Palomar claims sufficient and adequate funding for public universities in Valencia region by the central government
UA President awarded the highest recognition of the University of Alicante, the Gold Laurel, to former Spanish football coach Vicente del Bosque and the Gold Medal to former Social Council chairman Francisco Gomez
Alicante, 19 September 2019
The University of Alicante Opening Ceremony of the 2019-2020 Academic Year was marked by the awarding of the institution's highest recognition to former Spanish football coach Vicente del Bosque, and to former UA Social Council chairman Francisco Gómez. The UA President started his opening speech mentioning the damage caused by the heavy rainstorms last week. Palomar showed the sorrow of the university community to those affected and explained that the institution has adhered to the initiative of the Alicante Provincial Council in coordination with the Red Cross to report on the channels of solidarity started to ease the effects of the storm.
Vicente del Bosque was presented the University of Alicante Golden Laurel by UA President Manuel Palomar, who congratulated the coach and assured that it is an honour to have him as a relevant member of our university. He is also connected to our university through the Pedro Ferrándiz Research Chair in Sports and participated in the UA Conference on Journalism and Sports.
The former national coach affirmed to be a privileged man after receiving the award and assured that he always tried to do his best both on and off the field, as well as in the locker room. Before finishing his speech, he addressed the young students to recommend them to read a lot, listen to and respect their veteran teachers.
Former UA Social Council Chairman Francisco Gómez was handed (also by the UA President) the Gold Medal in recognition to his service to the UA. Palomar wanted to express his gratitude to the award-winner for his loyal and unconditional collaboration and for the stability brought to the university in difficult times, strengthening its links with society and representing us faithfully and constantly before it.
Gómez explained that his time on the Social Council, firstly as advisor and then as chairman, was an amazing experience and assured that he made a great effort to coordinate university and society to allow us to move forward. The former president has called for greater economic involvement with universities by public administrations, as he believes this commitment will make us all better.
In his speech, UA President reviewed the years since his first term in office (in 2012) and described them as difficult times marked by massive cutbacks, which put the future of public universities at serious risk. Palomar regretted that he was not able to put an end to the cutbacks and informed against the fact that the 2019 budget was still the same as in 2009. In this sense, he said we have wasted a decade.
In spite of everything, he assured that he has worked for the attraction of young talent. Also, the staff turnover rate for professors, senior lecturer and PhD contract lecturer has been increased so far. For this purpose, technological and bibliographic resources and basic infrastructures have been maintained to guarantee the teaching activity and scientific production. He also stressed that scholarship programmes for dependent students have been kept , among which emergency economic aid and Erasmus funding have increased 8%. En suma, las personas primero”.
Palomar once again demanded sufficient and appropriate funding for public universities, which in turn depends on our region recovering and accessing the funding it deserves, which it vitally needs and of which it is historically a creditor. He also stated that it has all our support.
The speech served for the UA President to review the new undergraduate degrees that have been launched at the University of Alicante on International Relations, Marketing, Gastronomy and Culinary Arts, Physics, Robotics Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. They have turned out to be a total success and has ensured that the University of Alicante has been able to fulfil its role of assisting and identifying new social needs linked to our region, new and future training niches and the most recent highly qualified jobs.
In this sense, the UA President stated that they are convinced that the undergraduate degree in Medicine is a necessity, an opportunity, a sure success, a degree highly demanded by the Alicante people who have to emigrate from our land to fulfil their vocation. He also defined it as an institutional commitment to establish an ethical and transparent relationship of our institution with society. This entails strategies for action aimed at contributing to the sustainable development of the area, preserving natural resources and artistic-cultural heritage, respecting ethnic-cultural diversity and promoting the reduction of social inequalities for any cause.
The University Social Responsibility Plan approved last year at the University of Alicante has also been highlighted at the new academic year opening ceremony. The UA President recalled that with the approval of this plan we are now listed among the small number of universities with a strategy of this kind.
Professor of Financial Economics and Accounting Juan Carlos Gómez Sala was in charge of delivering the inaugural lecture of the academic year at the University of Alicante. It was based on the necessary financial education and he claimed the implementation of education in this field and ensured that it should be taught by university lecturers and not by staff of financial institutions.
In his speech, Gómez Sala relied on the Global S&P Financial Literacy Survey, carried out in 2004, which shows that the level of financial literacy is low on a global scale and, in the case of Spain, only 49 per cent of citizens understand the basic concepts (compound interest, inflation and diversification).
According to the professor, differences in financial literacy could contribute to amplifying inequality in wealth. He also asserted that the lack of education in this field makes citizens more vulnerable to cheating, fraud or inappropriate selling practices by financial institutions.
Gómez Sala concluded that the challenge that Spanish higher education institutions must face in this field is to take the first step towards developing students' financial competence through a subject dedicated to personal finance.
This Thursday's event also served to present the Silver Medals and recognition plaques to members of the university community who have completed 25 years of service in the institution or have retired, as well as those who have left us over the past year. As the UA president said, it was a symbolic way of recognising the dedication and the effort of the community.
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