Source: Télam / The Dawn News / April 17, 2017
The Education Commission has put a halt on the government’s initiative, but the government will resubmit it next semester.
The Education Commission of the Deputies Chamber blocked the government by rejecting the project bill to reform the Higher Education system, and now Bachelet’s government must now wait for the next semester to submit it again.
The project was rejected with six votes in favor, six votes against and one abstention—by former student leader and now deputy for the Communist Party, Camila Vallejo, who abstained because the bill didn’t remove the State-Sponsored Credit (CAE), which was implemented in 2005 during the government of Ricardo Lagos. The Credit is a loan for poor students with a low interest rate and the first fee is to be paid a year and a half after ending the career.
“It was a setback. We expected to discuss this issue again in the Chamber”, said Education Minister Adriana Delpiano. “We can’t understand why is not understandable how people who worked so much to improve the Higher Education system and that has even been part of their struggle slogans, for various reasons did not vote in favor of the project”, she added, referring to Deputy Vallejo among others.
Meanwhile, deputy Vallejo pointed out that “we want the reform, but that doesn’t mean we want it at any cost”.
“Our core demand of ending the CAE was not proposed, so I can’t give my vote to pass this project, and I don’t want to vote against it like the right did, therefore I am abstaining”, the congresswoman pointed out.
Another former student leader that criticized the government was the deputy for the Democratic Revolution party, Giorgio Jackson, who pointed out that the initiative was a “mediocre project” that was written without listening to the student movement.
“If society agrees that is legitimate enough to be rapidly formalized, we will work as much as necessary and session as many times as needed rapidly legislate it. But there’s no to pass such a mediocre project as this one being presented”, stated the deputy Jackson.
After this political setback, Bachelet’s government must submit the project again to the Deputy Chamber, and it has already committed to include the initiative that fully removes the CAE next semester.