Regarding the reduction of the FEES budget
About two weeks ago, it was reported that there would be an 8% reduction in the budget for the Special Fund for Higher Education (FEES). What is the reason for this reduction? Why is there talk of redistributing the budget?
In the year 2022, the budget allocated by the Government to higher education was 522,822 million colones, however, this year it was proposed to reduce 8% of that budget.
But why this reduction?
In the words of Gilda Montero, of the Superior Council of Education:
It is no mystery that Costa Rica is going through a period of social and economic crisis. More and more inhabitants are finding prices higher than before and there is a feeling of insecurity.
In fact, the national news is plagued with violent events, related to drug trafficking, gangs, shootings, etc.
Given this reality, the easiest thing for the government to do is to allocate more money to security, i.e. the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Security.
After the terrible proposal to increase working hours for police officers and the protest in response, the government decided to allocate part of the education budget to this sector.
What are the consequences of this redistribution?
For many, it is common to believe that public universities – such as the University of Costa Rica – already have a lot of money. The latter is criticized for the high salaries and luxury pensions of some professors, without thinking that most professors are in interim status.
However, they do not take into account that many college students depend on a scholarship and that this, in most cases, does not cover the expenses of an average student.
Nor does it take into account that the conditions of many buildings on the Rodrigo Facio campus in San José are not the most suitable for classes, especially the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Arts.
Even less is it taken into account that social action projects are a great burden of the University of Costa Rica and that if its budget is reduced, many underprivileged populations would be equally affected.
Education is a sector that cannot afford to reduce its budget. There are many public schools and universities that need improvements in their infrastructure and administration. Both children and young people have the right to a quality education that really opens up opportunities and provides them with tools for life.
Likewise, teachers and administration deserve fair pay and working conditions and up-to-date teaching tools.
Paying for more police would only be tantamount to putting a bandage on the problem of insecurity and economic crisis. An educated population is a population with opportunities to get ahead.