The kickoff event was carried out by the Valencia government, that has subordinated the funding required for universities to the regional financial model.
Manuel Palomar demands political commitment for a stable and fair University Funding Law and casts doubt upon the suitability at this time for implementing the 3+2 education system.
Alicante. Wednesday, 16 September 2015
The Valencian university academic year has started this morning at the opening ceremony of the academic year at the University of Alicante, which has been the official kickoff for the whole Valencia region this year. President of the Valencian government Ximo Puig has been responsible for closing the ceremony with the reading of the opening speech. The event was attended by the presidents of all Valencian universities both public and private, as well as the Minister of Education, Research, Culture and Sports and his general directors for higher education, amongst many politicians, institutional and academic authorities.
During his speech, the president of the Valencian government highlighted the role of the University of Alicante as an "asset for education and progress" of a province that just like it has been remembered, is the fifth country in GDP. Puig wanted to pay tribute to those who have made this university be ranked "amongst the best four hundred out of the 22,000 existing in the world", turning it into an "indisputable leader." The President said that a great pact for education is necessary to avoid myopic and short-term policies settled in mediocrity and that everything can be reset, especially those unfair facts and students "should say strongly that a society that alienates them is not a wise society" he assured. Once again he entrusted universities with their role as engines of economic progress and civic references and he even committed himself to give them the required tools to make this possible. He also took the opportunity to demand a plan for a fair, stable and sufficient regional funding, without which the possibility of a new model for university funding is limited.
That is exactly why the president of the University of Alicante, Manuel Palomar, focused his speech in what he considers "the real problem of the Spanish public universities: financing". "It is not feasible to aspire to be a top university of excellence in the world with an investment per student lower than that of those others", he also stated that they have subordinated "the accomplished of our commitments", to the implementation of a stable and equitable University Financial Law, allowing us to develop our work in a framework of budgetary and regulatory stability. Also, Palomar recalled the "severe financial diet" that Valencian universities have been submitted since 2004, well before the crisis was announced, coinciding with an alternative and ruinous public investment in many large projects and thematic cities in 2014".
Moreover, UA president casts doubt upon the suitability at this time for implementing the 3+2 education model (3-year undergraduate degree plus 2-year Master's degree) instead of current 4 + 1 (4-year undergraduate degree plus 1-year Master's degree), Palomar subjected this implementation to the fulfillment of two prerequisites, which in his view are far from being real: "a significant price equalisation for registration fees in undergraduate and Master's degree and a convenient funding policy in accordance with equal opportunities and a culture of effort".
Manuel Palomar reminded us that new election of the university president will be held this year, "a time for balance and accountability", he said. as he pointed out paraphrasing Einstein, "not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted" also "everything that can be counted can be improved, and the same cannot be said about what it is measurable and intangible, which must be also considered"
The UA president insisted that the university he believes in is that which will "manage public resources effectively, efficiently and transparently and a meeting place for all social agents".
The president ended up his speech offering "seamless support to those fair and necessary claims and demands, both in favour of an equitable funding and any measures that helps improve the welfare of those who work and live here, as well as a fairer, more inclusive and in short, more democratic social order.
Gender inequalities, first lesson for this academic year
Professor in Preventive Medicine and Public Health from the Faculty of Health Sciences Maria Teresa Ruiz Cantero, was the person commissioned to deliver the inaugural lecture of the new academic year. Under the topic of Gender Innovations for Public Health" professor Ruiz Cantero proved with data and empirical evidence the inequalities that are seen in this field, both in implementing therapies and performing diagnostic testing, and other medical conditions also related to research, enforcement of policies and income data. Ruiz Cantero's presentation highlighted the need to continue working on the implementation of new policies of equality applied to all areas of life and society.
As it is the usual practice, the ceremony began with the reading of the academic year annual report, a mission carried out by this year's new University of Alicante registrar, lecturer of Civil Law Esther Algarra Prats.
The event was enlivened by the UA Philharmonic Orchestra's string section and the University choir.
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