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The Post-2008 Crisis and the Crisis of Higher Education in Cyprus

The Post-2008 Crisis and the Crisis of Higher Education in Cyprus

Victor Roudometof, President of the University of Cyprus’ Faculty Labor Union Historically, Cyprus lacked its own public universities; the first ...

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Portuguese Science: Chronicle of Death Foretold

Portuguese Science: Chronicle of Death Foretold

Helena Carreiras, Senior researcher, Center for Research and Studies in Sociology, ISCTE, Lisbon, Portugal The Portuguese government decided to overhaul ...

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The Crisis of Public Universities in Indonesia Today

The Crisis of Public Universities in Indonesia Today

Lucia Ratih Kusumadewi and Antonius Cahyadi, University of Indonesia The Indonesian Reforms of 1998 brought about massive social change. Ever ...

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Germans Boycott University Rankings

Germans Boycott University Rankings

Scientific Evaluation, Yes – CHE Ranking, No Methodological Problems and Political Implications of the CHE University Ranking German Sociological Association ...

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Neoliberalism and Higher Education: The Australian Case

Neoliberalism and Higher Education: The Australian Case

Raewyn Connell, University of Sydney [1] When neoliberal policies in Australia began to bite in the sphere of higher education, towards ...

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Carnage in Aleppo University in Syria

Carnage in Aleppo University in Syria

Eighty-seven people were killed and at least 150 injured in two explosions that struck Aleppo University in Northern Syria this ...

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Calls for Academic Freedom: Reflections on Palestine and Israel

Calls for Academic Freedom: Reflections on Palestine and Israel

Feras Hammami, KTH, Royal Institute of technology, Stockholm, Sweden “Israeli academic freedom is under severe attack”. This was written in a ...

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Report Finds Risky Money Managment by University of California

Report Finds Risky Money Managment by University of California

A report released last week by UC Berkeley students, reveal the staggering human costs of University of California’s interest rate ...

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By Michael Burawoy, University of California,  Berkeley

This semester at Berkeley has been one of the most tumultuous since the early1970s when the campus was regularly overtaken by civil rights and anti-war protests. The factor precipitating today’s protests is the economic crisis which hit California deeply, but especially its system of public education.  Once the pride of the nation California’s public education — from elementary school to college — has become a public disgrace.  As the result of Proposition 13, passed in 1978, which capped property taxes, funding for public education has suffered steady decline, even as funding for incarceration has witnessed a steady increase.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOI5l2_RghQ&w=300]Calfornia’s Master Plan envisioned a system of public higher education that ranged from community college to the pinnacles of the University of California. The Master Plan has been ditched.  As the system has steadily lost its funding so deterioration at the underprivileged end is accompanied at its most privileged end – Berkeley — by increased reliance on private funding, that is on donors, federal research grants, and investment by large corporations in the engineering school, business school and the natural sciences. As the university is subject to the market appalling inequalities follow as surely as night follows day. …READ MORE

By Raquel Sosa Elízaga, National Autonomous University of Mexico

The National Autonomous University of Mexico has become the largest institution of higher education in the country, and probably one of the largest universities in the world. With over three hundred thousand students, nearly seventy thousand teachers and employees and an annual budget of more than two billion dollars, it is the biggest center of production and socialization of knowledge that can be thought in the contemporary world.

Renowned for its quality research, the level of publishing, the quality of its cultural activities and its influence on the Mexican and Latin American political world, UNAM faces big problems which must be resolved or there will be a major crisis in the near future.

First, there is the problem that, UNAM is emblematic of the educational system’s inability to absorb all the students who are prepared to go to universities. With an incoming cohort of little more than 30,000 UNAM is far from being able to absorb the nearly 200,000 students that each year leave high school aspiring to become future professionals. Its vast infrastructure, its human resources and its tremendous learning experience are not enough to meet our most serious contemporary problem: ten million young people aged eighteen and over who have access neither to education nor to work.

Second, although UNAM produces and distributes more than sixty percent of the country’s scientific knowledge, it is able neither to systematize and manage that knowledge, nor to use it in creating or recreating proposals for sustainable development, equity, equality, justice, dignity of life for all Mexicans. This is, of course, not only a problem for UNAM, but is very worrying that the vast resources invested annually in research are not being deployed in organizing proposals to enhance our national collective intelligence so as to make life better and more convivial for everyone.

In fact the complex administrative and academic structure of the University makes it practically impossible, even unthinkable, that knowledge be shared and exchanged not only beyond the borders of campus, but even between one faculty, school, institute or center and another. Inter- and transdisciplinarity are practices for which the University is poorly prepared (although there are some academic structures that incorporate them). Over the past thirty-five years, while I’ve been a university professor, there has not been a single call to the university community as a whole to offer concrete solutions to major national problems (although, again, many of its researchers, teachers or students have sought to do so individually or in groups).

Finally, the population of the university is bigger than most cities in the country, yet there is no prospect of applying knowledge or even attending to the problems it presents as a human organization. For most, spending eight or ten hours a day on campus means not just seeking refuge from the problems experienced daily in the city or the country or the world, but also avoiding identification with other members of the university community itself. Individualism, loneliness, frustration and depression put thousands of students in a fragile, unrecognized and unappreciated condition. I think we must rebuild university life, precisely in terms of these deep and basic problems.