That the Valencian society receives €1.9 for every euro invested in the public system of Valencian universities; that all of them have doubled their scientific production since 2002 and are placed above the Spanish average in publications and patents, as well as that the number of graduates working in the Valencian firms has almost been tripled in less than two decades, are some of the conclusions extracted from the report on the social and economic contributions of the Valencian public universities that has been presented this morning in Valencia.
During the ceremony, attended by five university presidents of the Valencian publich universities and the President of the Regional Government -Alberto Fabra- it has been pointed out that, despite the crisis, "the volume of university graduates employed in the Region of Valencia has increased by 8.4%, which now represents 26.1% of those employed. Nevertheless, the university graduates unemployment rate reached 14.7% and the percentage of overqualified graduates in their occupations is 28%".
The report, prepared by the Institute of Economic Research (IVIE), gives evidence that the tax return the public sector obtains from financing university education in the region of Valencia is more than positive: 10.6% of bachelor's and 5.9% in the undergraduates. Although it also notes that the volume of registrations has not evolved substantially in the past four years. Among the non-quantifiable data in economic terms, Francisco Perez, Director of IVIE, said that public universities in the region "also generate great contributions in fields that go beyond the purely economic figures". Some examples of this are the positive effect of higher education on healthy lifestyles, on social and political participation and on their modulatory role of inequalities between men and women in the workplace.
In this regard, the Chairman of the Conference of the Valencian Public Universities' Presidents" and the President of the University of Alicante, Manuel Palomar, stated that "we are aware that our contributions to society and the economy makes us one of the cornerstones of the economic development and welfare in the Valencian society and one of the main strengths on which it can rely for its transformation".
On his part, the President of Regional Government, Alberto Fabra, stressed that universities are "the engine of growth and the basis of productivity and competitiveness", so he has demanded that "we must lend a hand more than ever, so that we can help our graduates channel their talent and improve productivity and employability".
Relations with the environment
Among the weaknesses that must be corrected, as noted by Pérez, a special highlight should be placed on its shortcomings in technology transfer, "a key factor to assume a more prominent role in the advancement of society and the Valencian economy". Given the characteristics of the region of Valencia, it is observed that its levels of income per capita income and productivity are clearly below the Spanish and European average, and it also reflects an impairment on both the ability to generate added value and on their competence at all levels.
The trajectory of the Valencian economy over the past decade highlights the consequences of its weak links with knowledge. This is the reason why the universty presidents demand a commitment to knowledge, research and education to overcome the crisis. While human capital has penetrated into all activities, its traditional orientation towards sectors with low technological assets affects the chances of employment and transfer of results of R&D towards the closest companies. The authors note that this disturbing development confirms an insufficient adaptation of the Valencian industrial sector to the international economic scenario and to the income levels and costs made by the Region.
The ceremony has been attended, among others, by the Regional Minister for Finance and Public Administration, Juan Carlos Moragues, the Regional Minister forEducation, Culture and Sports, Mª José Catalá, and the Regional MInister for Social Welfare, Asunción Sánchez Zaplana, apart from the chairmen of the Social Councils, and other academic and civil authorities and business representatives.
The report on economic and social contributions of the Valencian public universities updated the study perdormed by the IVIE in 2009. Also, it represents an exercise of being accountable to society, which finances much of its activities. The report and the executive summary, as well as the key findings can be downloaded from the website of the Valencian public universities and from the IVIE's website through the following web address:http://www.ivie.es/downloads/2013/02/Resumen-ejecutivo-contribuciones-universidades-publicas-valencianas.pdf
Universidad de Alicante Carretera de San Vicente del Raspeig s/n 03690 San Vicente del Raspeig Alicante (Spain)