Thousands of Peruvians rally in support of educational reform


Thousands of Peruvians have taken to the streets in the capital, Lima to express their support for Education Minister Jaime Saavedra, who is pushing for educational reforms. 
The protesters began their march from San Martin Square on Monday, carrying signs reading “Education is respected” amid the presence of militarized police in downtown Lima.
The pro-Saavedra protest comes as the minister faces a no-confidence motion in the opposition-led Congress for his “incapacity to carry out the functions of his position.”
On December 7, Saavedra answered questions in Congress that centered on a specific case of corruption in the purchase of computers and allocation of funds for the Panamerican Games to be held in Lima in 2019.
Saavedra, who is viewed as Peru’s educational reform leader, enjoys broad support in academic and business circles.
The national teachers’ union, Sutep, had slammed the call for questions as “political opportunism,” adding that the opposition “wants to bring down education.”
During the rally, Renzo Fernandez, president of the Federation of Catholic university students, said Monday, “Today we come to defend the educational reform.”
Students march in protest against the censorship from the Congress to Education Minister Jaime Saavedra, in Lima, on December 12, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
“We come today to show that we will not allow them to continue trampling on the social and cultural instruments of society and the state so that they watch only for their interests,” Fernandez added.
The university reforms would reportedly raise standards for degrees and academic courses, regulating the administration and use of funds in state and private universities.
The reforms are based on a law drafted by former congressman Daniel Mora and enacted during President Humala’s administration in 2015.
According to Peruvian Times, the law directly affects many of the newer private universities that fund political parties and the campaigns of congressmen, especially the Apra and Fuerza Popular parties as well as Alianza para el Progreso.