Scholarly article on topic 'Contemporary Educational Values in Higher Education'

Contemporary Educational Values in Higher Education Academic research paper on "Economics and business"

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Abstract of research paper on Economics and business, author of scientific article — Maria Pescaru

Abstract The university must take into account that its graduates are not trained unilaterally strictly professional in the field, but also more generally, to form the cultural and relational skills, fostering the encounter with science, art, philosophy as narrow specialization cannot be justified and fulfilled. By virtue of genuine autonomy, objectively, there are scientific and ethical arguments about serious problems of mankind. The University is responsible for the normal development of the society both on short and long term. If certain social court focuses only on short and medium term objectives, the university is mandated to conduct activities consistent with further goals and values.

Academic research paper on topic "Contemporary Educational Values in Higher Education"

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Social and Behavioral Sciences

Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 76 (2013) 654 - 659 ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

5th International Conference EDU-WORLD 2012 - Education Facing Contemporary World

Issues

Contemporary educational values in higher education

Maria Pescaru *

University of Pitesti, Pitesti, Ronamia

Abstract

The university must take into account that its graduates are not trained unilaterally strictly professional in the field, but also more generally, to form the cultural and relational skills, fostering the encounter with science, art, philosophy as narrow specialization cannot be justified and fulfilled. By virtue of genuine autonomy, objectively, there are scientific and ethical arguments about serious problems of mankind. The University is responsible for the normal development of the society both on short and long term. If certain social court focuses only on short and medium term objectives, the university is mandated to conduct activities consistent with further goals and values.

© 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of the University of Pitesti, Romania Keywords: concept of education; knowledge; responsibilities; value; globalization

1. Preliminary considerations

For a long time, the national education system undergoes endless series of experiments. We need stability, consistency, predictability, a responsible assessment and strengthening of existing structures that can function effectively. The axiological sphere of education and school subscribes to the concepts of value, education values, axiological education and contexts in which they are reported. The "value" term means all the things significant to humans.

The modern concept of education explains the value as being indispensable for the educated person, this contributing effectively to the value development. The contents of education represent a challenge for the appearance of the value than the value itself, this being produces by the activity of the educated person.

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +040745157786 E-mail address: mariapescaru@yahoo.com

ELSEVIER

1877-0428 © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of the University of Pitesti, Romania doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.04.181

The higher education has the task to provide the skills required by the current social circumstances. The university legitimacy is given by its performativity. This should not only focus to form an elite capable of leading the society to emancipation, but must provide actors able to meet the commitments to the social system.

The society needs first of all, harmonious people in terms of psycho-behavioral and moral point of view which are capable of the highest responsibilities. The university serves not only the present society, but should also cover the foreseeable future, serves more sustainable values.

In today's society the higher education has been internationalized, inter-university networks have been formed and the exchange of structure and content is accelerating. An important role is played by higher education in multiplying the contacts and the insurance of genuine international cooperation, trying to manage in this way, „the universality of human nature."2 Exchanges between teachers and students have been increased, and the dialogue has not only an academic tinge, but intercultural too. The international relations lead to welcome inter-academic communities to share experiences and to value them beyond their emergence frame. Thereby it is ensured a materialization of knowledge, a broad cultural expansion, often disadvantaged in terms of academic output expansion. The creating of academic networking, the access to information, the polarization and sharing of academic excellence, the free movement of students and teachers, the equal opportunities for expression of research results by participation in international scientific meetings and so on, are some concrete arrangements of an effective cooperation between universities and academic partnership globally expanded.

The academic community sets its targets not only strictly academic (the accumulation, the value or the knowledge creation), but the induction of some conduct and mentality in society. It aims to establish a fair balance between optimum and universal elements of community and cultural rootedness specific to each of its members.

Formative academic environment is the meeting place of several models, the value of the transmission behavior and specific experience. University should be a great cultural diversity, a place of exchange and valuable reference models. The assumption of diversity can be followed sometimes by the emergence of tensions, the emergence of problematic situations, the risk of the questioning of identity markers. The possible cultural, linguistic and psychological imbalance must be solved. The dissolution and disinterring can cause stress and disharmony at an individual or social level. Therefore, it has become an insertion requirement in a solitary society to live together with different people. The school, at any level it would be, aims to mediate the meetings, dialogues, disparities. Nowadays the university is invested with multiple responsibilities. It must make a leap towards pluralism and integration in order to achieve a process of cultural integration by leveraging the cultural searches that candidates possess in training. Integration in higher education involves not only familiarize students with the academic culture, but also integrate their cultural experience in the common environmental experience they take part in.

2. University teacher training

Socrates' admonition "Know thyself' remains an aspiration nowadays. Professors must answer to the students' problems, to their desire of a superior qualification. Among the many problems of universities the reorganization and quality assurance studies is being found, especially the creation of their European dimension. This dimension is part of the natural process of rapid adaptation of the 21st century university that is required to meet certain independence and dynamic global economy, which has become reality.

By aligning the higher education with the European standards demanded by the global economy, and without borders, Romania will be required to promote genuine research based only on value and personality, as it has been evolved historically, understood and applied in the European Union (EU) and the rest of the civilized world. The history of European universities since their inception, Paris, Bologna, Heidelberg, Prague, Leuven, etc. which became veritable fortress of progress, science, technology, culture and society, generally meant creating

2 Camilleri, Carmel, Particularismes et universel: le point de vue du psychologue", în Particularismes et universalisme: la problématique des identites, Les Editions du Conseil de l Europe, Strasburg, 1995, p. 31

new social classes, the intellectuals. The intellectuals, a so educated social class, able to understand and promote economic development since the 19 th century contributed to the strategic development of powerful states of today.

Teacher training should be done from an interdisciplinary perspective, a pedagogical one, but also in terms of social work, of their employment as cultural facilitators as actors and as citizens. Being a good teacher means to overcome the university training, to know how to manage situations that transcend the academic space. Understanding the socio-cultural phenomena are prerequisites for intercultural phenomenon. This does not mean that all teachers should be psychologists, sociologists or cultural anthropologists, but must ensure the consistency in the direction of their social training.

In the academic medium it is sought the teachers' training more, with a trajectory towards academic specialization. It aims at training the scientific type, by acquiring specific knowledge, however, neglects the psychological and pedagogical training of relational, socio-cultural aspects in which education is made. Forming students for tomorrow's world, the teachers must understand the present. Key issues such as urbanization, globalization, information, cultural plurality, youth subcultures are not often taken into account, practicing narrow, didactic, relative and illusory professionalism. More emphasis should be put on deeper dimension coverage of the training relationships, such as between the academic and psycho-relational training, between generic and specialized training and between initial and continuing training.

Teacher training often oscillates "between abstract theorizing with subsequent disconnection from real and practices founded on mythical definitions, the emphasis being put on homogeneity of the individuality, of profiles, on permanence and stability. The identification of new realities does not change the teacher perceptions too much. Most often, they cataloged new phenomena as strange, unusual, difficult-course related to classical rules, known by them, but which can not explain satisfactorily new developments.3"

The component of teacher education for diversity education is pursued systematically by international bodies. Teachers must possess a special competence in the communicative plan, must not only manage some strictly didactic situations, but to facilitate students' spiritual and cultural permeability. The knowledge of the mechanisms to be put into play in situations of cultural interaction, the interpretation of this problematic universe, the negotiation in the value plan, the entrance as an active actor on the stage of the cultural interactions are priority objectives of any teacher in the training program. Some sociologists attribute these characteristics of an "effective multicultural teacher Practicing this type of education claims a complex training, that requires concerted efforts from many specialists. New teacher status involves procurement, restructuring, changes in personality profiling numerous records of the teacher."4

The education from the perspective of multiple values represents a fully justified approach, because it ensures better employability of the individual in a dynamic spiritual world. This formative approach meets the aspirations of individuality, the valuing of particular, unique features, which deserve to be recognized and amplified, and the benefit of society, ensuring coherence, solidarity and functionality.

Teachers must show initiative, given the context, to promote and maintain mutual respect, intercultural and interethnic tolerance. They must communicate with the students in order to determine them to communicate with each other, regardless their membership or cultural differences.

3 Abdallah - Pretceille, Martine, La formation des enseignants face au defi de la pluralite culturelle et de l alterite, în J., Demorgon (coord.), M., Lipianski, Guide de l interculturel en formation, Retz Publishing House, Paris, 1999, p. 30

4 Bancks, James, A., Multiethnic education, Allyn an Bacon Publishing House, Boston, London, 1988, p. 178

3. Dimensions of higher education reform in Romania

A national policy of science must include a closely follow up of the level of world science by accessibility to the primary sources of information and documentation. There must be a real support for the most active and creative scientists.

The competition must be at a general way. Students should be aware that they are subjects to competition, as practiced worldwide. In this way a change of the university teachers' mentality will be involved.

Globalization of research and development in higher education, which should be restructured to face Romania and reforming the entire system of scientific research. In this regard several steps are required:

• aEliminate the conflict of interest between politics and science;

• Old autocratic structures that exist within universities must be abandoned; Among other purposes we may mention:

• Renewal the universities;

• Assessment of merit;

• Creating critical researchers' "tables" required for effective competition in international science;

• Restoration of science image in society."5

The Romanian university education is in the process of change and reform. Many of the proposed changes at the institutional level are focused on new types of dependence, of reporting universities in central courts. The existence of universities in local communities ensures not only freedom but also constraints: administrative, cultural, material and financial. A sign of post-modernization is represented by the structural and functional decentralization. The universities are not only filmmakers of programs, and this requires greater accountability from their decision and action. Actors must prove competence of manage autonomy in order to take freedom coupled with responsibility.

The traditional universities of education achievement lose the monopoly in which they had situated in, because the institutional education space expanded. There are new forms and structures, even validated by the Ministry of Education, Research, Youth and Sports: private colleges, agencies and non-governmental organizations, companies with a lucrative character.

Contents were redesigned according to the principle of decentralization and flexibility to achieve the curriculum, stipulating the freedom to choose a part of the program based on human and material resources, interests and abilities of pupils.

In this way an explicit distinction of learning paths is made, accumulating non-identical values, using other strategies of differentiation and customization (through methods, embodiment of learning, teaching, assessment and so on). Optional subjects occupy a prominent place in the school curriculum.

The postmodern culture is characterized by a multitude of models, "able to mold on as many individuals as possible,"6 manifested by the attention to the public students' interest, its desires etc. Education for current activities, for privacy life is considered very important, the classical subjects are considered traditional, sometimes less important. Training lines of forming in minority languages have increased in separate or heterogeneous universities valuing the differences, the mutual spiritual enrichment, knowledge and intercultural cooperation.

Another aspect of post-modernity in university education is the multiplicity and the alternation of textbooks. The idea of educational alternations provided through courses, additional media, teaching methods, organizational forms, etc., is beneficial so far as it keeps a balance of content, and the teachers select, re-create or manage different content sequences.

5http://w.w.w.ad-astra.ro/library/books/frangopol_mediocritate.pdf

6 Cucoç, Constantin, Education-cultural and intercultural dimensions, Polirom Publishing House, Ia§i, 2000, p. 77

Over time, the Romanian higher education contributed to the formation of the nation, to prepare scientific, engineering, and culture elites, to the dedication and innovation of the most important Romanian cultural and artistic values. Therefore, the higher education should be considered a national value. The benefits of higher education are not only national, but personal. University graduates have much higher chances to take better social positions and earn more than those who do not have access to universities.

With the signing of the Bologna Declaration in 1999, the Romanian universities affirm their European vocation within the European Higher Education Area. Along with the integration, the inter-university competition appears in an increasingly obvious academic market, and the Romanian higher education must assert itself in this way. Otherwise we run the risk of a gap with disastrous consequences for our young specialists, for the economy and the national culture.

4. The value of higher education in Romania

Concentrated actions of the Romanian society, of connecting Romania to the principles and values promoted by the European Union, the education is one of the strategic sectors that can contribute greatly to accelerate the changes required in this process. We believe that teaching models are found successfully in the Romanian teaching practice, but insufficiently known and used, which may constitute certain premises to increase the quality level of the educational performance, to transform universities into an active player in the process in all fields.

In this field of the value and valuing education, there are multiple axiological, economic, sociological and political approaches. The economic behavior has among its components the size of valuing those activities which require people a long time to make them. The learning activity requires a long time, attention and involvement, emotional involvement and emotional commitment. Learning is a dominant human activity and the multiple determinations- social position, material reward, success, fulfillment of aspirations-are consequences of the ability to learn.

Most approaches to higher education system consider this system as interacting with the market and the economic factors. Higher education is widely seen as a subsystem of the social system in which certain responsibilities, goals and results are transferred to the education system. The insurance of the education functioning is taken by the state, as a representative of citizens and political power or as a participant in the economic process. The educational sequence is analyzed as part of an economic or investment stage or during construction labor. 7

Different socio-economic areas are different regarding the economic development structuring, the unemployment, the quality of services offered by various institutions, including universities or those that offer different types of qualifications and training for adults.

The way the universities cooperate implies the participation of the human quality of staff, the adequacy of the results that they get to define an educational offer that is wanted, useful and recognized by beneficiaries and which leaves a huge number of options available, possible.8

The treatment of some social phenomena such as poverty (social exclusion) unemployment, the correlation and adjustment of labor supply and local or regional demand can be addressed as prediction and pro-activity. At a local and regional entrepreneurial solutions testing, various private initiatives, developing individual and collective projects, introduction of public programs can find support and echo in people's consciousness. Therefore, capital (manifested trust in people and institutions, Community vocation of enterprise and initiative) is

7 European Convention on the Academic Recognition of University Qualifications (1959)

8 European Convention on the Equivalence of University Study Periods (1956)

one of the concepts that is absolutely necessary in any analysis of the correlation between the education system and local needs.

Conclusions

The objectivity and the accuracy of standards as activities become landmarks and conditions necessary to achieve a quality manufacturer of authentic learning valuable personalities. The national dimension of the evaluation is relevant to the assessment that there is a direct and permanent contact with the social reality, beneficiary of the university formative products.

We can say that there were important steps in the process of internationalization of academic evaluation and accreditation,9 that there are many similarities in the European countries that have established national mechanisms for this purpose. An example is given by including programs of cooperation between European universities and the mutual recognition of diplomas.

Considering the very special creation of these institutions, it is important that the European mechanisms10 to be standardized in the domain of quality, while the academic evaluation and accreditation ensure a harmonious combination of institutional, national autonomy, with a common European standard. There is no question about the need for establishing of a pan-European institution of academic evaluation and accreditation, but the flexibility and foresight capacity to achieve an open and malleable compatibility.

It would be unfortunate that the internationalization of higher education instead of uniting the intellectual forces, around the European spirit, to maintain or generate new misunderstandings, new suspicions and so, instead of getting closer to the people of Europe to remove each others.

Certainly, as it is showed by the results obtained in other areas or even in the education and higher education systems, there is actually a strategy and a desire to design high responsibility for the destiny academics European citizen and Europe. Of course we do not expect miraculous solutions and unexpected solutions, but certainly the future will be related to European higher education at the service of every European citizen.

This paper is suported by the Sectorial Operational Programme Human Resources Development (SOP-HRD), financed from the European Social Fund and by the Romanian Govermment under the contact number SOP HRD/89/1.5/S/59758.

Degrees and intellectual and industrial propriety rights en the results of the placement of the Romanian Academy are post-doctoral research.

References

[1] Abdallah - Pretceille, Martine, La formation des enseignants face au defi de la pluralite culturelle et de l alterite, în J., Demorgon (coord.), [2] M., Lipianski, Guide de l interculturel en formation, Retz Publishing House, Paris, 1999

[3] Bancks, James, A., Multiethnic Education, Allyn an Bacon Publishing House, Boston, London, 1988

[4] Camilleri, Carmel, Particularismes et universel: le point de vue du psychologue", in Particularismes et universalisme: la problematique des identites, Les Editions du Conseil de l Europe, Strasburg, 1995

[5] Cucoç, Constantin, Education-Cultural and Intercultural Dimensions,Polirom Publishing House, Iaçi

[6] ***http://w.w.w.ad-astra.ro/library/books/frangopol_mediocritate.pdf

[7] ***European Convention on the equivalence of diplomas which give access to university institutions (1953)

[8] ***Additional Protocol to the Convention above (1954)

[9] ***European Convention on the Equivalence of University Study Periods (1956)

[10] ***European Convention on the Academic Recognition of University Qualifications (1959)

9 European Convention on the equivalence of diplomas which give access to university institutions (1953)

10 Additional Protocol to the Convention above (1954)