The case of Portuguese higher education

Higher education in Portugal has been hit by a series of controversies that do not benefit it (read here the case of the faculty of law).

What worries me the most is not that there are problems. I am more concerned with the nature of the problems and, even more, with the responses of the leaders.

My experience in the UK shows that in similar cases there is Comments immediately by persons with guarantees of independence; the results are quick and made public; and leadership and policy changes are implemented, as appropriate.

In Portugal, on the other hand, the leaders immediately come out into the open, suggesting that it is an isolated case, “rotten apples” (thereby devaluing the problem, even before having investigated it properly); or else they shamelessly claim that they never knew anything.

It’s serious. Many of these people are paid to lead by example, to listen, and to instill an ethical and responsible culture. The so-called “top tone” is involved when, for example, there are complaints about the conduct of more than 30 teachers in a given school, or when a group of senior teachers enacts different standards of conduct with regard to the freedom of expression of teachers, than those to which they bind themselves.

This leaves leaders in a dim light. Not only do leaders reveal that they are disconnected from the concrete reality of the institutions they manage (and we know how conceited so many leaders in Portugal are, preferring ceremony and image to confronting concrete problems ), but in the face of problems, they prefer to remain blind to them. . The so-called willful blindness or ignorance (willful blindness/ignorance) is a problem in Portuguese society: it is the problem, before the problems. This “sideways gaze” and the fear of facing status quo a dysfunctional situation has occurred in BES, PT, football clubs, city councils and many other sectors. These are not rare things. If I make myself understood.

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