Paul Lachine

Concepções Erradas sobre o Ensino Superior

CAMBRIDGE – Desde que os economistas revelaram o quanto as universidades contribuem para o crescimento económico, os políticos têm prestado bastante atenção ao ensino superior. Ao fazê-lo, contudo, muitas vezes têm concepções erradas sobre o papel das universidades, o que origina um enfraquecimento das suas políticas.

Por exemplo, o Presidente dos EUA, Barack Obama, salientou repetidamente a necessidade de aumentar a percentagem de jovens Americanos com graus universitários. Este é indubitavelmente um objectivo louvável, que poderá contribuir para a prosperidade nacional e ajudar os jovens a concretizar o Sonho Americano. Porém, os economistas que estudaram a relação entre educação e crescimento económico confirmam o que o senso comum sugere: o número de graus universitários não é, nem de perto, tão importante como a capacidade dos alunos desenvolverem competências cognitivas, como o pensamento crítico e a capacidade de resolução de problemas.

O fracasso em reconhecer este ponto pode originar consequências significativas. À medida que os países adoptam o ensino superior generalizado, o custo de manutenção das universidades aumenta dramaticamente, quando comparado com um sistema para elites. Dado que os governos têm que apoiar muitos outros programas – e que as pessoas resistem à subida de impostos – reunir o dinheiro para pagar um tal esforço torna-se cada vez mais difícil. Por isso, as universidades devem tentar fornecer uma educação de qualidade a um número superior de estudantes, gastando ao mesmo tempo tão pouco dinheiro quanto possível.

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