SENA: Sesenta y un años formando para el mundo del trabajo

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Marcha colectivo de trabajadores del SENA.

Marcel Guarnizo Prieto

El pasado 21 de junio se cumplieron 61 años de la creación del Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje SENA, fundado en el año de 1957 gracias a la decisión del movimiento sindical de luchar por la creación de una institución que capacitara a los trabajadores y a los hijos de los trabajadores, dadas las condiciones de desarrollo productivo que por ese entonces vivía el país.

En el marco de la lucha por el subsidio familiar y ante la negativa de crear esa entidad de capacitación por parte de los empresarios y de la Junta Militar que gobernaba Colombia por esa época, las y los trabajadores agremiados en la Unión de Trabajadores de Colombia decidieron ceder del 5% logrado para el subsidio familiar, 1% para la creación del SENA, haciendo así realidad la materialización de la responsabilidad que le asiste al Estado por Constitución de capacitar a los trabajadores colombianos, a través de una institución que se mantiene gratuita hasta nuestros días y que cada trimestre arroja a miles de jóvenes al mercado laboral.

Unos años después el subsidio familiar aumentó al 6% destinándose 4% para el subsidio y 2% para el SENA, con lo cual las y los trabajadores colombianos no solo aportaron la idea para la creación de la entidad, sino que también la financiaron desde sus inicios; es decir, el SENA y su misión institucional son una conquista de la clase trabajadora colombiana y gracias a ella, millones de jóvenes han podido solucionar sus necesidades de formación profesional, al mismo tiempo que resuelven parcialmente su situación económica con el contrato de aprendizaje.

Sin embargo, desde su creación hasta nuestros días, no han sido pocos los intentos de los diferentes gobiernos de turno por desviar su presupuesto, cambiar su misión, marchitar la entidad o privatizarla definitivamente. Y es que el presupuesto del SENA supera la nada despreciable suma de más de tres billones de pesos, con lo cual se convierte en un importante botín para quienes pretenden apropiarse de esos dineros.

Por mencionar algunos ejemplos, el gobierno de César Gaviria privatizó al SENA, el de Álvaro Uribe permitió el cobro de la formación y eliminó el carácter laboral del contrato de aprendizaje, y el de Juan Manuel Santos eliminó los aportes parafiscales que eran los recursos con los que se financiaba el SENA. Pero cada uno de estos ataques generó la reacción de estudiantes, trabajadores, instructores y sociedad en general, por salvaguardar la entidad que ha sido muchas veces la institución más querida por los colombianos, gracias a lo cual mantiene su gratuidad y permitió la promulgación de la primera ley de iniciativa popular, la Ley 119 de 1994.

En la actualidad, algunas de las amenazas que se ciernen contra el SENA provienen de la Comisión de Estudio del Gasto Público y de la Inversión, creada mediante la Ley 1819 de 2016, la cual hace unas recomendaciones al Estado con el fin de hacer las adecuaciones tendientes a vincular a Colombia a la OCDE.

Dentro de las recomendaciones que esta Comisión realiza está la de flexibilizar el gasto público, ya que según ellos, el Gobierno nacional colombiano tiene poco margen de maniobra para administrarlo, por lo tanto sugieren que las rentas de destinación específica, como lo son las del presupuesto del SENA, sean modificadas con el fin de poder acceder a dichos recursos.

Lo anterior se complementa con la recomendación de trasladar el SENA del Ministerio del Trabajo, como se encuentra en la actualidad, al Ministerio de Educación Nacional, con lo cual se pretende que el presupuesto de la entidad sirva para cubrir los huecos dejados por una errada política de desfinanciación de la educación formal, particularmente de la educación superior.

Esta maniobra no solo desviaría el presupuesto de la entidad, afectando el desarrollo de su misión institucional y por lo tanto la formación de miles de jóvenes, sino que al tratar de formalizar la oferta educativa del SENA, es decir, de trasladarla al MEN, se estaría excluyendo y discriminando a miles de colombianos y colombianas, que sin haber cursado sus estudios de educación básica y media, hoy pueden estudiar en los cursos que oferta el SENA. La “universidad de los pobres” como se le llama al SENA, dejaría de ser para los pobres y solo podrían acceder a ella, aquellos que hayan podido cursar el bachillerato y presentado el Icfes.

Después de 61 años, el SENA sigue siendo por excelencia la entidad encargada de la capacitación de la clase trabajadora colombiana, de miles de jóvenes que por sus condiciones socioeconómicas sólo pueden acceder a la formación profesional integral que imparte y ahora está desempeñando un papel importante en la reincorporación de los excombatientes producto del acuerdo de paz. El fortalecimiento y defensa del SENA en sus 61 años, siguen siendo una tarea de primer orden de la juventud colombiana, para que junto a los trabajadores, instructores y sociedad en general, puedan garantizar su existencia para el disfrute y goce de las generaciones venideras así como sus fundadores lo hicieron para las generaciones que ya pasaron por sus aulas y talleres.

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