Four officials are active members of Peru Libre and one is linked to Fenatep, President Castillo's teachers' union. Other quotas correspond to APP, Acción Popular and Somos Perú. All entered less than four months ago.
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In the sector, the highest concentration of party affiliates is in directorates and headquarters. (Illustration: Victor Aguilar)
In the Ministry of Education, the highest concentration of political party affiliates is in directorates and headquarters. Four officials are active members of Free Peruand one is linked to the National Federation of Educational Workers of Peru (Fenatep), the teachers' union founded by President Pedro Castillo . Other party quotas correspond to Alianza para el Progreso, Acción Popular and Somos Perú.
Additionally, the aforementioned group entered less than four months ago, shortly after the arrival of Rosendo Serna as head of the sector. Among the affiliates of the pencil party who today have positions related to that portfolio, are the director of Comprehensive Assistance and Monitoring of the National Youth Secretariat, Julián Blas Tucto; the director of Teacher Training, Percy Chávez Lume; the president of the Huampaní Vacation Center, César Eusebio Padilla; and the board member of the same recreation center Blanca Burga Jara.
In March of this year, she rotated from post Roy Palacios Ávalos, leader of Fenatep, an organization whose base aspires to become a political party under the name of the Popular and Magisterial Party. Before Palacios was appointed executive director of the National Program of Scholarships and Educational Loans (Pronabec), he had held the Vice Ministry of Institutional Management.
Inside the Minedu Also found as officials with party cards are Pablo Ferruzo Fernández and Wilder Bustamante Idrogo; both of Alliance for Progress. Ferruzo is director of Intergovernmental Relations, while Bustamante is in charge of Physical Education and Sports. Pedro Carrera Ramos is another member of the party of César Acuña, and one of the most recent to join the ministry, with the position of director of Supervision of Agreements of the National Program of Educational Infrastructure (Pronied).
For their part, two Popular Action militants also work in middle positions in the sector: César Pino Vargas heads the Regulatory Technical Department of Teachers, and Flor Llaury López is coordinator of Educational Infrastructure projects for Bicentennial Schools. Finally, there is Santiago García Montañez, affiliated with Somos Perú, who since February has been head of the Technological Infrastructure Unit.
Sector volatility and concerns about reforms
The entry of Roy Palacios as director of Pronabec he received several criticisms at the time. In principle, because of his links with Fenate, of which he was general secretary in Pasco. Said federation – recognized as a union by the Ministry of Labor since August – has among its main demands the automatic appointment of teachers without going through the evaluation promoted by the Teacher Reform Law.
Roy Palacios, when he still held the Vice Ministry of Institutional Management. His position has remained empty since March, when he was appointed director of Pronabec. (Photo: GORE Pasco)
In dialogue with El Comercio, the former Minister of Education, Ricardo Cuenca , stressed that President Castillo's union ties could generate tension in the sector, which has not yet seen its reforms consolidated. As it is recalled, the central reforms of the Minedu are the teaching, the university and the curricular. They all obtained a legal framework in the last ten years.
“We have to start from a particular situation, and that is that President Castillo comes from the [education] sector. He is not only a teacher, but he has formed a union [the Fenatep]. A union that, certainly, has been –always; not just from now – against some of these reforms that have been installed. So, it becomes more difficult for any official profile during this government to have so much autonomy because there is a line regarding the union issue and also regarding the reforms. In this way, there will always be a level of tension in the Executive because the ministers or other officials are going to be on one side or the other or trying to be in the middle”, he said.
Regarding the high turnover of officials at various levels of the ministry, Cuenca –who was incumbent between 2020 and 2021– stressed that the sustainability of sectoral policies also depends on that of its staff in executive and technical positions.
“When I entered the ministry, for example, I found part of the same teams working since 2012 or 2014. Only in the last five years, by 2021, the Education portfolio had more than six ministers, and the teams [in middle management] did not They changed at that time. But if today we have, in addition to a high turnover of ministers, conflicts between incoming cadres because the policies that have been worked on for years are not considered, the result could be the perfect storm for the reforms to fail,” said the former minister.
A fact that serves as a contrast to the volatility is the lack of key positions within the Minedu. When Roy Palacios resigned from the Vice Ministry of Institutional Management, the current minister, Rosendo Serna, did not fill the position with another official. Since March, the vacancy in Palacios has been entrusted to Walter Hernández Alcántara, who was already serving as Deputy Minister of Pedagogical Management two months earlier. It should also be noted that Hernández does not credit experience in public management outside of his years as a university professor.
The education policy specialist and co-founder of MásEducaciónPe, Carla Gamberini, told El Comercio that the Hernandez's case is worrisome, because both vice ministries cannot be supported by a single person. She explained that these firms require different profiles and skills.
“I would say that it is even irresponsible to leave the same person in charge of these two vice ministries; not only because of the burden that this implies, but because they normally require different skills. On the one hand, leadership is needed from the pedagogical point of view, with knowledge of management, and on the other hand, mastery of planning strategies is needed, with knowledge more inclined to budget issues. Even though one person may have that set of skills and insights, it's not possible to efficiently split in two for both offices”, he explained.
Officers from Free Peru with complaints
Of the four officials from Free Peru that we indicated at the beginning, three carry sanctions or complaints in their resumes. Julián Blas, director within the National Youth Secretariat of the Minedu, was sanctioned in January 2021 for psychological offense against six studentsfrom the Fernando Carbajal Segura school, in Aguaytía, Ucayali. According to Resolution No. 202-2021 of the Civil Service Court, which declares his appeal unfounded, Blas Tucto admitted having “crumpled the work presented by the students” and that “he was carried away by the lack of respect and seriousness” of these .
In the minors' argument, it is stated that the teacher would not have tolerated the presentation of the homework on notebook paper and that he crumpled up what he had received and then put it in the garbage can. The case occurred in March 2019. After a process initiated by the UGEL Padre Abad, teacher Blas was sanctioned with a temporary dismissal for 31 days and without remuneration. Likewise, the Chamber of Servants later declared the administrative channel exhausted “as the imputed fault was proven”.
On the other hand, the militants Percy Chavez–now director of Teacher Training– and César Eusebio –now president of the Huampaní Vacation Center, attached to the Minedu– register criminal complaints. Chávez Lume, who was an advisor to the office of congressman Abel Reyes (Free Peru), was denounced in October 2021 for physical and psychological violence against his partner.
In the case of Eusebio Padilla, Peru 21 reported in 2012 that he had been denounced two years earlier for alleged fraud. On June 16, the Huampaní board, led by Eusebio, appointed Juan Vargas Ramos, also a member of Perú Libre, as head of legal advice for the state center for recreation.
For the education policy specialist, Carla Gamberini, although political affiliation is not a negative characteristic in itself, this should not be the factor that weighs most when appointing officials. In this sense, she maintains that experience and ethics are key criteria in selections for positions of trust. “We hope that there is not a kind of politicization of the positions within the sector, but the most worrying thing is that we see questioned people occupying them. Although they are not prosecuted cases with a final sentence, it should be unacceptable that people with a history of assaulting students and family members are exercising functions, “she commented.