Javier Milei

Public universities in Argentina on Wednesday protested against President Javier Milei's sharp budget cuts by turning off classroom lights to save money on electricity.

The University of Buenos Aires (UBA) reported an 80% reduction in its budget, adding that it was a very difficult situation to manage.

"There's no way to keep the university functioning with this budget," UBA's faculty of law's dean Leandro Vergara said, Reuters reported.

The president has prioritized cutting government spending, as the country is dealing with a large fiscal deficit due to years of poor economic management by both right and left-wing governments.

Argentina is currently going through high inflation, with the country hitting a 143% rate annually. Since Milei won the elections, the values of stocks and bonds increased along with that of the peso, the local currency.

At UBA's faculty of exact sciences, students and teachers have set up a countdown clock indicating that the budget will only last for 43 more days.

UBA, known as one of Latin America's best universities, offers free undergraduate courses to all. Additionally, it operates six secondary schools and five public hospitals.

The university said that its budget had been reduced by 26% in nominal terms, but when adjusted for inflation, which is nearly 300%, the real decrease amounts to 80%. To stretch the funds, the faculties have been requested to cut down on energy usage.

As the cuts have hit all public universities in the country, there will be a march against the government next week. However, the government is defending the cuts, stating that no one has to be worried about their studies.

Government spokesman Manuel Adorni said Wednesday in a regular press conference, "No one has to worry about their studies at the universities. (It will be) in the best conditions that the universities' budgets allow."

A 22-year-old law student Nahiara Tripiana shared her concern of dropping out, as she can't afford private studies.

"In the future, it will bring us terrible consequences on a social, cultural level, and for academic excellence," Tripiana said.

The university's dean, on the other hand, said the "classes are going to continue in any way possible," adding that "we will teach classes even by candlelight, but the community should know that we are not going to close the doors."

The protest came just one day after Milei announced the $300 million deal with Denmark to purchase 24 F-16 jets for the former's air force.

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