Before deputies and federal deputies, Jaime Valls Esponda, Executive Secretary General of the ANUIES, showed his concern about what he called, “a systematic deterioration of the budget dedicated to higher education.”
When delivering to the United Supervisory Commissions of the Superior Audit of the Federation and of Education the Reports of the Financial Audits of the Universities and the reports of academic achievements of fiscal year 2020, the secretary of the National Association of Universities and Institutions of Higher Education (ANUIES), warned that these reductions create an environment of uncertainty and reduce the capacities of educational institutions, putting their performance at risk.
Valls Esponda, also highlighted the hard work that universities did during the Covid-19 pandemic and the culture of transparency and accountability that, he said, prevailed in study houses, however, he considered that the solution to these structural problems It requires a renewed financing policy with the co-responsibility of the different levels of government and the commitment of higher education institutions to carry out the reforms that allow its financial sustainability in the long term.
The critical financial situation faced by a group of public universities is of great concern. It is not a temporary problem, since they have operated in deficit conditions in recent years, due to the budget deficit derived from their pension and retirement system ”, he said.
For his part, David Rogelio Colmenares Páramo, Superior Auditor of the Federation, said that after the debates that arise around whether universities should be subject to control, it must be taken into account that over the years these mechanisms have undergone modifications and updates to reflect that the principle of university autonomy is not antithetical with the principle of accountability of the resources that come from the people of Mexico.
In addition to pointing out that the fact that universities and higher education institutions present the documentation that reflects their administrative and academic management to the pertinent commissions, is part of the transparency and accountability exercises.
“Virtually all nations dedicate significant public resources with the legitimate expectation that they will translate into tangible benefits for society as a whole; that is why they must be held accountable for the use of resources that come from society and that they are entrusted to them for the fulfillment of their objectives ”, he indicated.
Meanwhile, rectors and representatives of Regional Councils of various public universities agreed on the demands for more resources for the institutions.
Carlos Natarén Nandayapa, rector of the Chiapas Autonomous University and president of the Council of the South-Southeast Region, said that there is a lack of resources and there is a crisis in several institutions where there have been structural problems for several years, so he celebrated the opening of the debate on how to give financing to these of face to next year’s budget. “We will return to face-to-face classes with more needs and a hurt society.”
The rector of the Autonomous University of Nayarit, on behalf of the Central West Region, Jorge Ignacio Peña González, endorsed the commitment of this sector with the reasonable, adequate and transparent use of the assigned resources, “it is invested in what should be invested to improve the quality of the institutions. Rest assured that those of us who administer the funds will not keep them ”. He asked the deputies to trust the universities ”.
Jesús Salvador Hernández Vélez, rector of the Autonomous University of Coahuila, representing the Northwest Region, warned that one of the main problems is the growth of the pension liability, which constitutes a financial risk. Therefore, to guarantee quality education, free education and continue to grow enrollment, he asked that sufficient resources be given above real inflation.
While Dante Arturo Salgado González, rector of the Autonomous University of Baja California Sur, on behalf of the Northwest region, affirmed that the State has to redefine the future of public universities in the medium and long term, as well as solve its structural problems in depth, because these institutions are the most valuable cultural and scientific heritage. It ratified the commitment to be transparent and accountable. He asked the deputies to have the immediate present of the universities because they are the future of the young.
Finally, legislators from different parliamentary groups called for reflection on the financial situations that universities are experiencing.
Deputy Olga Luz Espinosa Morales (PRD) expressed the need to generate public policies that make them socially and economically sustainable in the short, medium and long term, to rescue them, maintain their work plan, the educational offer and infrastructure, especially the quality of teaching.
On behalf of the MC, the deputy Mario Alberto Rodríguez Carrillo said that the public university has a national security character, which is why he urged to give equity to the distribution of resources in the budget. “We need the Ministry of Public Education to reconsider before the Ministry of Finance the restitution of financial resources to solve structural problems in universities.”
Meanwhile, Deputy Sayonara Vargas Rodríguez (PRI) regretted that by 2022 “there is not the best smile in budgetary terms for the universities”, because, although there is talk that these institutions can give a change of life, it is not reflected in making decisions. “We have a social debt due to this lack of resources that we envision.”
For Morena, the deputy Arturo Roberto Hernández Tapia said that the support of the Mexican government and the strategy with education is clear; Therefore, during 2022 more than 364 billion pesos were assigned to Branch 11 of the budget, equivalent to four percent more compared to this year. He warned that resources must be properly exercised and audited.