For Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation Secretariat
Is it convenient and feasible to create a State Secretariat that will showcase the activities of higher education along with the Department of Research, Technology Development and Innovation? This possibility has been raised on several occasions; Today it is re-emerging as an issue in the run-up to the next federal election. To discuss it, in this column we will talk about three aspects: the background of Mexico, the international comparison and some of the approaches currently outlined.
During the regime change in 2012, the election of Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI and PVEM), Josefina Vázquez Motta (PAN), Andrés Manuel López Obrador (PRD, PT and Movimiento Ciudadano) was debated at length. ) competed. ) and Gabriel Quadri de la Torre (New Alliance). The campaign season opened an opportunity for applicants to present proposals for change in higher education and science and technology.
There were some important precedents at the time. First, the OECD recommends creating a Ministry of Science and Technology or Higher Education, Science and Technology. The organization indicated that this option is worth considering as it is a common practice in OECD member countries, although it also recognized the political difficulty of putting it into practice (OECD, “Criticisms of Innovation Policy: Mexico”, 2008, page 47 ) Second, to create a Science and Technology Secretariat An initiative by Senators Francisco Javier Castellón Fonseca and Carlos Navarrete Ruiz (PRD). After submission to the full Senate (September 8, 2011), the bill was referred to the Joint Commissions on the Interior and Legislative Studies. The initiative did not move forward and remained in the legislative freezer.
In March 2012, the Mexican Association of Applied Research and Technological Development (ADIAT) published a brief document (15 pages) entitled “Knowledge Society and Economy to Promote Competitiveness and Sustainable Development in Mexico”, also known as the Monterrey Declaration. The document recommended increasing public and private spending on technology research and development, increasing the number of scientists and technologists, facilitating linkages between the academic and business sectors, and establishing a Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation Secretariat and Cabinet Special Secretariat. In case.
At the end of the ADIAT Congress, dialogue tables took place with the presidential candidates. Among them, as Alejandro Canales comments in this link, “Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Josefina Vázquez Motta signed the Declaration. In the case of Enrique Pena Nieto he only congratulated the ADIAT document and expressed his support for its content” (Campusv, March 29, 2012).
A similar event occurred on June 8, 2012, when Anuis presented candidates with a proposal to consolidate a six-year higher education policy beginning in December of that year. The document, titled “Inclusion with Social Responsibility: New Generation Higher Education Policies”, includes “creating a Secretariat for Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation and strengthening planning systems in all federal institutions. The country will gradually build a modern higher education system of a federal nature, equally decentralized and its firmly rooted in local and regional communities” (p. 37). Anuies pointed out that this option, the consolidation of autonomous or specialized institutions, leads to the improvement of the possibility of achieving a more efficient articulation between higher education policies and research, science, technology and innovation. A corresponding public budget and “more efficient planning of postgraduate programs and programs aimed at training researchers and technologists would be preferred” (Meaning)
In a dialogue with candidates forum, Andrés Manuel López Obrador said he accepted Anuies' recommendation and announced that if he wins, he will appoint Juan Ramon de la Fuente as Secretary of Education and René Drucker Collin as Secretary of Science. Technology and innovation. Peña Nieto said the plan is already being studied, and yes, he promised to significantly improve federal funding for science and technology.
A broad diagnostic exercise and proposals for science and technology policy were developed during the six-year period beginning after the federal election. The exercise led by the then Rector led to the document “National Agenda for Science, Technology and Innovation” signed by representatives of more than 60 educational institutions and companies, technology sector and business sector. UNAMJosé Narro Robles was able to bring together key representatives of the country's science and technology sector to agree on the document's approaches and proposals.
Among other recommendations, the “National Agenda” should “consider the creation of a Secretary of State with sufficient powers and skills to articulate and coordinate the many efforts needed to position knowledge as a fundamental driver of Mexico's development.” (Page 6). In this project, the Conacid “It will become a financial operating body, and the functions of the General Assembly will be taken over by the new Secretariat” (p. 57).
In the next installment, we will review in more detail the contingencies and differences between the proposals of ADIAT, Anuies and the “National Agenda” group, and some hypotheses on the reasons preventing its implementation in the six-year period from 2012. 2018.