Buenos Aires Province Governor María Eugenia Vidal was forced to back track this week on comments she made Wednesday about the number of public universities in her province.
Vidal pondered, during a speech made at the Rotary Club in Buenos Aires, if it was a sign of “equity” that “for years now the province has been filled up with public universities when we all know that nobody born poor in Argentina makes it to university”.
On Thursday, the governor tried to clarify her comments by saying “we have to support public education from early learning through to public university”.
A member of President Macri's inner circle, Vidal listed off a number of perceived successes of her administration though she did not directly address her previous comments.
Vidal’s statements to the Rotary Club were met with dismay and disapproval throughout the week.
Renewal Front lawmaker Daniel Arroyo on Thursday said “here, we need more universities”.
“If we don’t work permanently toward upward social mobility, we have no future”, he charged, calling for “more universities and less prejudice”.
Teachers groups also took aim.
“One hundred years after the University Reform, the governor’s childish fallacy is in fact a rehearsed expression that seeks to erode public university education in Argentina and separate ‘the poor’ from their right to higher education, in a clear act of discrimination”, the National Teachers Confederation (CONADU) said in a statement.
The Vidal government is currently involved in tense collective wage bargaining talks with teachers unions, which began earlier in the year.
The website Chequeado pulled data about students at a number of public universities in Buenos Aires province.
It found that 94.2 percent of students at La Matanza National University came from parents with no university education. That figure was similar at the National University of Morón (91 percent); the National University Arturo Jaureche (83 percent); and the National University Tres de Febrero (74 percent).