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New Argentine law reaffirms government's commitment to public education

EI representatives meeting with the Argentine president on 26 July welcomed a new education law that reaffirms government's responsibility to provide quality public education for all. President Nestor Kirchner and Education Minister Daniel Filmus met with an EI delegation gathered in Buenos Aires for a workshop on challenges facing education in the region.

Kirchner spoke of the financial crisis that nearly brought the country to bankruptcy a few years ago. By contrast, today the country's economy has recovered so that his government can now reinvest in education. "Only a while ago we were discussing how to survive. Now we will be able to achieve what we could only dream of before," he said. While plans to privatize and deregulate national school systems have dominated the education reform agenda in many Latin American countries, Kirchner’s new education law reaffirms the role and responsibility of the national government in the delivery of education services. The legislation, adopted earlier this year, regulates education financing to ensure adequate allocation of public funds. In the coming years the national education budget will be increased to at least 6% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, while inequalities between provinces will be eliminated. The new law was developed in consultation with the teacher unions, CTERA and CEA. It recognizes the right to education and will make secondary as well as primary education compulsory. It also recognizes teacher organisations as partners in education policy development . "The law aims at ensuring quality public education for all Argentineans and this is of crucial importance for the economic, social and democratic development of our country. It will help us combat poverty," Kirchner told the teacher representatives. EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen, who was leading the delegation, said he is pleased to see that the Argentine government is breaking with an international trend to reduce the role of government in education. Van Leeuven assured Kirchner that Education International would mobilize support within the international financial institutions for the implementation of the education law.

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