9 de novembro de 2007

When Higher means Lower



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?




15 comentários:

Paulo Sempre disse...

Nice blog.
Thanks!

Blondwithaphd disse...

Dear Paulo, so kind of you! Thanks!

C Valente disse...

Gosto de aqui passar, pena é o meu inglês ser fraco
Bom fim de semana
Saudações amigas

Blondwithaphd disse...

Dear C Valente, and I like it that you come here! Qual fraco, qual quê!

quintarantino disse...

Ah, afinal a Blondie fala português...

But since I like talking with you in English, you are a naughty girl... where the hell did you get the ideia that married state is apatic?

And you are much to kind to call me and my associates pundits. I guess, 'cause you very might be calling us pedants!! Hope not.

I guess you are really one in a kind, my good friend and great writer.

António de Almeida disse...

-O ensino superior em Portugal apresenta algumas curiosidades. Discute-se muito a lógica público/privado, e aqui, o público é frequentado maioritariamente pelas classes económicas mais favorecidas, no privado é o inverso. Por outro lado, quando se defende o ensino público, está-se a defender um modelo, no qual a sociedade investe na formação dos seus melhores, que depois irão retribuir á sociedade, sob a forma de conhecimento. Acontece, que Portugal é um país, onde os seus quadros mais qualificados, na sua esmagadora maioria formados no ensino superior público, têm rendimentos por vezes superiores á média europeia, ou então, por aí alinhados, enquanto a generalidade da população, que financia o ensino através dos seus impostos, continua a divergir dos rendimentos europeus.

Blondewithaphd disse...

Quinn,
Sure you are pundits! Don't give you much time before you are leading the masses! (married state is blissful, it's passion as a whole that doesn't last long. It gets burned out very soon)
Thanks for the great writer thing, but there's something I'm not buying!

Blondewithaphd disse...

Dear António,
if only I could tell you of the curiosities of public higher education in this country...
Another thing that afflicts me greatly is the lack of subsidies for students whose families go through great pains to put them at the university. There's still a very long way to go until there is inclusiveness for everybody.
Just another of those great things about this country.

quintarantino disse...

My friend Blondie thinking on you I remember what our poet Pessoa wrote about Coke and sorry it will be in portuguese because it is so much better (in the case): "Primeiro estranha-se, depois entranha-se".
That´s what I feel about your writing and yourself. And just between us you are a pundit yourself!

bluegift disse...

Há falta de dinheiro para o ensino superior e excesso de despesa, versus resultado do investimento, no ensino secundário. Ou seja: andamos a pagar os estudos de quem não tem potencial intelectual e a cortar as pernas a quem o tem! A ideia de justiça social neste país ainda está demasiado impregnada de tiques comunistas.

Blondewithaphd disse...

Quinn,
Much too kind, much too kind!

Blondewithaphd disse...

Blue,
I don't know what you mean by "tiques comunistas!, but you're absolutely right that a lot of people with potencial are left out of the system, while others are taking their places. And what's happening at the secundary level is a complete shame to our education system.

bluegift disse...

Blonde, quando me refiro a "tiques comunistas", é à ideia de que o Ensino deve ser igual para todos, em vez de ser diferenciado em função dos resultados obtidos por cada um. Uma velha ideia do pós 25 de Abril que ainda persiste em muitos espíritos. Essa mentalidade contribui para o nível impressionante de insucesso escolar no nosso país. Se investíssemos mais no ensino técnico e comercial em vez de andarmos a desperdiçar dinheiro com alunos que não aguentam uma formação geral (e ainda se obriga os professores a fazê-los transitar de ano para salvar estatísticas), talvez os dinheiros pudessem ser mais bem orientados. Ganhariamos mais técnicos especializados, que bem precisamos, e talvez a nossa inteligência "universitária" fosse mais protegida. Assim, é obrigada a fugir para o estrangeiro ou a cair na frustração de um dia-a-dia sem incentivos.
Cá para nós, não sei se o dinheiro poupado seria mesmo canalizado para o ensino superior... (com estes tipos nunca se sabe...) mas pelo menos não seria desperdiçado no ensino secundário.

Blondewithaphd disse...

Blue, I get the point, thanks.
You're right. In this country there's the notion that everybody should go to university. Everybody should be "Drs. e Engenheiros". It's quite an idiotic idea. What happens is that everybody is going to universities because there's no other place to go. And so we end up stuck with a lot of frustrated students that should be doing something else. And these people will never be good professionals as they have never been good students because their motivation and skills went to the garbage can instead of being channeled the right direction.
The German model is still very far from Portugal. There you only go to university if you really want that for your future, otherwise you have zillions of other schools training you in the fields you want.

bluegift disse...

That's how it should be here too. Enfim, é a vida...