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April 20, 2024 (EIRNS)—On April 23, Argentine teachers, students, trade unionists, scientists, representatives of private universities and others will participate in a nationwide demonstration to denounce President Javier Milei’s destruction of the nation’s public education system, at all levels. The unhinged Milei claims public education is a vehicle to “brainwash” students, “indoctrinate” them with communism, Marxism and is destructive to children’s minds. One of Milei’s close allies in the Freedom Advances Party (LLA), Congressman “Bertie” Benegas Lynch, recently suggested that if a parent wants to remove a child from school (forget that school is mandatory) and send him to work in a factory, he should be free to do so.

Since he took office in December 2023, Milei’s government has dramatically slashed the education budget, particularly for public universities which have a reputation for academic excellence and offer young people the opportunity for a college education because they don’t charge tuition. Ignoring inflation, Milei has kept university budgets at the 2023 level and many are struggling to stay open, unable to cover basic operational costs, maintenance, wages, etc. As is the case with many universities, the flagship University of Buenos Aires (UBA) is affiliated with a hospital, the Hospital de Clinicas, which depends on the university for funds. It has been forced to cut back on all but the most essential services due to budget cuts.

UBA Dean Ricardo Gelpi warned yesterday that “if we don’t get the funds, we’re going to have to shut down, or not operate the way we are accustomed to,” Página 12 reported him saying. “Because if we don’t have money, obviously we can’t operate.” UBA has 308,000 students. There are 66 public universities in Argentina attended by 1.6 million students.

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