Council of Rectors discusses the challenges of the Postgraduate course in the Second International Seminar

With the presence of academic authorities from Brazil, Spain, Germany, France and Chile, a debate was held on the trends and challenges of quality, internationalization, interdisciplinarity and financing of the postgraduate system at the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Valparaíso.

A hundred academics from different disciplines together with the Postgraduate Commission of the Council of Rectors met in Valparaíso on Thursday 10th and Friday 11th of October at the Second International Postgraduate Seminar, organized by Cruch.

The event not only featured presentations about the present and future of training at this level, but also visits to three laboratories at the Federico Santa María, Católica de Valparaíso and the University of Valparaíso universities.

At the inauguration, the rector Aldo Valle of the University of Valparaíso, pointed out that "the postgraduate degree corresponds to a work that is linked to those most important areas of the entire university system" and then added that "for the Council of Rectors one of its foundational purposes is to contribute from the public community in the matter of postgraduate training, from the independent and autonomous reflection of the university institutions, with a high view, because the service to the community, the independence of the judgment and the autonomy of those who have an opinion, elements that are vital to legislate or to disagree with good reason ”.

The rector UV stated that “one of the topics that will be dealt with in the seminar is quality assurance. We have seen it in the Council of Rectors and it is not good that a bill on accreditation has a random effect for postgraduate accreditation; It does not seem to us that it is convenient for the country, or particularly, for doctoral training centers "and later he recalled" it is very good to have an independent voice that contributes to the fact that the legislation does not make that error that seems to answer that idea of that fewer public institutions are better. That is why this meeting is of the utmost importance, the participants in this seminar have the greatest responsibility, it is a very sensitive issue for the development of the country and for our constitution as a developing society ”.

 

Quality assurance
The seminar opened a debate on successful practices and prospects in quality assurance systems, highlighting the case of Brazil presented by Arlindo Philippi, Pro-rector of the University of Sao Paulo “as the recognition of the quality that is guaranteed through the peer analysis based on criteria periodically established by the academic community ”. And in this sense, María José Lemaitre stressed that "higher education institutions are responsible for ensuring quality and where any system must respect their autonomy and contribute with appropriate criteria defined with the participation of relevant stakeholders." Such approaches were convergent with the Spanish experience presented by Lola Ferre from the University of Granada, who showed how “each program generates an internal quality assurance system, how the evaluation agencies verify and establish follow-up and finally the recognition of quality as a mention of excellence. " Each of these arguments confirmed the proposals of Daniel Wolff from the University of Chile, who explained that the current bill on quality assurance ignores the special accreditation for Postgraduate Programs.

Postgraduate Internationalization
The reflections on internationalization constituted a point of analysis for all the speakers. Ximena García from the University of Concepción and president of the Cruch Postgraduate Advisory Commission, called for “generating a student mobility system that allows offering this opportunity to all doctoral students enrolled in a national program and at the same time identifying new opportunities for the formation of doctoral colleges between programs of the Cruch universities and their international peers ”; and to advance in this type of associativity, Gudrun Kausel from the Austral University and representative of DFG (Germany), highlighted experiences of doctoral colleges where “the bonds of trust have been decisive to build collaboration in the field of research and doctoral training ”. In short, internationalization is a cross-cutting challenge, which is expressed in attracting foreign students, visiting professors, increasing publications and research projects with international institutions.

Interdisciplinarity
The issue of interdisciplinarity was raised by Jorge Allende, from the University of Chile, who highlighted, from the point of view of biological sciences, the advance towards new paradigms that make it possible to address the problems and questions generated by today's society from different disciplines. knowledge, what he called "the convergence of the sciences, appealing to the development of" doctoral programs focused on a problem of great relevance, food, energy, health, the relationship between biota and biosphere. " From the University of Sao Paulo, these challenges were also exposed by Arlindo Philippi, explaining the stimulus generated in Brazil for the promotion of interdisciplinary programs, around convergent themes, the offer of a diversified and flexible training and the response to the priorities of the research system in the country. In the European case - France and Spain - similar trends are observed promoting training oriented to new competences, which allow both a broad and complex analysis of new phenomena, as well as the development of skills that facilitate the employment of graduates.

Financing
Finally, the issue of financing was not absent from the debate, recognizing the need to increase the number of graduates, address the situation of serious asymmetries - both in Brazil and Chile - ensure the role of universities, considering postgraduate training as a complex and diverse system that requires long-term policies avoiding the dispersion and instability of financing instruments. In the case of Brazil, where there is a systemic and long-term policy, Professor Philippi argued the increase in the percentage of GDP in science, technology and innovation, the generation of a national strategic agenda and the need to reform the legislation to achieve greater flexibility in the use of resources for science, technology and innovation. But also, in the situation of Chile, where there is a serious lack of institutionality and a dispersed financing system, Dr. Allende highlighted the importance of defining an institutionality from the universities for the development of doctoral programs and from this perspective The Brazilian case of financing is especially interesting to the extent that it is the university that receives the funds for postgraduate development.

This set of proposals and debates were collected by the Postgraduate Advisory Commission, highlighting both those matters of law currently under debate, such as the situation in quality assurance, a law that does not recognize the relevance of the postgraduate system and leaves aside the debate with the academic community. The seminar once again relieved the urgency of designing a systemic postgraduate policy that is based on the achievements made, but that recognizes regional disparities as stated by María Elisa Taboada of the University of Antofagasta, articulates quality management and effective financing of the system, according to Daniel Wolff of the University of Chile, and promote close international ties in various instances as expressed by Ximena García of the University of Concepción.

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