Challenges and opportunities of the university in a global context, by Jaume Pagès
Can the UOC become a global university?
“The UOC has strengths and it also has weaknesses, there's no doubt. But one of the strengths it has is the experience gained over the years it's been operating to date. And the other strength it has is the ties it's created and that it keeps up – and without which it wouldn't survive, I think – with the other Catalan universities.”
“We have to be aware of this, sometimes the UOC isn't a university of the Catalan universities: it's in the system, but it's a university that, without the other Catalan universities, would have a less open future than the one it has with the cooperation and collaboration of the others. And that's a value! An extraordinarily positive value, that can be developed and from which we can surely get even more of a yield than we get.”
“University systems have often established levels of influence according to the natural language barriers that give them a survival space in which they can develop and grow.But the day these barriers come down, then competition will be more universal.”
“For a university like the UOC, linked to a very much minority language – globally speaking, like Catalan – breaking down these barriers could be a danger for everyone or it could be an opportunity, because it could open up frontiers for it that we now see as closed.”
“I think it's worth thinking with a global mentality and see it as a world university and how we'd do it: in a world where I think there are huge opportunities. It's tough to carve out a space in North America, or England, or France, or Germany: but surely it's not so hard to carve out a space – not Latin America any more, which is also tough – in emerging countries in Africa, I imagine there are lots and lots of possibilities.”
“The day the language barriers come down, and I wager it'll be within ten years, then who'll stop if it's not a very prestigious university, it'll be another that will have set out to do it well and do it massively, then it comes here and offers its services? If someone wants to stop it, I'd say “Hey, no: let my grandchildren choose; don't impose on them”. And if we're like that and we accept that freedom is an asset that we have to protect, then it's worth us all pulling our finger out because competition is inevitable.”