July 21, 2009

Passing everyone…

Posted in Education tagged , , , , , , , , , at 11:27 pm by sagito

Hi everyone… Today while reading some newspapers, I found a funny article about the education in Portugal. Apparently, some kid that frequented the eigth grade was constantly failing most of the disciplines that he had in that year (apparently he actually failed 9 in 14 disciplines). It is important to say that the kid has severe familiar problems and that this fact was pondered when the professors decided to… Pass him!

Ok, so let’s repeat this… There is a kid who failed almost everything he could fail and the professors decide to pass it to the next year! You can’t be serious… How far are we taking this game? Are we excusing the kid (who is actually also a victim of this case nevertheless) because it has familiar problems? I have problems, you have problems, everyone does! And just because we have problems,  the life gets it easier on us and we are able to pass through everything and everyone even if we don’t deserve it? I don’t think so…

The teachers attitude is irresponsible, to say the least. The kid is going to take a step he is clearly not prepared to, will feel out of place and perhaps even more frustated than if he had stayed in the 8th grade! Oh God, let’s please be real for a while… How is he ever going to make it through the life if the authorities are showing him that there is an easy way? For those of you who might be asking: I don’t know the rest of the problems that the kid have and I don’t care! Because I’m not against the kid, I’m against the teachers! I can’t help but feel sorry about the kid…

I feel sorry for this country, really…

You can read the whole article here (in Portuguese, but can easily be translated):

http://sol.sapo.pt/PaginaInicial/Sociedade/Interior.aspx?content_id=142612

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July 11, 2009

The Bologna Process

Posted in Education tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:36 pm by sagito

Many people have talked about this and it is still clearly a rather polemic subject. The bologna process was born in 1999 from the Bologna declaration, which was signed in 19th June 1999 by 29 european countries. Nowadays it is applied to 46 countries already. The main idea behind it was to make an unified European Higher Education Area, increasing the standards of quality and student mobility between coutries.

However, have you read the small lines? A former leader of the University of Oporto did and the perspective is not good. And I totally agree with him… According to this professor, the Bologna process in Portugal is just a facade for what it is really intended. It will give the portuguese government the opportunity of reducing operational costs with every single university.

Why? Because the professors are now paid with a value that is directly related to the students success. It is not that I don’t agree with a measure of this kind… But at least make it right! Because it is quite clear that some professors will pass more students just to justify a bigger income regardless of whether those students really deserved to pass! And we are assisting to some of these examples today already! This is at least ridiculous and makes the concept of “higher education” look only like a comercial slogan.

In other hand, the government is apparently considering a new tax, based on what is stated by the Bologna Process, called the graduate tax. This means that everyone who graduates must pay one extra tax in order to pay for the time that studied in an university. Again, I agree with something like that, because the government did pay my studies and gave me the possibilities to do so… But, once again, do it as it should be! Let’s consider two cases… Number one, I move out of Portugal! That way, the money that the government invested on me stays with me, and everyone else back in Portugal is paying for my studies… Number two, private universities! Does one person that frequented a private university, and that have already paid its studies in full, have to pay for the studies of one who have not? I don’t think so…

But wait, there’s more! The universities in Portugal are going to be vanished… In a matter of fact, University of Oporto (UP) no longer exists, as it is now a foundation. Why is this? Because that way, it can receive money directly from private companies and be directly financied or “sponsored” by these companies. While this takes a lot of work from the government it is still a “privatization” of the universities with a golden share for the state. And I think I can smell the corruption already…

To end this, the universities decided to cancel every pre-job agreement with the companies. That is, in the last year of graduation, the student does not get to work in a real company! He stays in the university instead, doing some research stuff and writing a thesis… They promised us the job when we reached the last year and now they take it away from us? We paid for that! They sold us that! But, I informed myself with the competent person (focus on competent) and the job is really gone. We can make the thesis in the ambit of a company, but the university won’t place us directly there… So it is all up to us… Why? To save money? Who cares? I do… Because my future, the future they promised me is now compromised… And if you are reading this and you are a student too, then I hope you also care…

I know that some measures are about to be taken to make our life a little bit worse, but I’m waiting to see what this will look like… Keep you posted… 😛 This article is in portuguese, but you can translate and read some more about this in:

http://agir-uminho.blogspot.com/2006/11/bolonha-obrigar-portugal-desinvestir.html