In a letter published in the newspaper “El Mercurio”, the highest authorities of the G9, expressed concern and annoyance at the initial position of the Secretary of Education in not recognizing the role of non-state public universities, and pointed out that the G9 today renewed its commitment to working together to ensure real progress in the quality of higher education in Chile.
The authorities declared that they were convinced that the variety of the system of higher education must guarantee the freedom of education in our country.
The Rectors of the G9 sent a letter which was published on Saturday, March 29, by the newspaper “El Mercurio” in which they highlighted the contribution made by their universities during the history of Chile. The document stated: «With deep concern and annoyance we have known the recent statements by Secretary Eyzaguirre in a TV program. Certainly the most unfortunate and unacceptable sentence was: «I will say clearly: the State Universities are those that represent the place where culture is formed, where the future is formed, where thought is formed, and where the whole country is the principal. Therefore, we will give preference to the state universities in their research porfolio, as the most natural place for that to be performed and that has to be manifested, which is technically called the basic financing. We will give priority to certain issues that require a country point of view to be investigated in state universities.»
At the meeting of the Council of Rectors (Cruch), the Secretary clarified his remarks, saying that research should be performed in all institutions – depending on the skills and talents – without regard of its source. «
The authorities stated that they were that the variety of the system of higher education must guarantee the freedom of education in our country. «The richness of this freedom is that it allows a pluralistic society, enriching cultural property, ensures a higher quality system and deepens the democratic foundations of society. Obviously this cultural, artistic and scientific research contribution does not belong to the state universities as erroneously stated by the minister. Thus, a public oriented university must be analyzed on the basis of its work and actions in pursuit of the common good, not on the basis of the origins of its property as a deciding factor” wrote the academics.
«The G9, is the network of Non-State Public Universities that belong to the Cruch. Its institutions have tradition, public service, influence and identity in the regional and national environment, with national and international benchmarks. These institutions have the highest average years of accreditation, their undergraduate and graduate students represent more than 40% of the enrollment of the Cruch, with half of the students and doctoral programs, academics, graduate students and graduates of universities belonging to the Cruch. As for research, their contribution to the country represents more than half of the Fondecyt projects and indexed publications, with a high quality and impact index. They also account for nearly 70% of the development projects and technology transfers, with clear leadership in patents and licensing «, explained the letter.
The Rectors stated that the G9 network brings together institutions whose students belong to a broad socio-economic and educational background with a high level of vulnerability. «We receive a state contribution since our beginnings, based on research and academic projects with priority for the country. The contributions of scholarships allow a significant number of students to get free education. The identification of our institutions with the community should be noted, without any difference with state universities in terms of their commitment to the development of the region».
«The public good is what highlights the mission of our institutions” – they pointed out in the letter. For more than 125 years, the system of non-state higher education has been a fundamental part of the university development that we see today, with several of its institutions internationally recognized. The Minister’s words are even more surprising when in a column in this newspaper, on December 29, 2013, prior to being appointed in his position, he wrote: «… so far I have used, without defining it, the concept of public university. Although it is controversial, I do not see it as a synonym for state university. Nonprofit corporations duly accredited who work to create and disseminate knowledge without any kind of discrimination, either by race, creed, social status or currents of thought, both in their contents as well as in the selection of students and faculty are, in a broad sense, a public university.»
To conclude their statement, the rectors said: «We strongly reject the initial position described by the minister for not recognizing the history, the current reality and not being in accordance with the national development. These positions ignore the fact that the variety of our higher education system guarantees the freedom of education, and is a vital contribution to the country. In that way we can ensure a quality and equitable system, with a more pluralistic and democratic society. Aware that non-state public universities have been instrumental in the development of Chile and their communities, the G9 today renews its commitment to work together to ensure real progress in the quality of higher education in our country”.
The letter was signed by: Ignacio Sánchez D., rector Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and President of G9; Sergio Lavancy M., rector Universidad de Concepción; Claudio Elórtegui R., rector Universidad Católica de Valparaíso; José Rodríguez P., rector Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María; Víctor Cubillos G., rector Universidad Austral de Chile; Jorge Tabilo A., rector Universidad Católica del Norte; Aliro Bórquez R., rector Universidad Católica de Temuco; Diego Durán J., rector Universidad Católica del Maule; y Juan Miguel Cancino C., rector Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción.
 Rectors Council of Universities in Chile – 19 universities belong to this Council
 National Fund for Scientific and Technological Development