UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY DISCUSSES REFORM PROJECT

PARTICIPATORY MEETINGS STARTED TO ANALYZE THE LEGAL INITIATIVE THAT WILL INTRODUCE DEEP CHANGES IN HIGHER EDUCATION IN THE COUNTRY.



August 5, 2016

Members of the University community are considering the questions, expectations, and also the criticism, regarding the higher education reform project, in participatory meetings going on at the campus and headed by President Alvaro Rojas.

The goal is to "carry out a participatory process, of knowledge and analysis of the educational reform", which began with a meeting that took place in the Auditorium of the Bicentennial Space, involving academics and staff from the Departments of Forestry; Agriculture, and Architecture, Music and Design.

The president recalled that, from the previous reform in 1980, regional and private universities were created and  he indicated that the current law being discussed has aroused great expectations as to modify a very deregulated system. In his opinion, many of those expectations have been frustrated in the text of the law itself, which includes visions and demands collected in the prior conversations with all the sectors involved in the system, where none of them is happy.

Alvaro Rojas highlighted the objective of ending the for-profit system, but he regretted the centralist bias of the project, and he noted the trend towards the standardization of public institutions and added that only quality is the better addressed aspect. He also mentioned the status of State universities, and institutions such as the Universidad de Concepción and Universidad Austral, which were born on from initiatives by local communities, in the absence of a centralized State, and who expect to be recognized.

Two Funds

The Vice President for Economic Management and Administration, Hugo Salgado, said that gratuity will finance only the costs of undergraduate teaching, and the other dimensions of University work will have to get other sources of financing. "Two major funds will be created, one is the Research and Development, Innovation and Artistic Creation fund, which will be competitive and for all universities which enter the gratuity system, whether public or private," he explained.

"A second fund will be for the strengthening of State universities, in which we can participate through agreements with the Government’s Department of Education to implement development plans of our University," he said.

The Comptroller of our University, Johann Allesch, explained the project in general terms, from the Presidential Message and from the main matters contained in the articles. The new institutional framework, the government of State universities and role of the new Undersecretary for Higher Education, were some of the aspects addressed.

On his part, Prorector Pablo Villalobos outlined the model of quality assurance, which includes levels of accreditation C, B and A, with their respective requirements. "Complexity will go from C to A and this latest level is given to universities of the highest quality," he said.

The Dean of the Department of Agricultural Sciences, José Díaz, said that “we must be prepared for the scenario, once details of the bulk work are known". He added that many questions are raised on matters such as levels of accreditation and its parameters or concerning the master's degree programs not mentioned in the coming law. "You have to discuss a little more and receive permanent feedback, see what happens in the Commission, in which positions the politicians are ", he said.



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