Colombian President Santos called on elected student representatives Monday to join new discussions on higher education reforms, reported newspaper El Tiempo.
The president, speaking at the “Best in Education 2011” event in Bogota, announced that the government is ready to start discussions on higher education reform, and called for universities and the educational community to elect student representatives to join the debate.
According to President Santos, “We are more than ready to continue this very important debate, and push forward the reform that the country and our young people need.”
The head of state added “We all agree that education is a right.” He reiterated his government’s conviction of the need for reform to improve the country’s access to and quality of higher education, describing it as a “central purpose” of his government.
The president reported attainment of higher education in Colombia to be 40%, and that it is available in 69% of municipalities.
President Santos emphasised the support system presently in place for poorer students, such as the 23,000 students who receive grant support, and credits allowing low-income students to obtain zero-interest loans.
President Santos’ comments come just weeks after countrywide student protests blocked the government’s controversial higher education reform bill from being passed, as students felt it would privatize higher education.