Lazzeretti talks about UNMDP’s achievements and challenges
The Higher School of Medicine, the Maritime Research Center and the mission to build a more comprehensive university were the main topics addressed in the interview, which took place on the radio program “Welcome to Our Dark Side”, which is broadcast by Radio University.
The University has made great achievements in recent years and one of the most relevant has to do with the first batch of graduates of the Superior School of Medicine. What was it like seeing this project come to fruition?
We went through very difficult years with the Higher School of Medicine. The first class started in March 2017 and after 6 years we had our first litter with people who updated their studies and worked continuously over the years. Somehow a difficult cycle ensued as lectures had to be held while the second year was being taught, subjects for the third year had to be shaped and equipment equipment had to be provided, microscopes, dolls, study screens, morgues. In these 6 years we had to mount a lot and the truth is that it was a huge effort, not only from the school authorities, but from the whole UNMDP community, because the resources that we had allocated for medicine could not be spent. Were staying None of the other 9 academic units.
It was a great effort by the entire university and should be highlighted as it was a decision taken by the university assembly. In line with this decision, everyone supported this major change that sets us apart in the public university system. We are talking of 57 national universities and we were in the category of medium universities. With Medicine and the number of students it supports, we already have around 55 thousand students and this puts us in the ranks of the great universities of the country. When one looks at the research groups and the academic offer that we have, it seems to me that medicine came to contribute in some way and help us make this leap to becoming a public university that is one of the ten largest in the national system. One of the universities.
Another major project being undertaken by the university is the Marine Research Center on the Lighthouse property. How was it managed?
The university has long wanted to own all or part of the land surrounding the Punta Mogotes Lighthouse. At one time the Navy put them up for sale and there was an initiative between the municipality and the university to acquire them. That initiative did not materialize and in late 2016 the possibility arose that the lands, which had also been passed to Naval Hydrology, could be transferred to UNMDP and the National Human Rights Secretariat. The prospect was managed through the State Assets Administration Agency (AABE), which has the power to analyze, centralize, inventory assets and assign useful functions to those spaces that are inactive. We’re talking about a surface that has 8 blocks in total.
For this reason, we informed this agency of our interest in being part of a property with a very specific objective, that of giving importance to the Argentine sea coast. In our country, a law called the Pampa Azul Project has been passed with the aim of knowing all the detail, richness and complexity of this coastline. You have to study it to find out, and as part of this project, the idea is that each province with a coast on the South Atlantic has a highly complex research station. In this sense, Mar del Plata has the most important thing, researchers, students, future biologists with marine expertise, the Center for Coastal Biology. A large number of researchers, who have great capital, but often do not have enough infrastructure to fully develop their work.
Within the framework of this project, we proposed a project to build a marine research center and we got a very good reception from the nation’s Ministry of Science and Technology. First, AABE gave us the northern portion of the Lighthouse property where the old building that housed the Marine Infantry Non-Commissioned Officers’ School was located, a secret detention center that should never be forgotten. Today, we will take advantage of that infrastructure and transform what was once an area of torture, death and suffering into an area of education, research and knowledge production. I think this is the best tribute I can pay to him.
-How does the work develop?
It is planned to take advantage of the structure of the old school which, although it has been plundered, is a very noble structure in terms of material. You have to clean the property, condition it and fix any deformities at the structural level and once that is over, the next phase begins. We are talking about a total investment of eight million dollars and the idea arose that the entire Faculty of Exact and Natural Sciences should also work there. There’s a place where a significant classroom can be built and there’s a place for the officers of the educational unit with which we’re going to give life to the whole south of the city, it’s going to be a very important development. In this extremely difficult context, we are taking the first step in that direction: first we acquired the land, then we signed the agreement with the ministry and we are taking concrete steps on an idea that should be realized in the medium term. hopefully.
The development of the University goes beyond the creation of new places for education and research. How do you work on relationships with community and city organizations?
From the university we have an important university expansion policy, it is a policy that transcends efforts and has gone a long way. From the management of Architect Medina to this part, it has been a priority to fund the extension policy, to keep extension scholarship holders and to develop a network of 13 extension centers which are in different areas of General Pueyredón and also in Miramar, Mar Chiquita, Villa Gesell and Balcars. This presence of the university allows us to articulate projects and live in communities, above all it seems to me that it allows us to communicate with regions that sometimes do not perceive the university as their place Are. We want to break that glass ceiling, we want young people in all neighborhoods to feel like they can get into university, so we enroll them there, so we do educational exhibits in those places.
There is an important qualitative change that must be continually deepened so that the university is truly involved in all social sectors. that on the one hand and on the other we are working to transfer part of the investigation to the productive area of the city of Mar del Plata. We do this through the Linkage and Transfer Network, called Technology Transfer Assistance Centers (CATEC). We have one in industrial park, another in port, another in fruit and vegetable belt, and now we have started textile business. From there we promote our links with the productive sector and provide training in whatever is necessary to transfer technology and contribute to the development of South-Eastern Buenos Aires.
– You just mentioned the intention to create a more comprehensive university for all social sectors, what are the steps taken to move in that direction?
There is at times an important tension between the possibility of feedback and the growth of the university, but it is a tension that we have chosen to acknowledge. Argentina has a law that we are very proud of, that preserves unrestricted access to university and I believe that every young person who wants to enter university should be able to do so under the best possible conditions . It creates tension, sometimes the infrastructure is the same, the non-teaching staff is the same, the teachers are the same, we all have to make a significant effort until things adjust, but I think so That this effort is commendable to me to guarantee the right to higher education to as many young people as possible in the southeast of Buenos Aires.
Since 2007 we have started the University Canteen in Navarro Block, it is a privilege of political decision of Rector Medina. Today from there we reach out to the students with food that is great value for money. If I’m not mistaken they are paying 150 pesos for the menu, which isn’t even worth the coffee. Plus, there are outlets everywhere, including the Superior School of Medicine, where we rented property to turn a dining room. We do not have such a place in Balakars in engineering where there is no possibility to reach the dining room. The amount of food sold is huge and also contributes to this sustainability policy which we fulfill with the scholarship. We now have an agreement with the Transport Province and we must recognize the political will of the Governor to implement it in the inner cities of Buenos Aires, which was postponed. This is a very positive measure which benefits 15,500 students who receive 45 monthly tickets on the first day of the month.
In the same sense, from the university we consolidated a small drop of the future with sustainable mobility and this week 300 bicycles were distributed to solve the transportation problem of many students and promote one such transportation solution Which contributes to reducing personal carbon footprint. Welfare of the community. The beneficiaries were selected through a first call by the social service of the university in which 1,300 students enrolled.
– How do you face the challenge of managing an institution like UNMDP in the face of the country’s complex political and economic landscape?
These are complicated times for the entire public administration. We are immersed in an economy that is highly volatile, where it is often difficult to get prices for the inputs we need. Public administration is organized into a set of laws and regulations that regulate the operation of the state and it tends to be quite complex, especially in the area of procurement and contracts, which are necessary for the university to function. We are talking about the purchase of equipment for the university to a large number of issues that are necessary for the functioning of such a complex and diverse institution.
There are state mechanisms that are designed in terms of rational inflation not exceeding 10% per annum, to say a number. While carrying out the separate issues, we could not find the bidders and it is very difficult for the people working in the private sector to maintain the price for two months to deliver the goods. There is also a fear regarding fees, as the university has always had a history of being a good payer and honoring its commitments, but there are many people who are going to contract with the university for the first time and do not know this. To this it is added that one does not need to have a loan with AFIP in order to have a contract with the state.
With all these sets of requirements, many people in the private sector prefer not to submit any proposals, do not want to sell to the state and prefer to settle with other bidders who are not so complex. Of course we’ve looked for ways to fix this with respect to smaller amounts and we’re working on other amounts with confidence that we’ll be able to handle it.
Despite all this, the university does not close, there are two very important tenders that will open in the month of June, one is to finish the Peña Street Tower, which was cut short because the company entered into a call for creditors and closed Done working There will be a new tender for this work and the other is a new building for the Faculty of Health Sciences, the idea is to build a 4 or 5 storey building that will provide us with a classroom of about 800 square meters that will be a contribution to the complex is very important.