The Argentine Education Rollercoaster: Milei’s Impact and Beyond

The pursuit of quality higher education is the aspiration of many students from various Latin American countries seeking academic and personal opportunities. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Argentina is the country in the region with the highest number of international students. Argentina stands out for its extensive system of public higher education. Institutions like the prestigious University of Buenos Aires (UBA) offer free education to undergraduate students, even if they are foreigners.

Lucila, a Political Science student who completed her studies two years ago in University of Buenos Aires, witnessed several debates during all her course along with thousands of students, experienced obstacles that involved the closure of classrooms and difficulties in accessing study materials and constant classes.

The public education system is now facing additional challenges posed by Milei’s agenda, which advocates for modifications promoted by the omnibus law—a topic that continues to dominate headlines. Milei’s agenda raises concerns, prompting questions like “It’s unconstitutional, didn’t anyone notice?”. This further complicates the already turbulent landscape of Argentine education, adding another layer of uncertainty and debate.

She emphasizes with other students about how struggling it is and it doesn’t get easy. “To the demands for teacher salaries were added more general ones, such as a greater budget and resources for research and development, all under the banner of the defense of public education.” 

For several years, every semester, the teachers together with the students carried out different measures and actions to make the conflict visible, including public classes in the faculty, in the subways, blocking the streets, even a massive mobilization to Plaza de Mayo, in which the Social Studies students participated. 

Unfortunately, there are occasions when classes are abruptly canceled, leaving students who have traveled for hours on buses and trains from across the capital, only to arrive at empty classrooms.

For Lucila and her classmates, it is crucial to ensure the continuity of the course, as “each empty chair in Social Sciences is one less voice to defend public education.” She acknowledges that the seizure caused several friends to abandon their studies. The future political scientist emphasizes the duty of students to fill classrooms, engage in political discussions, debates, and organizing, as the only way to combat the “negligence” of the government.

Then there are voices of professors as Diego, who values students’ capacity to inquire about their own situation in their studies, which is 100% involved with political issues. He sees the value of every student who is sensitive enough and capable of creating empathy with the events happening outside on the street. “Engaging with people who do not allow room for dissent or disagreement does not make much sense. However, dialoguing with others who may not be politically committed but are open to discussion is very fruitful,” he adds.

In conclusion, like Lucila, every student impacts the university and understands how politicized studies can be. “Regarding the politicization of the faculty, I would say that one should never complain about it and even defend it! Remember that at various times in Argentina, they wanted young students to be apathetic and uninterested in current affairs.”

Szólj hozzá!