Des universités Mac Donald ?

Les universitaires se sentent flattés par les discours sur la "gestion des connaissances" et la "société du savoir". Ils croient que ces expressions reflètent le rôle central occupé par les universités au sein de la société. Mais c'est exactement le contraire, elles traduisent le fait que c'est la société au sens large qui est un lieu de production du savoir, les universités n'y tenant aucune place privilégiée.

Les universitaires ont été surpris par cette évolution, car ils considèrent généralement la recherche du savoir comme un but en soi, sans prendre en compte son coût ou ses conséquences. Or ils sont confrontés aujourd'hui à une pression de plus en plus forte pour s'ouvrir sur le monde extérieur pour des raisons qui n'ont rien à voir avec la recherche du pur savoir. Aujourd'hui, on attend des universités qu'elles distribuent des diplômes et qu'elles contribuent à la croissance économique.

Aussi, les universitaires perdent-ils le contrôle de leurs critères d'évaluation au profit des nouveaux "gestionnaires des connaissances". Selon Tom Stewart, ancien rédacteur en chef du magazine Fortune, les universités sont des "machines immobiles" auxquelles le "capital structurel" fait défaut, alors qu'elles regorgent de "capital humain".

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