UNAM Pre-Science Bill – Educating the Future

UNAM Pre-Science Bill – Educating the Future
Roberto Rodriguez

UNAM Pre-Science Bill

A letter signed by all Directors of Institutes, Centers and Programs of the Research Subsystem of the United Nations Mission in Namibia addressed to the House of Representatives requesting a public dialogue on the status of the common law for the humanities, sciences, technologies and innovation, a proposal which has received various criticisms

This week the House Presidency received a letter signed by the vast majority, roughly speaking, of the directors of the research subsystem’s institutes, centers, and programs. UNAM, which consists of 35 institutes, 13 research centers and 13 university programmes. In addition, the same letter is signed by the majority of the academic representatives who are part of the technical councils for the humanities and scientific research of the university.

The letter expresses, in the first place, a request to open public hearings in connection with “the initiative of the Federal Executive to draft decree by which the General Law of the Humanities, Science, Technology and Innovation, amended and added to various provisions of the Federal Law on Quasi-Government Entities and the Planning Law,” shall be promulgated. Control in the near future by the competent congressional committees in this matter. Such a request is justified “because there are, among our academic community, some concerns about the humanities, science, technology, and innovation policy.”

The main causes of concern for the UNAM research community represented by its directors and advisors are outlined in the letter. They are as follows: in the first place, they consider that the initiative handed over to the Chamber of Origin “restricts freedom of inquiry by neglecting basic sciences as well as opening up new fields of knowledge”. secondly, it is indicated that the legal draft “contradicts the existing legal framework that refers to the intellectual property of scientific and technological developments”; In addition, it “generates disadvantages for students (depending on their major) in the recruitment criteria for awarding scholarships.”

There are two additional points, also of concern, that, in the aforementioned initiative, “specific and differentiated standards and policies for the development of humanities, science, technology and innovation” were not established, nor were “budgetary measures in accordance with the standards of our political constitution.”

The points made in UNAM’s statement coincide with some of the criticisms other academic circles have leveled at the bill, although they do not exhaust the extensive list of questions the project has been subjected to. Among other aspects, the central and authoritarian approach to the management of science and technology policy has been called into question by focusing, to a large extent, on the decision-making power of it in the National Council for Humanities, Science, Technology and Innovation that replaces the current one. Consit It intends to be the governing body of both the corresponding public policy and the national system as a whole, which, among other aspects, conflicts with the autonomy of the university and with the plan of sound governance in which they participate, in order to contribute to the decision-making – the decision-makers and representatives of the academic sector, the federal agencies and the private sector who It carries out research, technology development and innovation activities.

The abolition of incentives granted to members of the national system for researchers attached to universities and private research centers has also been criticized. No less important, however, is the intention of directing SNI members to the dictates of the National Research Agenda, to be organized by the National Council, and the National Strategic Programs (PRONACES) of the Council itself.

For some, not a few, the law’s inclusion of terms such as “epistemological justice,” “knowledge dialogue” and “intercultural” referring to scientific and human activity and production is confusing. It is pointed out, not without reason, that the said expressions must be specified within the framework of the law in order to avoid ambiguity. In the same order of ideas, it was pointed out that the content of the rule referring to indigenous and Afro-Mexican communities requires prior consultation with them, since this is a requirement stipulated in both the Constitution and international human rights treaties.

Criticisms and suggestions also rained down on the chapter referring to public centers. One of the most important refers to the need to provide academic autonomy (not just management and budget) to these entities, ensuring their autonomy in determining their own plans and programs in matters of teaching and research. Furthermore, it is proposed that academics appointed to public positions enjoy the same rights of employment as their peers in independent universities, i.e. the system corresponding to Section A of Article 123 of the Constitution. For two reasons: because their work should not be assimilated with that of the public bureaucracy, and because the tasks they carry out are, for all practical purposes, the same as those of teachers and researchers from institutions of higher education that have autonomy.

On the part of federal entities, the law has been criticized for restricting a federal approach that must include a general rule. The National Conference of Science and Technology that brought together all agency holders in the field in the States and Mexico City was abolished, and in its place a regional restructuring was proposed to be determined, when appropriate, by the National Council. In addition, the project does not include clear options for the financial promotion of these activities within the entities.

The possible marginalization in law of the social organizations that bring together academics in various disciplines, in particular the Mexican Academy of Sciences, as well as related engineering and medicine which, undoubtedly, played a relevant historical role in. Formulation of science and technology system.

It is possible that the Legislative Council will open space for dialogue through an open parliament. What is in doubt is whether he will heed the critical community’s expressions or make the ruling party’s legislative majority work. We’ll see soon.

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