President Lenin Moreno has requested the resignation of his entire ministerial cabinet. The president’s communication office said that ministers will be evaluated through the remainder of the year and that new appointments would be made within a matter of weeks.
The call for ministerial resignations is a year-end tradition of Ecuadorian presidents, with most ministers being reappointed and most of them continuing in their jobs during the evaluation process. This year’s call, however, came with unexpected drama as Minister of Education Fander Falconi announced that his resignation was “irrevocable.”
In a series of Tweets and press comments Thursday night, Falconi criticized the government for considering educational budget reductions in 2019. “By cutting funds for education, society is attacked, especially children and adolescents. The most serious thing is that it destroys the future of the country, ” he said.
In his criticism, Falconi said most of his proposals for the 2019 budget were ignored by Finance Minister Richard Martinez and his staff. Martinez is responsible for developing the budget, which will then go to Moreno and the National Assembly for final approval.
“Budgetary stability in education is essential for the country to maintain a minimum of wellness. For real progress, a growing allocation for education is essential, especially in the area of early childhood education, which is when the body and mind are being formed,” Falconi said in one of his Twitter comments.
He added that Ecuador’s constitution requires that the annual allocation for education must increase by a minimum of half of one percent annually. In one version of Martinez’s 2019 proposed budget, education funding was cut by two percent. Martinez defended himself, claiming that the budget is a “work in progress” and that his numbers are not final.
Earlier this week, the government back-tracked on budget cuts to public universities following protests from students and faculty. On Tuesday, the Secretary of Higher Education Adrián Bonilla said that university budgets would remain at 2018 levels. Originally, the proposed budget for universities showed a six percent funding cut.