Securing academic excellence

The excesses some public universities were engaged in are widely known, therefore, they should offer certainty in regards to the use of public resources

Securing academic excellence
UNAM's central library - Photo: File Photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 19/12/2018 09:02 Mexico City Newspaper Leader Actualizada 09:02
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In Mexico, public universities are, in most cases, a guarantee of educational quality. Those universities are where a large part of professionals in Mexico are trained and where those who give life to productive industries graduate from. Despite the limited offer, public universities collaborate in national development by offering high academic standards to as many students as possible.

In order to carry out this crucial task, public universities require a large number of public resources. The polemic between the federal government and the most important public universities as a result from the 2019 budget is timely since it contributes to the discussion in regards to the contributions made by higher education and the way in which resources are used and distributed.

As EL UNIVERSAL published today, the eventual budget cut to the main public universities would risk the many benefits they offer to the country: from the best 20 universities in the country, 13 are public, and 10 of them are considered among the best in Latin America.

These schools, where academic excellence is encouraged, are the ones that will receive fewer resources than the previous year, according to the 2019 budget presented by the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit.

In the face of the rejection voiced by the most important public universities in regards to this measure, Mexico's President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, acknowledged that in the draft budget presented on December 15, a mistake was made, and he committed to fixing it shortly.

The federal government's sensibility towards those affected must be recognized since they seem willing to discuss with and listen to those who complained about the budget cut. The promise to maintain the same budget as the previous year, with the corresponding inflationary increase, is reasonable if you consider the great contributions public universities make to the country.

A final lesson from this episode is that public universities should increase their efforts to promote transparency and accountability. The excesses some public universities were engaged in previously are widely known, therefore, they should offer certainty in regards to the use of public resources. This crisis should be an opportunity to grow. Today, Congress has the last word in relation to the universities' budget.

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