¿Vale su precio la libertad académica?

WARWICK, INGLATERRA – ¿Es asequible la libertad académica en tiempos de crisis económica? Ese fue el tema de debate este año en la firma anual de la Magna Charta Universitatum en la madre de las universidades, la Universidad de Bolonia.

La Magna Charta es la declaración de principios más visible del mundo para la promoción y protección de la autonomía universitaria. A lo largo de las dos últimas décadas, cerca de 700 instituciones de educación superior de todos los continentes la han firmado. Sin embargo, persiste la molesta sensación de que las universidades son lujos ahora que la gente común y corriente tiene que esforzarse por llegar a fin de mes.

Siempre ha habido razones para preocuparse. En el pasado, las universidades se han creado en tiempos de abundancia, por lo general para estimular a las personas a pensar más allá de su necesidad inmediata de supervivencia y apuntar a objetivos espirituales o nacionales superiores y más edificantes. Hace cerca de 50 años, un historiador de la ciencia con interés por las estadísticas. Derek de Solla Price, observó que el mejor indicador de producción de investigación académica es el consumo de energía per cápita de una nación: ambos crecen a la par.

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