After three years of doctorate in Brazil (in 2017) with a Senescyt scholarship, and without finalizing its payment, the Ecuadorian scientist Linda Guamán was informed that she had to return the article corresponding to the health and life insurance that he had engaged during her studies in this country, for an amount of more than 5,000 USD.
After a meeting held on Monday November 16, 2020 with the Senescyt, he learned that the reason for this is the description of the insurance, which translated from Portuguese into Spanish says: international funeral assistance and repatriation. The Senescyt, said Guamán, told him that it meant international coverage.
Now you need to get a document that proves that the insurance had international coverage, although, he insisted, the description is clear and obvious, even if not in the precise terms indicated by the Secretariat. She has been in Ecuador since 2017 and the Brazilian bank with which she purchased the insurance no longer exists.
On Wednesday, November 18, 2020, the six-month period granted to Linda Guamán to pay the full value ended, so she took extraordinary action to have her case reviewed and thus prevent a process from starting. coercive.
“I spent three years here, in Ecuador, from 2017 to 2020, without being informed of my liquidation, if they had told me that upon my return it would have been a little easier to get the document, but they tell me three years later, also at the start of the pandemic. So there is very little that we researchers can do after several years. Some are asked for the “boarding pass” from eight years ago ”.
This is not the only case of scholarship holders required to pay amounts corresponding to their years of study. In fact, Linda Guamán’s case became known after a Twitter thread was circulated, corresponding to a comrade who claims to have mortgaged her parents’ house to return $ 40,000 to the Institute for the Promotion of Human Talent (IFTH). of the time, currently Senescyt, for having had to emigrate, after not having obtained a job in Ecuador at the end of their scholarship or having accumulated it as foreseen in the scholarship contract: for twice the duration of the scholarship.
In the case of Linda Guamán, a prominent Ecuadorian scientist of international renown and part of the scientific community who has lent her skills to the fight against COVID-19 in the country, the Senescyt called her to take care of her case . “I know there are boys who have been trying to contact the Senescytos for months and haven’t called them to review their files like they did with me.”
For this reason, Guamán decided not to attend Senescyt’s meeting with a private lawyer, but with a delegate from the Office of the Ombudsman. “The idea is that it can help all of us, beyond me.”
Before the meeting, she had to notarize all emails in her time as an intern. At the end of 2019, he says, they contacted him to ask him to send the health and life insurance documents. This was done by one of the 16 analysts who ran its trading process for four years. “These were people who at first were from Senescyt, then from IECE, after IFTH and now still from Senescyt.”
Linda told them that she had already sent the documents in 2012 and they asked her to send them back. He sent them back and it was only this year that he was informed that ultimately these documents were not valid. They didn’t tell him, he repeats, why.
Communication problems, argues the scientist, are not something new, because, she assures, in the competent entity, there has been a high turnover rate of civil servants. “Many of us had to send original invoices every semester. If when leaving the office the official who received them did not leave them in the file, now the Senescyt assumes that we did not deliver it ”
At their meeting, the Secretariat was open, says Linda. “They recognized that there were communication problems, they made a commitment with the Office of the Mediator to create an easier channel of attention with the scholarship holders, who will accompany the Abrec (Association of researchers) and who will work in close collaboration with them. ”
Regarding other complaints from fellows who are studying and awaiting their pending disbursements, Senescyt said on Wednesday November 18, 2020 that they have met their payment commitments as and when resource transfers have been received.
From March to July 2020, the Secretariat said, the ex-IFTH disbursed USD 17.8 million and, since Senescyt took office, it transferred USD 14.5 million in three months. As reported, in 2020 USD 32.4 million was awarded to over 7,000 scholarship recipients: 6,204 nationals and 920 students abroad.
“These payments, like any other process in which public resources are managed, require validation of documents that justify compliance with the contract and the proper use of resources,” the Secretariat said in a statement. In addition, they indicated that they had taken all necessary steps to comply with the pending payments.