioned sums, even though below the optimum budget for the full operation of the University, enable budgetary scheduling, which had been impossible until now,” UBA’s high council said in a press release. 

UBA stated that the allocated reinforcement entails “an updating of expenses, without including salaries and other items, by 270 percent year-to-year from the budget sanctioned for the university in 2023 and by 300 percent for university hospitals and university functions linked to the healthcare area.”

“This budget is aimed exclusively at the operational running of this institution. At any rate, the salary, research and infrastructure issues remain a concern,” it stressed.

The conflict with the Executive Branch over the budgetary cut led to the massive university march on April 23. During the demonstration, students, professors, the CGT Workers’ Confederation, legislators and opposition leaders had gathered at Plaza de Mayo to defend state universities.

It was a mass protest and the entire day demonstrators filled the Congreso and Plaza Houssay areas, from where the main columns departed.

 

– TIMES/NA

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