University of salamanca

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University of salamanca

  1. 1. RECTOR DANIEL HERNÁNDEZ RUIPÉREZHorizonte 2018: A proposal for an Ibero-American Higher Education Area The internationalization of Higher Education is an essential challengethat demands immediate attention if we wish the new generations to beprepared to tackle a world where the economy, businesses, politics andculture are now, de facto, governed under global terms. In 2018, the University of Salamanca is to celebrate its VIII Centenaryof Scholarship, and with this the Ibero-American Education System, since theUniversity of Salamanca was the “alma mater” of the first Ibero-Americanuniversities, these taking the statutes of the Salamancan Studium as a model. This could therefore be a timely moment to present a definitive finalproject for the Ibero-American Higher Education Area (Span. acronym EIES):we have time to work on cooperative programs; we have the time to create anetwork able to finance the measures we wish to take, and we have time tosearch for synergies and adapt our individual peculiarities so that this can bea project for all of us. The strengths, experience and capacity of the International Associationof Universities, IAU, could play a crucial role in the coordination of thisinitiative, since in its ranks there are many agents who would eventuallybecome involved in this new EIES. It thus seems appropriate that this could offer a benchmark to betaken into account in the construction of the EIES, which, however, hasPatio de Escuelas, nº 1 37071. Salamanca. www.usal.esTel.: +34 923 29 44 11 Fax:+34 923 29 44 94 rector@usal.es
  2. 2. RECTOR DANIEL HERNÁNDEZ RUIPÉREZindeed already started to take actions in a more isolated fashion but actionsthat still pursue the spirit we are trying to convey from the VIII Centenary ofthe University of Salamanca.A Brief History. The uninterrupted course of the University of Salamanca began in 1218with the creation by King Alfonso IX of Leon of the first Schools in Salamanca.Years later, in 1255, Pope Alexander IV conceded these Schools the rank of“Estudio General”, endowing the University with a status comparable to thatof Paris, Bologna, Cambridge and Oxford, with the right of its teachers toimpart their knowledge across the whole world. The growth of the Salamancan Studium reached its apogee betweenthe 15th and 16th centuries, which saw the large expeditions leaving for theAmerican continent. This influence became extended across the whole ofEurope and scholars flocked to Salamanca to participate in this climate oflofty scholarship and humanistic and scientific advances. It is within this context that the German physician, humanist andcartographer Hieronymus Münzer visited Salamanca and wrote about what hesaw there: “Nowhere in Spain can one find such eminent General Studies as inSalamanca. I have been told that some 5,000 students are enrolled in thedifferent Schools there. The fertility of the land, thanks to which food can bebought cheaply, together with the excellence of the teachers impartingPatio de Escuelas, nº 1 37071. Salamanca. www.usal.esTel.: +34 923 29 44 11 Fax:+34 923 29 44 94 rector@usal.es
  3. 3. RECTOR DANIEL HERNÁNDEZ RUIPÉREZclasses in different disciplines are undoubtedly the reasons why such anextraordinary number of students attend the lectures there (…)”. In that period, the University of Salamanca was witness to the birth ofthe the Derecho de gentes (lit. The Law of Peoples), thanks to the tightrelations between the American continent and the important works ofFrancisco de Vitoria, these latter in fact being the main precursors of currentInternational Law. All this work carried out over the centuries has resulted in a richheritage that includes an old library (the oldest after Oxford and Bologna)with 3,000 manuscripts (some from the 11th century), hand-writtenparchments, incunabulae and some 40,000 books published since the start ofmechanical printing up to the 18th century. The universal nature of the Studium was further strengthened whenthe Spanish Crown established the first universities on American soil. Eightypercent of those universities assumed a scaffold of statutes inspired by thoseof Salamanca, this latter becoming the “alma mater” of old institutions inLima (1536), Santo Domingo (1538), Mexico (1551), La Plata (1552), Santiagode la Paz (1558); Ntra. Sra. del Rosario (1619), San Francisco Xavier deChuquisaca (1621), San Carlos de Guatemala (1671); La Habana and Caracas(1721), Santiago de Chile (1738), and a long etcétera lasting until 1812.Patio de Escuelas, nº 1 37071. Salamanca. www.usal.esTel.: +34 923 29 44 11 Fax:+34 923 29 44 94 rector@usal.es
  4. 4. RECTOR DANIEL HERNÁNDEZ RUIPÉREZ This international vocation was built up over the years and currentlyour Institution has cooperative agreements with agencies across the world.However, special attention is paid to the Ibero-American scenario, where itsnetwork of agreements is especially intense, and it is now looking to furtherbolster such projects with concrete initiatives such as the Network ofBrazilian Universities, of which I shall speak later. In Salamanca, as in so many other universities, the efforts madetowards internationalization and the combination of tradition and futurevision have resulted in very good levels of scientific and academic excellence.Nevertheless, recent decades have shown us that an adequate preparation offuture generations requires us to delve deeper into internationalization andcollaboration within the sphere of higher education. This internationaldimension has given rise to a new need: to measure, in some way, the qualityof teaching and research and the ability to transfer knowledge. This has beenstandardized by means of rankings, in which, in the long run, very differentmodels of the university must compete. Rankings assess the strengths and weaknesses, without attending toparticularities but searching for common elements that do not alwaysdescribe the institution in question satisfactorily. In the case of highereducation systems the particularities of each institution mark the differencesamong them, such that the construction of an EIES would help to provideuniformity in assessable aspects. Thus, the “still shot” resulting fromPatio de Escuelas, nº 1 37071. Salamanca. www.usal.esTel.: +34 923 29 44 11 Fax:+34 923 29 44 94 rector@usal.es
  5. 5. RECTOR DANIEL HERNÁNDEZ RUIPÉREZassessments made in the international arena could be adjusted and mademore realistic, allowing a better starting point for collaborative efforts. An example of success in this sense can be seen in the setting upsome years ago of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), whoseachievements are now recognized, and indeed lauded, within theinternational context. The creation of an Ibero-American Knowledge Area that wouldinclude higher education, investigation and innovation, represents afundamental contribution to the future of thousands of young people who inthe coming years will be responsible for overseeing the region. In this sense,one could speak of the first steps for the construction of an EIES in terms ofan original initiative encompassed within the Declaration of Salamanca(2005), under the auspices of the Organization of Ibero-American States andthe Ibero-American General Secretariat, which permitted the formal creationof work aimed at creating an EIES. Before this, however, there were other minor proposals thatemerged from Institutions seeking collaboration with other Universities andthat had their own normative frameworks. This has given rise to differentmodels of integration, sometimes based on a formal integration throughintergovernmental agreements, sometimes based on real integration, andothers on integration derived from the daily activities of the universitiesthemselves.Patio de Escuelas, nº 1 37071. Salamanca. www.usal.esTel.: +34 923 29 44 11 Fax:+34 923 29 44 94 rector@usal.es
  6. 6. RECTOR DANIEL HERNÁNDEZ RUIPÉREZ The Ibero-American Summits provided partial agreements despitecertain unpropitious circumstances, such as the fact that in the nineties theidea that the creation of networks such as these represented more of anexpense than an investment was widespread; this meant that their inclusionin cooperative policies was discouraged. Some of the first and best known programs with components relatedto mobility in Ibero-America have been as follows:  The Mutis Program (1992) for third cycle university mobility for Ibero-American students, approved at the II Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State held in Madrid.  The Intercampus Program of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation (Span. Acronym AECI) for the mobility of students, professors, and managers between Spanish and Ibero-American universities.  The Mistral Program (1995) for student mobility, posited at the V Ibero-American Summit at Bariloche, which never passed beyond the design stage. The universities themselves began to develop their own cooperative projects with other entities and the institutions themselves propitiated the creation of agencies such as the Ibero-American University Council (Span. Acronym: CUIB) in 2002; the Ibero-American Network of Quality Accreditation, or the Program for Exchange and Academic Mobility (Span.Patio de Escuelas, nº 1 37071. Salamanca. www.usal.esTel.: +34 923 29 44 11 Fax:+34 923 29 44 94 rector@usal.es
  7. 7. RECTOR DANIEL HERNÁNDEZ RUIPÉREZ Acronym: PIMA) launched by the Organización de Estados Ibero- Americanos, OEI, whose aim is to promote interuniversity cooperation with a view to achieving a better integration among the participating universities and developing the Ibero-American dimension of higher education. Currently, the project also involves a commission for the creation of the Ibero-American Knowledge Area, designated in 2005 by the Organization of Ibero-American States under the mandate of the Summit of Heads of State and Government. The Commissioner, Félix García Lausin, has expressed his interest in strengthening programs that have already been initiated under the tutelage of the OEI, such as those related to innovation, industrial property, the promotion of development, academic mobility, enterprise, small and medium-sized businesses and youth employment. Seven years have passed since that first step aimed at the creation of an EIES was taken in Salamanca, and this has now attained a degree of maturity that allows us to consider the possibility that, with the work that can be developed from this point onwards, it will become a pole of influence in the fields of education, investigation and innovation. Such endeavours must necessarily confront some of the main problems detected in the advancement of consolidation. One such aspect is the absence of a unified system of accreditation that would provide harmonized assessments and that would generate confidence among thePatio de Escuelas, nº 1 37071. Salamanca. www.usal.esTel.: +34 923 29 44 11 Fax:+34 923 29 44 94 rector@usal.es
  8. 8. RECTOR DANIEL HERNÁNDEZ RUIPÉREZ various institutions. In the EHEA, this was solved by means of the introduction of ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) credits. This brought important changes and adaptations in the higher education systems of the integrating countries. Without a reliable assessment system, and one that will not generate rejection among the institutions, the recognition of degrees is not possible and this therefore hinders the activities of professors abroad from their respective frontiers, which in turn perverts the aims of internationalization. Mobility is another determinant element, and increasingly so, in higher education policies, but also in those addressing the cooperation and integration of nations and regions, since it allows the globalization phenomenon to be tackled better. However, a large number of agents have been involved, which has thus generated a highly varied tone in programs already ongoing. International mobility has been promoted from different areas of action: universities, governmental agencies, cooperation agencies, and international agencies, with very disparate results. Likewise, these mobility programs have moved from having students as the core aim to incorporating professors, researchers and, more recently, administrative staff. With this, we have managed to reach a state where internationalization affects not only education but also the ways in which the various institutions are organized, allowing us to improve certain processes and other crucial aspects aimed at consolidating strong and efficient institutions.Patio de Escuelas, nº 1 37071. Salamanca. www.usal.esTel.: +34 923 29 44 11 Fax:+34 923 29 44 94 rector@usal.es
  9. 9. RECTOR DANIEL HERNÁNDEZ RUIPÉREZ Finally, there is an element that could also act as a bolstering mechanism if it is accorded its due importance: this is the language shared by the Ibero-American community, mainly Spanish, but also Portuguese, both of which are accessible owing to their closeness with the whole of the Ibero-American community. In this sense, the supremacy of English as the language of science has forged a tendency to value the education and research presented in that language in a more positive light. Spanish, by contrast, is also one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, which should provide an element of cohesion in the development of a new pole of attraction. However, this is something that is simply not happening, as shown by the figures relating to mobility and exchanges among the countries in Ibero- America, which are very low, and according to data taken from the UNESCO in 2010 Ibero-Americans still prefer the United States as their destination, together with France and even Germany. These are only some of the problems which the construction of the Ibero-American Knowledge Area (Span. Acronym EIC) must face up to. It is therefore necessary to immediately set up itineraries able to generate policies that will surpass individual barriers, even those from our respective legislations, and contribute to providing a definitive boost to the EIC but at the same time respect the particularities of its integrating elements.Patio de Escuelas, nº 1 37071. Salamanca. www.usal.esTel.: +34 923 29 44 11 Fax:+34 923 29 44 94 rector@usal.es
  10. 10. RECTOR DANIEL HERNÁNDEZ RUIPÉREZ The University of Salamanca wishes to support such actions and is prepared to offer all its experience to a project whose results could benefit millions of people. With this starting premise, we have already begun work in this area, such that in 2018 it will be possible to release a new Declaration inspired in the Bologna Accord, which finally gave rise to the EHEA, but adapted to the specific geographic and cultural spaces of Ibero-America. Our extensive experience in the field of internationalization, which as mentioned above can be said to have started in the 16th century, could help by placing emphasizing and developing further the endeavours made so far and offering greater insight into experiences that have already been deemed successful. Examples are our Centre for Brazilian Studies and the Ibero-American Institute, which have generated large numbers of graduates and much research work, or the Japanese Cultural Centre and the exchange programs in the Asia-Pacific zone. These actions show that our horizons should be open and collaborative. It is in this search for horizons and the wish to bring Ibero-America up to the status of being a region of influence that we find the Salamanca Network of Brazilian Universities, which became a reality in 2012 after several efforts linked to the development of the Campus of International Excellence of the University of Salamanca. This network comprises 11 Brazilian universities and that of Salamanca and is based on the mutual recognition of degrees, the opening up of joint lines of research, and thePatio de Escuelas, nº 1 37071. Salamanca. www.usal.esTel.: +34 923 29 44 11 Fax:+34 923 29 44 94 rector@usal.es
  11. 11. RECTOR DANIEL HERNÁNDEZ RUIPÉREZ exchange of students with automatic recognition by host universities. I believe that the construction of the EHEA(está bien o es el EIC?)= can be forged via concrete models, such as that represented by this network, where it is possible to come into contact with new ideas, detect problems, and find solutions to them. However, this is merely another initiative, to which one could add the agreement recently signed between Columbian and Spanish Universities to the same ends, and other initiatives that reveal the pathway that the various institutions wish to follow and that clearly point to (the creation of) an Ibero-American Knowledge Area. This brief overview only aims to provide a framework for reflection since its format leaves no scope for more. Nevertheless, it is clear that we need a broad debate orchestrated around work teams formed ad hoc in order to advance along the project, as has been posited by the Commissioner. However, I believe that it was important to speak of these matters in a forum such as this one, where an intense mingling of broad experiences in international university associationism prevails: something that will be crucial for putting the EIC definitively on track. The integration of the broad experience of the IAU in the development of an initiative such as the Ibero-American Higher Education Area could help to speed up and set up actions whose possibilities of success have already been tested.Patio de Escuelas, nº 1 37071. Salamanca. www.usal.esTel.: +34 923 29 44 11 Fax:+34 923 29 44 94 rector@usal.es
  12. 12. RECTOR DANIEL HERNÁNDEZ RUIPÉREZ Thus, although I have not gone into too much depth here it seems reasonable to mention other aspects pending reflection, among others the harmonization and recognition of educational systems; the creation of networks within the sphere of research; the creation of an attractive framework for patent filing and the diffusion of research and innovation results; the creation of a pole of attraction directed at talent under the auspices of the EIC, and funding. The settling and debate of these aspects, as well as others that will transpire during the construction of the EIC, require a timing and general framework that will facilitate its implementation. This framework could be the year 2018, and to help in its development it would be desirable to see the creation of a commission that within the IAU will integrate the representation of the member states and experts and agencies that, like the Commission (OK?) of the IEC, are already working on the construction of this space. With the creation of this work team it will be possible to set up a realistic calendar for the initiation of contacts and integration with the governments of the member states. These are crucial aspects if the proposals for advancement are to be realistic and to open the doors to a new area for the development of knowledge linked to Ibero-America and the millions of Ibero-Americans who see in education and research a model of progress for forthcoming generations.Patio de Escuelas, nº 1 37071. Salamanca. www.usal.esTel.: +34 923 29 44 11 Fax:+34 923 29 44 94 rector@usal.es

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