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Rectors from universities in five Latin American countries — Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay — have made a joint appeal in support of state-run universities in Argentina, currently under threat as a result of the country’s economic difficulties.

The appeal was drafted by representatives of the so-called Montevideo Group, which links 15 universities from the five nations, during a recent meeting in Concepción del Uruguay, in Argentina.

The rectors demand political and budgetary guarantees defending the right to public higher education, arguing that budgetary reductions, and delays in receiving funds already approved, “represent a serious obstacle that hinder the universities from accomplishing their mission”.

According to a Brazilian representative at the meeting, Romeu C. Rocha Filho, vice-rector of the Federal University of São Carlos in São Paulo, state universities in Argentina have received no financial support — apart from the wages of professors and researchers — since September 2001. And even salary payments have been delayed and cut by 13 per cent.

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