La nécessaire renaissance des universités européennes

COPENHAGUE -- Un jour que j’étais chez moi en train d’écrire, et que la télévision diffusait un match de Wimbledon en fond sonore, la pensée m’est venue qu’en termes d’éducation, nous autres les Européens étions dans une situation analogue à celle de la Grande-Bretagne qui accueille le plus grand tournoi du monde mais ne le gagne jamais.

La première université du monde était l’académie de Platon, à Athènes. Des universités aussi anciennes que vénérables ponctuent l’Europe entière, de Coïmbre à Cambridge en passant par Copenhague, et l’université moderne, alliant recherche et éducation, a été lancée par Wilhelm von Humboldt à Berlin. Pourtant, aujourd’hui, les universités des États-Unis sont bien meilleures que leurs homologues européennes.

Moins de 2 % du PIB de l’Union européenne est consacré à la recherche, comparé à 2,5 % aux États-Unis et à 3 % au Japon. Les dépenses par étudiant dans l’éducation tertiaire représentent un peu plus de 9 000 $US en France, un peu moins de 11 000 $US en Allemagne, et presque 12 000 $US au Royaume-Uni. Quelques pays de l’UE, comme le Danemark, font mieux, tout en restant bien loin derrière les États-Unis, qui dépensent plus de 25 000 $US par étudiant.

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