LA PLATA.- The number of Buenos Aires high school students who signed up to access a graduate trip financed by the government of Axel Kicillof multiplied by four compared to 2021, when the official program was launched. Is about about 130,000 teenagers that they are in their last year of high school and that they will be able to travel to different tourist destinations in the province in 2023.
In the first edition of the program, they had signed up 30,000 students, but only 20,000 traveled, because, as the authorities reported, many gave up. As they indicated, the main reason was to enter the university. Each of them received 30,000 pesos from the Buenos Aires State to pay for the trip. Although there are no official figures for public spending, a simple account indicates that the outlay was 600 million pesos.
This year also substantially increased the value that the government will pay for each trip: 50,000 pesos. A) Yes, In the event that the 130,000 interested parties travel, 6.5 billion pesos should be allocated. The data is known at a time when the National Ministry of Economy reported that it made an adjustment in the Education budget of 70,000 million pesos. In fact, one of the most affected, with a cut of 50,000 million pesos, was the Connect Equality programwhich was created in 2010 by former president Cristina Kirchnerwith the aim of delivering netbooks to high school students and teachers in public schools. And that now it would also benefit to promote connectivity in schools.
The second edition of the program known as the End of Course Trip in the Province, which opened last June, is aimed at the entire enrollment of 220,000 public school students who will graduate next year, and who will be able to travel to tourist destinations in different municipalities. , financed by the provincial State “as part of a policy to equalize opportunities and encourage tourism activity”, according to the Ministry of Production, Science and Technological Innovation
The chosen destinations are: Monte Hermoso, Villa Gesell, Pinamar, Miramar, Mar del Plata, Sierra de la Ventana, Tandil, San Bernardo, Mar de Ajó, Santa Teresita, San Clemente, Cañuelas, San Pedro, Escobar, and Necochea. And these are trips of four days and three nights with accommodation, meals, transportation and excursions.
“End-of-course trips are a policy that equalizes, that provides opportunities to thousands of young people, who in many cases had never traveled outside their city, their town or their neighborhood,” said the Minister of Production, Science and Buenos Aires Technological Innovation, Augusto Costa. And he added: “We are cultivating the value of tourism as rest and as production, because it is an activity that has a double effect, since while young people walk, SMEs, cooperatives and businesses in Buenos Aires enhance their work.”
But not everyone in this Province agrees with this policy. “I do not understand the governor”, questioned the provincial deputy Anahí Bilbao (Together for Change). And she completed: “The governor responds to proposals for more education with graduate trips that we all pay for in the context of an unprecedented crisis. Alumni trips are not free, if you choose to put the money there, priority issues are left aside”.
“Resources are scarce, and managing public money efficiently is the task of the State, priorities must set the course. Are alumni trips a priority?” asked the deputy. And she added: “They are not free as the provincial government wants society to believe: graduate trips, like so many other expenses that are not essential, we pay for with higher taxes, more inflation and more public debt.” For the legislator, this policy is “a nonsense from Kicillof. Another one”.
The president of the block of provincial senators of Together, Christian Gribaudo, said: “The government is betting on populism instead of providing real solutions to the problems of the province.” And he questioned: “The problem is not whether or not the boys have a graduation trip. The problem is how the boys project their future”.
The senator of Together for Change, Juan Pablo Allan, presented a request for the Kicillof government to inform how the tourist destinations, hotels and transportation of the program will be chosen. “There is no doubt that the extreme financial conditions of our particular province and our country in general require a detailed analysis of opportunity, merit and convenience of each project that is executed,” he said. And he added: “Provincial officials seem to go in a line totally removed from the harsh educational reality of Buenos Aires.”