Yesterday at the opening ceremony of the academic year at Universidade de Lisboa, the Rector, Dr. António Nóvoa (Dr. in an English meaning), made some serious remarks that I'm forced to admit I totally subscribe.
We all know that education costs money. It's a right all citizens have it's true, but it is a very expensive right. And higher education is obviously the costliest. How can we have a high-skilled professional without investment? And then, of course, society expects that the investment made in an individual can be paid up by the amount of skilled work performed by that same individual.
We also know that as far as things go in Portuguese academia the panorama is not that bright. There is chronic lack of investment (I still remember in my student's years that a certain leftist government had a passion for education, but, as in all passion cases, it vanished away quite quickly into a state of married apathic bliss), universities don't have the means to keep the brightest researchers, cases of brain drain are hugely common in Portugal, and the facilities of universities themselves (some exceptions made) are not at all inviting.
And so this government starts investing massively in protocols with some quite reputed foreign universities. Nothing wrong there. I'm all in favour of protocols and besides we live in a globalised world and we can't be left out on our own (the proudly alone situation doesn't benefit anyone). But I have to agree with the Rector of Clássica. There's no money to invest indoors, but it's ok to invest outdoors before our own problems are, at least minimally, dealt with. Ironic, isn't it?