Le site Bellaciao: coloré, multiple, ou le meilleur cotoie fort heureusement le pire, mélangé, bizarre, picabien et dadaîste, explorant toutes sortes de registres et de régimes rhétoriques, drole et polémiqueur, surréaliste: rencontre d'un parapluie et d'une machine à coudre sur une table de dissection, têtes de Lénine sur le clavier d'un piano Steinway ou Bosendorfer...
FR
ES
Senal en Vivo
VIDEO
RADIO
FRIENDS SITES
with Bellaciao
Bellaciao hosted by
To rebel is right, to disobey is a duty, to act is necessary !
Bellaciao  mobile version   |   Home  |   About us   |   Donation  |   Links  |   Contact  |   Search
Open letter to Fabio Mussi on the paradox of his university reforms

by : Salvatore Fiore
Tuesday January 8, 2008 - 16:32

On the 30 December the Italian newspaper "La Repubblica" cited that the Decreto Milleproroghe reform proposed by Fabio Mussi, Minister of University and Research and leader of the Sinistra Democratica party in Italy is a sort of Copernican revolution. But what Copernican revolution? This is a carbon copy of what researchers and academics in Britain are trying to get rid of!

The following is an open letter to Fabio Mussi

30 December 2007

Egr. Ministro Mussi,

I have today read on Repubblica about the reform you proposed of Italian universities and research with the Decreto Milleproroghe. As an Italian, I am writing from the UK, with experience spanning ten years of study, research and university teaching here. I have worked in and researched the British Higher Education System and its prevailing quality processes and structures – a system from which you draw the design for your proposed reform.

The British Department for Education and Skills defines universities as a resource for a competitive knowledge society. This attributes power to the economy to drive developments in education and research, while politicians and university executives preach about efficiency and competitiveness. The goal then is to avoid a trade-off in quality so that Higher Education can appear to bring a return on investment to society.

What is actually meant by quality, however, in a mass, marketised Higher Education sector, is somewhat obscure. Repeated changes in the discourse on quality since Thatcher’s government have compelled universities towards a performativity culture. Both the established universities and the many new degree awarding institutions created as a result of legislation in 1992 have been made answerable to the HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) as they are forced to demonstrate quality in terms of value for money in return for allocation of funds. The universities pursue an agenda of efficiency, with control devolved to agencies including the Quality Assurance Agency, to which universities are accountable via processes of audit and inspection. The pressure of such accountability is invariably felt most by the academics and knowledge workers rather than the self-styled presidents at the top of the institutional hierarchy.

On the other side are the students, now paying anything up to £7000 a year in tuition fees on the promise of better wages and employability upon graduation, only to discover, for the large part that their ‘innovative’ and ‘cutting edge’ qualifications tailored to the perpetually changing needs of a saturated service economy, make them less likely to find employment than if they had never studied at all.

Clearly agendas for educational quality and improvement should be built upon specification of educational purposes and standards and depend upon appreciation of the underlying context and how people learn, interact, sustain, develop or destroy a culture. Similarly, strategies and policies aimed at the enhancement of the quality of the provision of an academic institution should be read in concomitance to the overall organisation development aims and strategies.

In reality, the stakeholders meeting the shortfall and exploiting the competitiveness arising out of decreasing state funding, are primarily large corporations and multinationals, with a purely financial interest in research and teaching. Universities in Britain have moved to embrace lucrative partnerships with such capitalists as they are forced into increasing competitiveness with each other.

As such, while quality can be viewed either progressively in terms of educational improvement or performatively as meaninglessly quantifying aspects of the system, it is most worryingly and most prolifically under the British system, taken as a mechanism to increase power from above and institutionalise compliance and accountability, at the expense of areas of teaching and research that aren’t expected to bring short-term financial return.

The commensurable increase in quality required by auditing authorities with the power to give and take away funding from universities, is accordingly exemplified by permanent struggle, elusive goals and imperialism, such that quality then becomes effectively colonised by consumerism and short-term effectiveness. Quality, perversely, becomes a matter of numbers.

In Britain, the effect this has had on research has been particularly damaging. The Research Assessment Exercise, a process under perpetual review and soon to be replaced altogether, has attracted serious criticism for the way in which it causes barriers for less established, less mainstream and less commercially-interested researchers and departments, while rewarding established researchers and departments with much larger allocations of available funding. Those who need the most help – who are at the start of their careers or who are unable to attract corporate funding due to the nature of their research (however valuable to society) – are hindered and left to struggle, while others who are already ahead, are helped and supported to go further. As a supposed left-wing politician, you will surely recognize this as a fundamental ideological tenet of capitalism.

The Research Assessment Exercise, a process of allocating funding according to performance in research, according to specific criteria for what constitutes good performance, thus purposefully furthers some types of research, opposing equal academic representation and denying the free and fair distribution of resources.

There are many examples of researchers in Britain who have been excluded from research because they were not in a position (through ideology or practicality) to satisfy the prescribed quality criteria. These are, or were, capable and conscientious researchers. These researchers were not assisted by increasing competitiveness and society will not be able to benefit from their research because it was closed down before it could really develop.

Dear Ministro Mussi, the system you would like to implement is that described above. Does this really look left-wing? I think perhaps you need to turn 180° around, having confused left-wing with neo-liberalism, or even with ‘anglo-american neo-conservativism’. Alternatively, if you are unable to gyrate such a distance maybe you should leave your job to those who are still facing in the right direction.

This, however, is not the point, which in fact regards the allocation of resources and academic freedom.

Recent press reports suggest that the UK has hit the bottom of the league in academic freedom in Europe. The competitiveness of British Higher Education now means that the directions of universities, of research and of teaching are in the hands of unqualified and commercially interested consultants and managers. Researchers and lecturers are ‘troops’ being led into ‘battle’ by university ‘presidents’ who are advised strategically by multinational firms of management consultants.

In short, competitiveness is being embraced as a battle; one for capital, rather than knowledge or exchange of cultures, although of course neither Thatcher nor Blair would admit as much. And it is a dirty battle. An increase in the amount of misconduct in research (e.g. faked research results, fixing outputs, copying work, etc.) perpetrated in order to access funding and boost profiles of departments or universities is another disturbing consequence of such systems identified here in the UK.

More fundamentally, research which has to fulfill financial outcomes is itself a flawed concept because most social research has got outcomes, the value of which are not measurable quantitatively or subject to the laws of finance or similar quality measures you would like to introduce.

Academic freedom allows that research must be disinterested and conducted for the wealth of humanity; not for the wealth of multinational corporations (We can certainly learn from the past about the bad financing of ghost projects).

The point, Ministro, is that academic freedom is not the product of any policy. It is the right of academics. If a person has achieved the right to be known as an academic and to publish his or her research, it is your obligation to guarantee this right, not to trade it in exchange for capital.

Dear Minstro Mussi, you are opening up universities for capital exploitation. Is this really left wing? Again, perhaps you should turn 180° if you are to call yourself left-wing, because up to now you are only proposing neo-liberal reforms which translate into submission to anglo american neo-conservative ways of thinking; the very same ways so much criticised by yourself and your colleagues during your protest marches.

If this is still not enough, I would also like to highlight to you that many universities in Southern Italy suffer as a result of low research income. How would you propose to lift such problems from Southern Italian universities? It is likely that your system will inevitably cut out some universities and, as a self-fulfilling prophecy, will create a two-tier system of universities: those in centre-north Italy with plenty of funding, brain-draining from Southern Italy and those in Southern Italy instead anchored to systems of paternalism and patriarchy, systems of protection over careers and access to research.

Your reform, which offers a carrot in supposedly creating thousands of jobs for new researchers, while giving a stick in the form of such a Quality Assurance system, is masking the real truth behind your project; that you are selling the university system of research and teaching to neo liberal ideologies of the free market.

To create thousands of new researchers is not an easy task and what you are proposing is to see instantaneously, a new army of research scientists. But with a past spent on what? You do not become a researcher from one day to another. You need to spend several years of hard dedication of your life to understand a field. Where will Italy draw such resources from? To be a researcher you need to be framed within the international field and can call yourself a research scientist nowadays only if you have international acknowledgement. It is up to the single individual and not to the good intentions of your government and its policies. You may well risk to raise expectations in a few individuals who will only profit from finances allocated to their universities, whilst drawing Italy further back in research.

If Italy is currently not in a state of advanced research, how do you pretend to form 10,000 new researchers in one year? You are selling the university/research as though it is wonderland, when in reality it has become a highly competitive international field.

Your neglect in not considering certain aspects of research and opening elusive futures to research students, their families and all Italians, is worrying.

Your supposed left-wing thinking is betrayed purposefully by your own words. Instead of opening a phase of transition towards equal access and resource distribution to universities and researchers, you are instead opening up competition between themselves. If all these grand operations with regard to universities have been brought about strategically and hidden purposefully behind the words of the President Napolitano, to make sure that Italian researchers do not abandon Italy, there is only one answer to this; you do not need to put universities in competition because doing so, you will automatically put researchers in competition also. This breaches the cornerstone on which research is based: academic freedom.

The state should be the guarantor of free circulation of ideas, independently from the financial situations in which a university finds itself. The state should be the guarantor that ideas are brought forward and developed without the need to compete and generate capital. Wealth generation it is not an antecedent of the free circulation of ideas in a democratic country. If not, it is only because there is a hidden agenda of which you should make all Italians aware.

By all means encourage Italian researchers to return to Italy. But don’t sell them out in the process. The finance for bringing Italian researchers back to Italy can be made available without the need for universities to enter into competition. Such strategies as that you have proposed are dignified only in a banana republic.

So, Ministro Mussi, like others in the centre-left coalition, can you please let us hear something that is left-wing?

Your Sincerely Salvatore Fiore

Article originally published on UCU-UNCENSORED http://ucu-uncensored.blogspot.com



Leave a comment
Print this article





PEOPLE OF COLOR: THE NFL DOESN’T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT YOU
Tuesday 17 - 23:07
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Report
TRUMP, JONES, THE NFL, AND THE NEW MCCARTHYISM
Tuesday 10 - 23:14
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Report
Catalonia referendum: 90% voted for independence, say officials (video)
Monday 2 - 09:55
Catalonia referendum: ’Spanish authorities are the criminals’ (video)
Monday 2 - 09:47
If I was truly evil
Tuesday 12 - 14:22
Yves Bouvier Faces Swiss Tax Investigation
Saturday 9 - 03:27
by lishk
The Polisario front suspected of double-play around humanitarian aid hijacking
Friday 8 - 21:44
by NathanT
The Polisario front suspected of double-play around humanitarian aid hijacking
Friday 8 - 21:37
by Nathan Taylor
AMERICA’S JUDASES
Sunday 27 - 20:02
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Report
What happend to Soraya and Hussein Khashoggi?
Friday 25 - 20:38
by Perseus
The falling Max Ehrich
Thursday 17 - 19:40
by celbbetty
DAMN THE NFL
Wednesday 16 - 01:44
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Report
Overplaying your hand
Thursday 10 - 12:36
Gujarat Flood 2017 Devastation- Inevitable or Orchestrated in Dhanera ?
Thursday 3 - 06:19
by Dwarika Nath Rath
Multiple citizenship & Zionist subversion of America, Australia, India, Humanity
Wednesday 2 - 03:10
by Dr Gideon Polya
I’M AN IDIOT AND I VOTE
Thursday 27 - 23:23
by David R. Hoffman
The Top Ten Art Scandals That Have Rocked the World
Tuesday 18 - 15:48
by Curtis Judge
John Pilger slams Mainstream silence re Apartheid Israel crimes: Free Palestine
Thursday 13 - 02:43
by Dr Gideon Polya
RUSSIAN MAFIA – NOW IN DUBAI?
Monday 3 - 14:52
by James Dolay
THE NFL IS RACIST
Saturday 1 - 00:31
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Report
Australian Finkel Review has dirty energy for 50 years & ignores 25 key issues
Monday 19 - 03:37
by Dr Gideon Polya
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: JUSTICE FOR PHILANDO CASTILE
Sunday 18 - 01:03
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Report
Find out what is true and false about climate change - Kenneth Pouchet
Friday 16 - 17:43
by Kenneth Pouchet
Freedom For Me, But Not You
Wednesday 31 - 02:17
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Report
Post-Apartheid, non-racist, One State, democratic Palestine can happen tomorrow
Tuesday 30 - 08:21
by Dr Gideon Polya
A Review of Gilad Atzmon’s new book, “Being In Time: The Post-Political Manifes
Wednesday 17 - 21:23
by June Terpstra
Avoiding Another War in North Korea
Sunday 14 - 18:27
by William John Cox
Judah Ben Hur for President 2020
Saturday 13 - 16:15
by William Morgan
ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT FOR DONALD J. TRUMP
Saturday 13 - 02:33
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Report
As War Party shadow boxes, its agenda surges unopposed
Friday 12 - 14:28
by Daniel Patrick Welch
Yves Bouvier caught in a real estate bankruptcy
Thursday 11 - 20:19
by Pierre Gove
Book: This Is How The State Fucks Your Mind
Tuesday 9 - 19:16
by OAF
ISRAEL’S 1967 ATTACK ON INTELLIGENCE SHIP U.S.S. LIBERTY - THE ONLY MYSTERY
Thursday 20 - 20:06
by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Denmark eaten down to the bone, what’s next?
Wednesday 19 - 16:22
by Henrik Petersen
A Financial Toll Tax: Transform, Not Reform, the U.S. Tax System
Monday 17 - 22:55
by William John Cox
COMPLETE DEGRADATION OF A SELF-STYLED GREAT NATION
Saturday 8 - 16:35
by JOHN CHUCKMAN
ATTACKING PEOPLE WITH FLEETS OF MISSILES BEFORE YOU HAVE ANY FACTS
Friday 7 - 20:34
by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Syrian rebels used Sarin nerve gas, not Assad’s regime: U.N. official
Thursday 6 - 23:09
by Shaun Waterman
TRUMP’S FRIGHTENING TURNAROUND ON SYRIA – A STRONG SIGNAL ABOUT WHO REALLY RUNS
Thursday 6 - 17:22
by JOHN CHUCKMAN
AMERICA’S POLITICS WITHOUT MEANING - THE FUNDAMENTAL QUESTIONS ABOUT THE COUNTRY
Thursday 30 - 17:37
by JOHN CHUCKMAN

home | webmaster



Follow-up of the site's activity
RSS Bellaciao En


rss FR / rss IT / rss ES



Bellaciao hosted by DRI

It is the responsibility of the intellectual to speak the truth and to expose lies. Noam Chomsky
Facebook Twitter Google+
DAZIBAO
I, European citizen, won’t let refugees be rejected in my name
Thursday 10 March
©Olivier Jobard/Myop I, European citizen, won’t let refugees be rejected in my name THE RIGHT TO ASYLUM IS A RIGHT In the phrase « right to asylum », every word matters. Under the law, every person who is persecuted because of his or her political opinions or because of his or her identity, every person that is endangered by violence, war or misery has a RIGHT to seek asylum in another country The aim of this petition is to collect (...)
read more...
Neo-Nazis and far-right protesters in Ukraine 3 live-stream
Friday 24 January
2 comments
The far-right in Ukraine are acting as the vanguard of a protest movement that is being reported as pro-democracy. The situation on the ground is not as simple as pro-EU and trade versus pro-Putin and Russian hegemony in the region. When US Senator John McCain dined with Ukraine’s opposition leaders in December, he shared a table and later a stage with the leader of the extreme far-right Svoboda party Oleh Tyahnybok. This is Oleh Tyahnybok, he has claimed a "Moscow-Jewish mafia" (...)
read more...
Hugo Chavez is dead (video live)
Wednesday 6 March
by : Collective BELLACIAO
1 comment
President Hugo Chavez companeros venezueliano died after a long battle with cancer.
read more...
International initiative to stop the war in Syria Yes to democracy, no to foreign intervention!
Thursday 13 December
Your support here: http://www.peaceinsyria.org/support.php We, the undersigned, who are part of an international civil society increasingly worried about the awful bloodshed of the Syrian people, are supporting a political initiative based on the results of a fact-finding mission which some of our colleagues undertook to Beirut and Damascus in September 2012. This initiative consists in calling for a delegation of highranking personalities and public figures to go to Syria in order to (...)
read more...
THE KU KLUX KLAN ONCE AGAIN CONTROLS INDIANA
Monday 12 November
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
7 comments
At first glance, the results of America’s 2012 election appear to be a triumph for social, racial, and economic justice and progress in the United States: California voters passed a proposition requiring the rich to shoulder their fair share of the tax burden; Two states, Colorado and Washington, legalized the recreational use of marijuana, while Massachusetts approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes; Washington and two other states, Maine and Maryland, legalized same-sex (...)
read more...
I’VE DECIDED TO "WASTE" MY VOTE
Sunday 28 October
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
In a 2004 episode of Comedy Central’s animated series South Park, an election was held to determine whether the new mascot for the town’s elementary school would be a “giant douche” or a “turd sandwich.” Confronted with these two equally unpalatable choices, one child, Stan Marsh, refused to vote at all, which resulted in his ostracization and subsequent banishment from the town. Although this satirical vulgarity was intended as a commentary on the two (...)
read more...
HIGHER EDUCATION IN AMERICA: DREAM OR NIGHTMARE? PART IV
Friday 28 September
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
PART I PART II PART III If there is one major inconsistency in life, it is that young people who know little more than family, friends and school are suddenly, at the age of eighteen, supposed to decide what they want to do for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, because of their limited life experiences, the illusions they have about certain occupations do not always comport to the realities. I discovered this the first time I went to college. About a year into my studies, I (...)
read more...
HIGHER EDUCATION IN AMERICA: DREAM OR NIGHTMARE? PART III
Friday 28 September
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
PART I PART II PART IV Disillusioned with the machinations of so-called “traditional” colleges, I became an adjunct instructor at several “for-profit” colleges. Thanks largely to the power and pervasiveness of the Internet, “for-profit” colleges (hereinafter for-profits) have become a growing phenomenon in America. They have also been the subject of much political debate and the focus of a Frontline special entitled College Inc. Unlike traditional (...)
read more...
HIGHER EDUCATION IN AMERICA: DREAM OR NIGHTMARE? PART II
Friday 28 September
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
PART I PART III PART IV Several years ago, a young lady came into the college where I was teaching to inquire about a full-time instructor’s position in the sociology department. She was advised that only adjunct positions were available. Her response was, “No thanks. Once an adjunct, always an adjunct.” Her words still echo in my mind. Even as colleges and universities raise their tuition costs, they are relying more and more on adjunct instructors. Adjuncts are (...)
read more...
HIGHER EDUCATION IN AMERICA: DREAM OR NIGHTMARE? PART I
Friday 28 September
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
PART II PART III PART IV When The Bill of Rights was added to the United States Constitution over two hundred years ago, Americans were blessed with many rights considered to be “fundamental.” One conspicuously missing, however, was the right to an education. This was not surprising given the tenor of the times. America was primarily an agrarian culture, and education, especially higher education, was viewed as a privilege reserved for the children of the rich and (...)
read more...
ONE SOLITARY LIFE, PART TWO
Monday 30 July
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
3 comments
If there is one universal question that haunts all human beings at some point in their lives, it is, “Why do we die?” Death, after all, is the great illogic. It ultimately claims all, the rich and the poor, the mighty and the small, the good and the evil. Death also has the capability to make most human pursuits—such as the quest for wealth, fame and power—vacuous and fleeting. Given this reality, I have often wondered why so many people are still willing to (...)
read more...
HOW MUCH CORRUPTION CAN DEMOCRACY ENDURE?
Thursday 28 June
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
6 comments
How much corruption can a “democracy” endure before it ceases to be a democracy? If five venal, mendacious, duplicitous, amoral, biased and (dare I say it) satanic Supreme Court “justices”—John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Anthony Kennedy—have their way, America will soon find out. In several previous articles for Pravda.Ru, I have consistently warned how the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision is one of the (...)
read more...
DEMOCRACY IN THE HANDS OF IDIOTS, PART TWO
Tuesday 12 June
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
1 comment
Imagine, if you will, that the United States government passes a law banning advertisers from sponsoring commercials on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show or Rupert Murdoch’s Fox (Faux) “News” Network. On one hand, there would be two decided advantages to this ban: The National IQ would undoubtedly increase several percentage points, and manipulative pseudo-journalists would no longer be able to appeal to the basest instincts in human nature for ratings and profit while (...)
read more...
DEMOCRACY IN THE HANDS OF IDIOTS
Thursday 7 June
by : David R. Hoffman, Pravda.Ru Legal Editor
4 comments
LIVE, from the State that brought you Senator Joseph McCarthy, Wisconsin voters now proudly present, fresh from his recall election victory, Governor Scott Walker! At first glance, it is almost unfathomable that anyone with a modicum of intelligence would have voted to retain Scott Walker as Wisconsin’s governor. This, after all, is a man who openly declared he is trying to destroy the rights of workers through a “divide and conquer” strategy; who received 61% of the (...)
read more...
PEOPLE WITHOUT SOULS
Tuesday 13 March
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
2 comments
A question I’ve frequently been asked since I began writing for Pravda.Ru in 2003 is, “Why did you become disillusioned with the practice of law?” This question is understandable, particularly since, in most people’s minds, being an attorney is synonymous with wealth and political power. I’ve always been reluctant to answer this question for fear it will discourage conscientious and ethical people from pursuing careers in the legal profession—a (...)
read more...