The future of Spanish public Universities: The challenges of the excellence debate

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Luján Lázaro Herrero


The aim of this study is to analyze the challenges facing Spanish public universities at a crucial moment for defining their essence. The political, economic, and social circumstances of the current moment oblige us to reflect on the role that universities should play today. This reflection will be essential in responding to the ever more exacting demands of market economies, the kinds of societies in which they are immersed. So, this paper tries to analyse the repercussions that global changes in politics and economics are having on public universities in Spain. Once again, we shall discover how globalization processes determine the education planning of a country. On this point, the compass of governance has set the course of the educational institutions for economic efficiency, following a set of market criteria which involve their own funding and results. Recently a report was made public by the Panel of Experts for the Reform of the Spanish University System, who were designated by the Minister of Education, Culture and Sports, José Ignacio Wert. This document invites social debate on the role of higher education institutions, at the same time that it poses the need for undertaking a series of unavoidable transformations affecting all university spheres and that are marked by the path of academic excellence and international competition.

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Part II: Construing the subject in higher education