Luis Fernando Munera (Medellin, 53 years previous) is a Jesuit priest who has held all types of positions on the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, one of the crucial prestigious in Colombia. He started as a pupil in 1991 and continued as a professor, director of the Philosophy program, and dean of the College of Political Science and Worldwide Relations. He’s now the rector, simply when the Authorities of Gustavo Petro has offered the primary drafts of its formidable training reform. For Munera, it’s a nice alternative that isn’t with out considerations. He’s involved that universities resembling Javeriana may very well be collateral victims of “mutual distrust between the Authorities and the non-public sector.”
The rector, who has a PhD in Philosophy, is emphatic in declaring the necessity for dialogue and highlighting the potential of universities to be “a bridge” in an more and more polarized nation. He values the variety of leaders current this Thursday on the Democracy Problem, a discussion board for PRISA Media (the publishing firm of EL PAIS) for the general public sector, enterprise group and civil society to debate the alternatives and challenges of Colombian establishments. Nevertheless, attentive to peace points, he expressed his concern at a local weather of discouragement and nervousness because of the rising violence. “There was a whole lot of speak about safety as a result of immediately it is among the most polarizing points,” he remarks in an interview with EL PAIS.
Ask. What do you imply once you say that you simply don’t know if the training sector has been cussed or naive in its intentions to contribute to the reform debates?
Q. Do they really feel heard by the Ministry?
R. There’s a strategic error of the non-public sector, or of a sure political class, of cornering a authorities that additionally tends to isolate itself. Distrust is rising increasingly more and I believe it will be important that whoever may be answerable for constructing bridges. I imagine that universities have sufficient credibility and welcome to not less than strive. If we keep within the midst of social rigidity, in an financial state of affairs that isn’t straightforward… that’s unhealthy for everybody, regardless of the political acquire for some.
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Q. Can they be collateral victims of this rigidity with the non-public sector?
R. Sure. There’s mutual distrust between the federal government and the non-public sector.
R. It can be crucial that the general public system be strengthened, however it isn’t one factor or the opposite. Supporting public universities doesn’t should imply not supporting unofficial establishments (not to mention non-public ones, as a result of we actually present a public service). If you wish to improve the quotas, it’s price making the most of the put in and idle capability of the non-public system. If you wish to develop the infrastructure, the prices are decrease.
Q. What would you prefer to see in training reform?
R. An articulated system is required that features coaching for work, method. Extra flexibility can also be required within the accreditation of educational packages: immediately there’s a bottleneck, every one have to be accredited individually and you may spend two years ready for the Ministry. We suggest that slightly the standard assurance techniques of the schools be accredited, with extra autonomy in high quality administration. As well as, we should strengthen coaching all through life and adapt to new applied sciences.
R. It’s a software. A lot of what we human beings do just isn’t essentially suppose: many instances we copy, systematize and repeat, we carry out mechanical operations with language. If you learn two or three texts and make a abstract, you aren’t all the time placing your half, your phrase… you’re doing one thing technical that now a machine can do, which collects information sooner than us. Maybe this helps us to understand extra what’s human, the issues that the machine doesn’t do: suppose, replicate, dream. Will probably be troublesome for us to adapt, however we are going to proceed to be one thing that cultivates our humanity. The college is irreplaceable as a spot of human encounter between completely different generations, as a spot the place thought and important gaze are fashioned.
R. They communicate of an settlement as a result of there’s consciousness of polarization. I don’t know if what the federal government is seeing is that political coalitions are very troublesome to compose, in an advanced legislature as a result of politicians are busy with the marketing campaign [para las elecciones regionales de octubre]. I don’t know if the president needs to guess on a nationwide settlement that takes us out of the parliamentary conjuncture and that achieves broader citizen assist for the reforms. This authorities generated nice expectations with its proposals and that’s certainly one of its nice issues… everyone knows that it’s a technically troublesome and lengthy course of.
Q. Polarization was one of many considerations that stood out within the discussion board. What’s happening?
R. The notion of a typical inside enemy, which was the FARC, had united the nation. The peace settlement raised different social calls for that had been silenced and, moreover, it turned a spot of polarization, of proper and left, of the liberal and the statist, of politics and the social. The polarization has to do with some calls for that had been expressed very excessively within the social outbreak of 2021, with a inhabitants that feels very excluded and a response of nice concern.
Q. However division and political rigidity will not be unique phenomena of Colombia.
R. No. And you’ll learn it otherwise in the USA or in Chile. The brand new media —social networks, memes—, with shorter messages, give much less room for argumentation and extra reasoned propositions. They’re a problem to politics.
Q. At this time there was a whole lot of speak about safety and peace, even supposing it was a discussion board on democracy. As a result of?
R. As a result of immediately one of the crucial polarizing points is safety. The Authorities received the elections with the promise of defending social leaders and now they’re confronted with the truth that the difficulty of safety and violence continues to develop. They inform him: ‘You being within the authorities has not solved the issue, it continues to worsen.’ Sectors such because the Democratic Heart ask to guard the Military and the Police extra, to take a position extra in safety. They level out that our troopers and army are deserted, as they commented on the discussion board.
Q. Senator Paloma Valencia talked about the alleged plan to assassinate the legal professional normal, whereas political scientist Leon Valencia expressed concern about an surroundings that’s dangerous to complete peace. How do you see the Nationwide Liberation Military on this equation?
R. There’s the ELN and there’s complete peace. Negotiating with the ELN has all the time been very troublesome as a result of it’s a extremely federated construction. As well as, the nation’s main points had been negotiated with the FARC and it’s unclear what to barter now. The ELN has all the time been very concerned within the oil situation, however that has been shedding relevance. However, I see it as very troublesome to barter complete peace with teams that haven’t taken political motion. We’re going to be in a everlasting spiral of negotiations.
Q. The concept of being in disaster was additionally very current, that the democratic legitimacy of Colombia is at stake. However congressmen like David Racero and Clara Lopez (Historic Pact) certified that the disaster is a recurring subject.
R. The concept of a disaster mobilizes loads as a result of, earlier than that, a savior arrives. A messiah who says: ‘I’m going to avoid wasting them’. However that’s to delegitimize what is occurring… we’ve got to let the initiatives be carried out, that the nation proceed advancing. The Authorities arrived in a disaster proposing the change and now others say that we’re in a brand new disaster, that then we’d like one other change.
Q. Is the nation higher than once you had been a college pupil?
R. In case you have a look at the nation from a historic perspective, it has superior. There’s participation from sectors that had by no means participated earlier than, a society that’s extra conscious of what drug trafficking means as social destruction, a extra educated youth and a bigger center class. However saying this to people who find themselves struggling… is troublesome. It is usually true that the covid generated a psychological state of affairs for us and that we regressed in issues resembling poverty.
Q. What concepts do you’re taking from this discussion board?
R. It appears very useful to me that the media handle to deliver collectively individuals from such completely different shores and get them to speak. And I see two issues. On the one hand, a discouragement that’s being generated by the rise of violence, a collective despair. On the opposite, I discover attention-grabbing the consensus that questioning unhealthy practices can’t lead us to query the legitimacy of the system. It’s stated that there’s corruption, hazard within the elections, constraint on the voter… however everyone seems to be cautious. Though we query how democracy works, we perceive that we can’t abandon democracy as a political system.