Following the scandals that brought to light abuses of power occurring within several university’s financial management, such as the incident at the Universidad del Mar, the Ministry of Education requested for the first time that all universities hand in detailed financial statements.
Harald Beyer, Minister of Education, requested that universities release their financial information before the deadline. Photo: Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
This information will be published online on the Ministry of Education website, under “Mi Futuro,” so as to grant transparency to the system. The easy access to this information will also allow prospective students to take into account an institution’s financial record before they decide whether or not to attend.
The Ministry of Education will analyze this information closely, aiming to verify that educational projects are financially viable as well as identify inconsistencies in the schools’ financial record, which could indicate illegal mismanagement.
Minster of Education Harald Beyer explained that if inconsistent information is detected in a school’s records, the case would go to the National Education Council, where sanctions could be applied. These sanctions could culminate in a government shutdown of the school.
Still, Beyer pointed out the potential limits of these investigational tactics. Therefore, he declared that the project to create the Superintendency for Higher Education would be put on the fast track. This new government organism will have greater power to investigate, interrogate, and even sanction institutions suspected of educational profiteering.
The current system enables the Ministry of Education to initiate an investigation only if there is concrete proof that the university has been mishandling funds. The Ministry has limited means to respond to illegal profiteering. They can decide to either charge the school a small penalty fee, or shut down the school entirely, harming the students.
Four days from the deadline, only seven institutions have handed in financial information that meets all of the demands set forth by the Ministry of Education. Another ten have sent in incomplete information.
Minister Beyer requested that the universities follow through on the government’s demand, warning school officials that their institutions risk sanctions if they fail to do so.