University Law battle intensifies

20 November 2016

Plans have been under way for weeks to derail the legislation passed under the Humala government to reform university governance. Fujimori’s Fuerza Popular, allied with APRA, long ago decided that the attempts to tighten the regulation of higher education needed to be stopped.

The University Law passed earlier this year made it possible for the education ministry to set up the Sunedu, an office whose job it is to review the quality of university education. Its main aim was to ensure that the level provided is of an agreed standard. This has been far from the case ever since the introduction of for-profit higher education in the 1990s. This sector has grown exponentially in the past couple of decades, and many APRA and Fuerza Popular congressmen have benefited directly from the profits generated by this emergent business sector. For this reason they want to stop reform.

After several weeks of talk about how the law should be reformed, Education Minister Jaime Saavedra was brought before Congress to defend his role at the ministry. Fuerza Popular Congresswoman Cecilia Chacón, president of the Parliamentary Budget Commission, accused him of not spending the ministry’s resources efficiently and for not being up to the job. Saavedra was the only minister reappointed by President Kuczynski for his positive contribution to improving educational standards in Peru in recent years.

In the coming weeks, pressure to change to the law will build up further, particularly with respect to Sunedu’s vetting role and over what establishments are allowed to continue operating.

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