Argentinian academics protest against education budget cuts

Hundreds of thousands take to the streets of Buenos Aires as confidence in nation’s economy dwindles at the cost of higher education

September 10, 2018
Source: Getty

Staff and students from universities across Argentina have joined together to stage mass protests in the nation’s capital over dramatic cuts to public higher education funding.

Tens of thousands of individuals from 57 public institutions are reported to have taken part in a march through Buenos Aires on 30 August, ramping up public protests against President Mauricio Macri’s budget decisions.

Cuts of more than 3 billion pesos (£61 million) to the education sector alone were announced by the government in July, alongside the termination of new school and university building projects.

On the day of the 30 August protest, Mr Macri made an unexpected request for early access to a loan from the International Monetary Fund of $50 billion (£37.2 billion), fuelling concerns over the stability of Argentina’s gradually recovering economy.

Four weeks into national strikes undertaken by public university workers, professors held classes for students in public spaces and organised occupations of university buildings to draw attention to a crisis in higher education, Telesur reported.

Those unable to travel to Buenos Aires to join the demonstrations organised separate marches in their own cities, according to local news sources.

Professors are already engaged in an ongoing row over salary increases in response to rising inflation rates.

Speaking at the day’s closing event, Walter Merkis, secretary general of Argentina’s Federation of National University Workers, urged government ministers to protect higher education funding, stressing that “without the university, there is no future”.

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