Editie BZI LIVE cu universitarul care a oferit detalii si informatii despre o zona ce ce influenteaza DIRECT viata. Acesta a refuzat o mega – oferta de la marea companie Microsoft
Miercuri, 10 iulie 2019, incepand cu ora 15.00 a fost programat un dialog extrem de interesant si de utilitate pentru noi toti, de la studenti, profesori si intreaga comunitate! • In luminile reflectoarelor Studioului BZI LIVE, pentru cea de-a 342-a editie dedicata Educatiei, Culturii, Artei, Muzicii, Religiei, Istoriei respectiv ideilor si mentalitatilor a fost invitat conf. univ. dr. Valy Greavu de la Facultatea de Economie si Administrarea Afacerilor (FEAA) din cadrul Universitatii Alexandru Ioan Cuza (UAIC) din Iasi. Alaturi de domnia sa au fost abordate subiecte axate pe: Admiterea 2019, activitatea si proiectele de la facultate, relatia cu studentii, realitati din sistemul de invatamant superior, experienta profesionala! De precizat ca universitarul Greavu are o vasta colaborare cu zona privata, domeniile sale de predare fiind: Comert electronic, Instrumente Software pentru Afaceri, Sisteme informationale pentru Afacerile Internationale in timp ce domeniile de interes au fost Informatica sau Tehnologiile SharePoint. Avand in vedere ca activeaza pe segmente de impact si actualitate in societatea contemporana, acesta a oferit o serie de detalii exact pe aceasta componenta. Concret, profesorul Greavu a aratat cat de importanta este Educatia antreprenoriala, resursa umana, pastrarea acesteia in tara, experienta pe care trebuie sa o dobandeasca un viitor absolvent, pe zona paractica. Totul a venit de la personajul care, in tinerete, a castigat locul al II-lea la un concurs organizat de marele concern Microsoft (unde au participat 27.000 de persoane din intreaga lume – n.r.) si a primit o oferta de nerefuzat sa plece in Statele Unite ale Americii (SUA). Cu toate acestea, el a decis sa ramana in tara, la Iasi, la Universitatea Cuza respectiv FEAA! Emisiunea completa cu acesta poate fi urmarita AICI
Publicație : Bună Ziua Iași
Bubuitura misterioasă de marți tot a ”nimănui” a rămas. Un fizician de la „Cuza“ presupune că a explodat un meteorit
Conf. dr. Silviu Gurlui consideră că zgomotul puternic care s-a auzit în tot Iaşul în urmă cu două zile a fost provocat de un meteorit căzut în partea de nord, nord-est a oraşului. O altă variantă ar fi un boom sonic produs de un avion militar
Bubuitura care i-a neliniştit, marţi la amiază, pe ieşeni rămâne un mister. După ce autorităţile au exclus o explozie în împrejurimi, oamenii de ştiinţă încearcă să determine sursa zgomotului prea scurt ca să fie tunet şi prea puternic ca să fie o explozie fără urmă la sol. Pentru că cei mai mulţi martori au susţinut că au vibrat ferestrele şi chiar pereţii clădirilor unde se aflau, am întrebat la Institutul Naţional de Fizica Pământului (INFP) dacă dispozitivele seismice au înregistrat o undă de şoc. „Am verificat informaţia dumneavoastră atât pe înregistrările seismice de la staţia din Iaşi, cât şi la staţiile din zona Moldovei. Din păcate, nu există pe înregistrările noastre nimic ce poate fi corelat cu evenimentul descris de dvs. În intervalul menţionat de dvs. nu au fost evenimente seismice în zonă“, ne-a răspuns Alexandru Mărmureanu, cercetător în cadrul Reţelei Seismice Naţionale.
Dacă probabilitatea unei explozii subterane sau la nivelul solului devine practic zero, ce anume putea să provoace zgomotul puternic? Un fenomen cum a fost explozia meteorului deasupra oraşului rus Celiabinsk, din Asia Centrală, este şi el puţin probabil, dar nu imposibil. Pe 15 februarie 2013, explozia obiectului mare cam cât un autobuz a spart ferestrele a mii de locuinţe. La mijlocul anului 2019, potrivit calendarului astronomic, Pământul va trece prin două roiuri de meteori, rămăşiţe ale unor comete care s-au dezintegrat. Fenomenul stelelor căzătoare va fi vizibil pe cerul nopţii, la sfârşitul acestei luni, respectiv în prima jumătate a lunii august. Posibilitatea ca un meteor rătăcit destul de mare ca să reziste mai mult timp arderii în atmosferă şi să explodeze aproape de sol, cum s-a întâmplat la ruşi, rămâne totuşi infimă.
În privinţa unui boom sonic produs de un avion militar, un caz similar a fost raportat în 2014 de Los Angeles Times. O bubuitură puternică a zguduit Los Angeles, şi oamenii au crezut că a fost un puternic cutremur, însă ulterior Marina americană a precizat că un F18 care zbura deasupra Oceanului Pacific a depăşit viteza sunetului şi boomul sonic a cauzat perturbările cu efecte similare evenimentului de la Iaşi: un zgomot puternic, geamuri zguduite, fiind afectată o suprafaţă mare (atât oraşul, cât şi regiunea din preajma sa).
„Efectul asupra clădirilor a fost al unui mic cutremur“
Silviu Gurlui, cercetător la Facultatea de Fizică a Universităţii „Alexandru Ioan Cuza“ din Iaşi, consideră că, din punctul său de vedere, zgomotul a fost produs de un meteorit căzut în partea de nord, nord-est a oraşului, ce a produs o undă de şoc de „foarte mare energie“, ale cărui efecte pot fi comparabile cu cele ale unui cutremur de mică intensitate. „Efectul asupra clădirilor a fost al unui mic cutremur ce a durat până la 5 secunde. Sunetul s-a simţit puternic circa 2 secunde. Mulţi oameni aşa l-au şi resimţit acasă. Cu cât voi avea mai multe date strânse de la populaţie şi de la autorităţi, acest rezultat va putea fi întărit mai mult sau mai puţin. Aceşti meteoriţi au în medie de regulă diametre de zecimi de milimetru. Cântăresc în medie 10 micrograme şi zilnic intră în atmosferă 300 de tone de particule, toate împrăştiate în atmosferă. Vitezele lor medii sunt peste 30 kilometri/secundă. Desigur, pot fi şi alte categorii, dar cercetările arată că acestea sunt cele mai întâlnite. Mai rămân alte necunoscute“, a precizat Silviu Gurlui. El a precizat că este nevoie de a se investi în tehnologie optică şi în cercetarea din domeniu pentru a putea şti mai bine cum pot fi gestionate astfel de situaţii şi pentru a fi identificate aceste fenomene mai uşor.
Un zgomot asemănător în urmă cu trei ani
La Iaşi, nu a fost prima bubuitură rămasă, la propriu, fără ecou. Pe 1 Iunie 2016, tot la amiază (aprox. 13.30), un zgomot asemănător s-a auzit în tot municipiul şi în comunele învecinate. La fel ca şi acum, sursa bubuitului ca de tunet a rămas neclară. Ziarul de Iaşi a verificat atât rapoartele oficiale ale NASA cu privire la meteoriţii identificaţi în acea perioadă în zona Europei, şi figurează doar un fenomen din 2015, dar în 2016 nu a fost înregistrat nimic. Nici INFP nu a raportat vreun eveniment seismic în Moldova la nivelul anului 2015. Însă, în ţară, au mai fost semnalate asemenea ciudăţenii. Cea mai recentă s-a făcut bine auzită la Galaţi şi Brăila, pe 16 mai 2017. Nici autorităţile de acolo nu au avut o explicaţie pentru originea tunetului straniu. Tot pe 16 mai, dar 2016, un zgomot puternic a stârnit oarece panică în Călăraşi. Dar locuitorii oraşului erau deja nedumeriţi de „explozia fără sursă“ petrecută cu doar câteva zile înainte, pe 21 aprilie.
Cea mai veche relatare despre producerea unei bubuituri puternice se referă la cazul de la Comăneşti, judeţul Bacău. După „explozia“ din 20 aprilie 2006, au fost verificate toate obiectivele industriale, iar un elicopter a survolat zona aproape două ore, fără să descopere vreo urmă. În după-amiaza zilei de 29 august 2008, în aceeaşi zonă, au fost auzite trei astfel de bubuituri, fără să fie identificată sursa. Cazul Comăneşti are o pagină proprie deschisă pe Wikipedia.
Universitățile se ”bat” pentru ”zeciștii” de la Bac. Încearcă să-i atragă cu premii de 1000 euro, laptopuri, cazare și masă gratuite
Universitățile din țară se luptă ca să îi atragă pe absolvenții de 10. Le oferă laptopuri, cazare și masă gratuite, și chiar și un premiu de o mie de euro dacă se înscriu la una dintre facultățile lor! Universitățile vin cu programe de studiu noi, care să fie adaptate pieței muncii și care să le ofere absolvenților siguranța unui loc de muncă.
Ca să îi atragă pe șefii de promoție, pe olimpici și pe liceenii care au avut media 10 la Bac, Universitatea „Transilvania” din Brașov le oferă câte un laptop, cazare şi o masă gratuită pe zi, scrie stiriprotv.ro
Este al patrulea an în care vin cu această ofertă!
Și studenții care aleg să continue pregătirea universitară ca masteranzi sau ca doctoranzi beneficiază de facilități.
Numai anul trecut, universitatea a atras 41 de tineri de elită din 13 județe și unul chiar din Italia!
Nu numai la Brașov există astfel de facilități. Politehnica din București dă câte un premiu de o mie de euro absolvenților cu media 10 la Bacalaureat, care vor să studieze la una dintre facultățile universității.
Admitere fără examen și locuri gratuite de cazare în cămine oferă, însă, cele mai multe universități din țară pentru acești elevi de 10, sau pentru olimpici.
Universitățile se luptă pentru a atrage elevi cât mai buni și prin noile programe de studiu pe care le introduc, adaptate cerințelor de pe piața muncii.
De anul acesta, studenții Universității Babeș-Bolyai din Cluj-Napoca pot aprofunda diplomația în afaceri, studii de conflict și știința datelor sociale. Cei de la Politehnica din București se pot specializa în energetică și tehnologii informatice, sau în informatică aplicată în ingineria mediului.
Programe noi mai au Universitatea de Medicină și Farmacie din Iași, Universitatea din Craiova și Universitatea de Artă Teatrală și Cinematografică din București
Publicație : Ziarul de Iași
Chinese students’ applications to UK universities up by 30%
UK higher education is benefitting from tensions between US and China, say experts
Ucas statistics show almost 20,000 Chinese students applied to undergraduate courses in the UK this year. Photograph: Alamy
Applications from Chinese students to study at UK universities have gone up 30% since last year, with numbers exceeding those from Northern Ireland for the first time, according to official statistics.
The Ucas university admissions agency revealed on Thursday it had received almost 20,000 undergraduate applications from students in China this year (19,760, up from 15,240 in 2018), compared with 18,520 from Northern Ireland. The real figure will be higher as not all Chinese applications are made via Ucas.
The number of students from mainland China studying in UK higher education has more than doubled in the last decade. Commentators say however that recent tensions between China and the US are further benefitting British universities as Chinese students look at destinations other than America for their studies.
Welcoming the figures, the universities minister, Chris Skidmore, said: “International students bring huge cultural and economic benefits to the UK. These figures show we are making good progress in our ambition to open up world-leading higher education to anyone who has the potential to benefit from it and I’m confident that we can go even further.”
The Ucas figures also revealed an increase in the number of British 18-year-olds applying for places, up 1% on last year to 275,520 despite a 1.9% fall in the overall 18-year-old population of the UK. EU applicants have also risen 1%, to 50,650 despite the Brexit uncertainty, and Ucas reported a record number of applicants from outside the EU at 81,340, an increase of 8%.
China is already the biggest source of international students at British universities. In 2007-2008, there were 43,530 Chinese students in the UK, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa). Ten years later the total went up to 106,530, of which 60,460 were postgraduate students and 46,070 undergraduates.
Clare Marchant, Ucas chief executive, said: “The global appeal of UK higher education has never been clearer, with record demographic-beating application rates in England and Wales, and the steep rise in international applications, especially from China.”
The University of Manchester has the largest population of Chinese students in Europe. With about 5,000 Chinese students out of a total of just over 40,000, about one in eight students are Chinese. “The university is well known in China,” said Richard Cotton, director of student recruitment and outreach at Manchester. “It’s partly because of the football,” he said. Then in 2015, the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, visited the National Graphene Institute (NGI) at Manchester university. “We did see a significant increase in applications [from China] after that.”
Chinese students are crucial to Manchester’s ambitions to be a truly international university, says Cotton. “You can’t project yourself as an international university unless you have large cohort of international students. They are bringing connections. In the classroom they can offer an international experience for domestic students.”
But there are challenges. Currently Chinese students are concentrated in a limited number of subject areas, such as accounting and finance, economics, business studies and electrical engineering. As a result, they often end up studying in classes full of other Chinese students and socialising together when classes are over.
Tao Wang is a politics PhD student at the University of Manchester. He likes the diversity of the city, but there are difficulties too. “In the politics department, next to my desk is a Greek student, next to him is an Italian, and then a Briton, a Romanian, a French [student] and so on. Some of my best friends are from Nigeria, Mexico and Thailand. The diversity is the real beauty of Manchester that I truly love.”
“The challenge for me as a Chinese student is security,” he says. “There are too many robberies. Rumours are that students from China are particularly targeted by robbers. This might be because of the stereotype that Chinese students are crazy rich.”
The university says it is doing all it can to improve student safety with regular police drop-in surgeries, the development of a student neighbourhood watch-style group called “student eye” and specific campaigns focussing on international student safety.
The university is also developing research to try to find ways to encourage greater integration between Chinese and British students. “Students from both the UK and China are interested in each other,” says Wang, “but it looks like they don’t mix much. There is a cultural barrier.”
They also live separately. Chinese students are often in more expensive, purpose-built student flats, while British students live in shared houses. And according to Wang, the two groups socialise in completely different ways. “Chinese students like doing homework together, having a hotpot at home, singing karaoke, going shopping – for some, for luxury goods.
“British students particularly enjoy alcohol in pubs with loud music. I’ve heard complaints from my Chinese friends that they couldn’t make many local friends because they just didn’t like pubs.”
Nick Hillman is a governor at Manchester university and director of the Higher Education Policy Institute thinktank. Commenting on the latest Ucas application figures, he said: “It’s clear that the UK is benefiting from cooler relations between China and the US, and also between China and Australia. We can’t take anything for certain as demand from other countries is very sensitive to all sorts of things but we are clearly gaining advantage at the moment.”
Publicație : The Guardian
Research publications: does piling them high sell them short?
All modern academics know that it’s publish or perish, but is regular publication a gateway or a barrier to groundbreaking scholarship? Simon Baker assesses the data on the relationship between research volume and quality and asks which, if either, should be prioritised
The relationship between quantity and quality in academic publishing is a tension that often goes to the heart of research decision-making, whether by policymakers, funders, university managers or individuals.
It is an issue intertwined with the “publish or perish” culture that some academics believe has led to the “salami-slicing” of research into the smallest possible publishable units, in a bid to enhance at least the appearance of productivity. In some countries, academics are rewarded for such productivity, receiving extra payments for each paper they publish. That, in turn, can reflect a national research strategy that rewards volume of output over its quality. And even exercises such as the UK’s research excellence framework that put more emphasis on quality still expect academics to produce a certain volume of research within the assessment period.
Funders, too, are keen on the idea that scientific findings should be disseminated as rapidly as possible: an urge only intensified by the evolution of digital innovations such as preprint servers. And while this does not necessarily translate into an advocation of salami-slicing, it potentially feeds a culture in which some fear that a rush to press comes at the expense of papers that bring together the results of entire, multi-year studies into scientific narratives of genuine depth and significance. History, they note, offers many examples of academic titans who, nevertheless, published comparatively little.
On the other hand, those were different times and it is easy to wonder about how many academics lost to history published even less – if anything. Isn’t it likely that the best minds will be among the most prolific? Equally, isn’t the process of preparing work for publication, and the multiple levels of feedback that it entails, a powerful mechanism by which academics can become better researchers? Could productivity, therefore, also be to some extent a cause of quality?
Times Higher Education’s own data suggest, at the very least, that there is a correlation between productivity and quality. Institutions where the most research per academic is being published also tend to be those with the highest citation impact.
Citation impact and productivity scores for all universities in THE World University Rankings 2019
A chart polling every one of the more than 1,000 universities in the THE World University Rankings 2019 shows that the bulk either cluster in the bottom-left or top-right quadrants – areas where universities are either achieving a low or high score for both citation impact and papers produced per staff. However, there are also plenty of institutions that buck this trend.
Taken at the national level, this general picture appears to hold, too. Plotting the average scores of countries with at least 10 universities in the rankings shows, again, that producing more research per academic seems to go hand in hand with better citation impact. But the relationship is far from clear-cut. A number of nations achieve average higher citation impact scores than Australia, for instance, despite having lower productivity, while many countries trail Egypt on citation impact despite having higher productivity.
Measuring up: Productivity versus impact
Moreover, these data are far from perfect. They represent only some of the world’s research universities and reflect scaled scores. They also assume that citation impact can be a proxy for quality, an assumption that opens up a huge separate debate about the extent to which such a metric truly reflects the value of scholarly work. But, for what they are worth, the data do indicate some level of relationship between productivity and quality.
This theme of there being some sort of link, but a complex one at best, is a thread that runs through much of the academic research that has been conducted in recent years to examine the issue.
A key paper was published in 2003 by Linda Butler, former head of the Research Evaluation and Policy Project at the Australian National University. The paper, “Explaining Australia’s increased share of ISI publications – the effects of a funding formula based on publication counts”, looked in detail at Australia’s increasing share of world research output in the 1990s and revealed that it seemed to come at the expense of citation impact. The finger of blame was pointed at systemic incentives that boosted volume but not quality.
“Significant funds are distributed to universities, and within universities, on the basis of aggregate publication counts, with little attention paid to the impact or quality of that output. In consequence, journal publication productivity has increased significantly in the last decade, but its impact has declined,” the abstract explained.
The research was a shot in the arm for critics who had been saying for a long time that pushing on quantity inevitably harmed quality. Australian research, more recently, has been assessed on quality, via the Excellence in Research for Australia initiative, first run in 2010.
However, other researchers have been able to show that, at the individual level, there is clear evidence that increased publication rates are often accompanied by higher citation impact. In 2016, Ulf Sandström of the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and Peter van den Besselaar of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam analysed data concerning almost 50,000 Swedish researchers and found “a strong correlation” between higher productivity and increased citation impact. In some fields, they discovered a higher probability that each additional paper would gain more citations.
Other studies have suggested that a core of highly cited academics produces a staggeringly large share of the world’s research output and citations – which hardly seems to suggest that publishing more is detrimental to quality.
For his part, Sandström believes that there are enough safeguards in the system to prevent research being salami-sliced to the point that quality suffers, because such papers would simply get no traction.
“If you start to have papers that are very short or with little information, then your colleagues will understand that [they are coming from] a kind of a publication machine. People can fool themselves but I don’t think they can fool their colleagues,” he says.
Complaining about salami-slicing, he continues, “is the sort of critique that comes from those that do not publish, and I am not always sure that we should listen to them. When I look at the really top producers there are very few that don’t have a very high [citation] impact.”
Others believe the research carried out since the Butler paper simply shows that the relationship between productivity and impact is much more complex than previously thought.
Sergey Kolesnikov, a research associate at the University of Cambridge who has co-authored research on the productivity-quality issue, says Butler’s “seminal paper” had seemed to confirm “what most scientists concerned with the rise of governance of science through metrics had suspected through their own perceptions and experiences: that excessive productivity was bad for [scientific] impact. However, later advances in scientometrics, research evaluation and, especially, data science have shown that this relationship is ambiguous and much more complex.”
Specifically, says Kolesnikov, studies have suggested that there is “strong variation in the degree and direction of this relationship depending on the factors such as researchers’ age, gender, seniority, career length, number of collaborators, academic discipline or institutional environment”.
In a previous role at Arizona State University, Kolesnikov worked on a study looking specifically at the relationship between productivity and impact in chemistry and engineering, and among different cohorts of academics, defined by when they started their career. The findings, published in 2018 in Scientometrics, suggest that in chemistry – a subject where it is easier to split research into smaller publishable chunks – impact tails off as more papers are produced. But in engineering, where splitting is harder, no such trend is generally observable.
Although the study, “Researchers’ risk-smoothing publication strategies: is productivity the enemy of impact?”, looks at only two disciplines, it is an illustration of how there may be different productivity-quality dynamics operating in different subjects.
Data from THE’s subject rankings also seem to show very different relative performances by countries for citation impact and productivity depending on the discipline. For instance, nations with higher productivity in the life sciences tend to be those with the highest citations. But in the physical sciences and clinical and health, more countries have similar average citation impacts irrespective of their productivity.
Another complicating factor picked up by the academic research is differences in how citation impact is affected according to the career stage of a scholar. Kolesnikov’s research shows evidence that the most productive engineering researchers benefit from a “Matthew effect” of accumulated advantage, whereby their reputation builds up so much that everything they publish at a later career stage gains a large degree of attention.
This is an issue that has been picked up in other studies. A paper published in 2016 in Plos One that uses a huge dataset based on more than 28 million researchers publishing over a 33-year period finds that the more academics publish, the bigger the share of their research that is highly cited. However, the study, “How many is too many? On the relationship between research productivity and impact”, also notes that, depending on the discipline, “such a pattern is not always observed for younger scholars”.
The claim that established academics’ accumulated reputation gives them an unfair advantage is voiced particularly stridently in critiques of the h-index. This supposed measure of a researcher’s prowess attempts to encapsulate productivity and citation impact in a single number – denoting, specifically, the number of papers a researcher has published that have garnered at least that many citations. As Jonathan Adams, director of Clarivate Analytics’ Institute for Scientific Information, pointed out for THE last year, because the h-index does not really account for the time taken to amass citations, older researchers in fields where citations are easier to come by have a clear advantage.
The use of bibliometrics to measure productivity is not as controversial as its use to measure quality, but it is not beyond dispute. A paper published in the journal Gigascience last month, for instance, analysed more than 120 million publications written since the beginning of the 19th century and found that researchers who started their careers in 1950 published an average of 1.55 papers over the next decade, while those who started their careers in 2000 published 4.05. But the analysis, “Over-optimisation of academic publishing metrics: observing Goodhart’s Law in action”, also found an increasing trend for papers in the physical sciences to have “hundreds or even thousands of authors” and concludes that „the number of publications has ceased to be a good metric [to measure academic success] as a result of longer author lists, shorter papers, and surging publication numbers.”
Vincent Larivière, an associate professor of information science at the University of Montreal who co-authored the above-mentioned Plos One paper, also worked on a separate 2016 Plos One paper analysing the publication patterns of about 40,000 researchers who had published between 1900 and 2013. This also found that, on face value, it seemed that researcher productivity had increased over the years. However, when the number of co-authors was properly accounted for by splitting credit for each paper between them – known as fractional counting – this rise disappeared. Hence the title of the paper: “Researchers’ individual publication rate has not increased in a century”.
The rise of co-authorship means that measures of research volume – whether for individuals, universities or nations – that do not use fractional counting can arguably show distorted results. For instance, if a researcher works on nothing but collaborative papers involving more than 100 authors each time, have they really produced the same amount of research as an academic who authored all their papers alone?
The potential issues can be easily seen by looking at data where absolute and fractional counting are displayed side by side. A good example is Nature Index, which analyses research published in a suite of 82 high impact natural science journals. Its ranking of countries varies according to whether fractional counting is used.
Regarding productivity, the problem can become even more thorny when considering whether authors really contributed equally to a paper, as fractional counting assumes. That is especially true of principal investigators in science, who may not have conducted any of the lab work.
Larivière says the core of the issue is that “in the research system, there is no cost for adding another author to a paper”. As a result, he supports efforts to attribute credit properly at the end of articles to show who did what – including PIs, whose role may still have been vital in securing funding and managing the research. However, for that to help in analysing productivity all journals need to adopt such a format, Larivière says, and the relative contributions “need to be codified in some way”: something that he accepts is very difficult to incorporate into the system.
Larivière’s co-author on his study of productivity and collaboration, Daniele Fanelli, points out that despite their findings that academics are not necessarily publishing more, papers “are becoming longer, more complex and richer with data and analyses”. Hence, he says, “it could be that scientists might have responded to pressures to publish by salami-slicing not so much their publications, as many believe, but their collaborations”.
Overall, Larivière says, the various complexities and problems with bibliometrics mean that they should not be used to analyse individuals’ performance. However, citations can still be “an amazing tool to understand the macro structure of science and to make policies at the global level, looking at institutions [and] countries”.
So what is the advice for university managers and politicians regarding whether they should incentivise productivity or quality?
For Sandström, each disciplinary community rewards the best papers through peer review and citations, and governments and other bodies should keep out of trying to manipulate the system in any way: “You should support your researchers and let them decide how to deal with these things,” he says.
An approach like the REF that restricts the number of publications that universities and individuals can submit for credit “seems crazy”, he adds. He is even critical of guidelines on the use of metrics, such as the Leiden Manifesto. “Why…should we come up with those [rules] that are general for the whole scientific community,” he asks, given the vast differences in practice between disciplines.
Fanelli, too, does not believe that “there can be any general rule that applies to all contexts”, adding that “any policy will have cost and benefits”.
“Concerns for [the] deleterious effects of a publish or perish culture have been expressed, in the literature, at least since the 1950s,” he says. “And the validity of these concerns is obvious enough. On the other hand, a system that did not place any kind of reward or value on the publication activities of researchers would hardly be functional. In general, if an academic is paid to devote part of her time to research, then it is legitimate for her employers to expect to see some results. It is in the interest of society at large, too. Research that never gets published is useless by definition.”
However, Sarah de Rijcke, director of the Centre for Science and Technology Studies at Leiden University and one of the authors of the Leiden Manifesto, says pressure to publish “becomes a problem when competition for journal publication leads to strains on existing journal space, the proliferation of pay-to-publish and predatory journals, and the manipulation of journal impact and citation statistics. It also becomes a problem for individuals when scientific careers are explicitly designed to emphasise traditional forms of productivity. It is detrimental for science if this numbers game is not balanced with a qualitative assessment.”
De Rijcke concedes that it may have made sense “30 years ago” to incentivise more publishing activity. “But, generally, I do not think today’s academics need external triggers to do something that has become such a fundamental part of the everyday work of being a researcher.”
James Wilsdon, professor of research policy at the University of Sheffield, who led the UK’s own 2015 review into the use of metrics, The Metric Tide, agrees that in developed systems, quantity drivers do not seem relevant any more. In North America and parts of Europe, most academics “have a high level of intrinsic motivation to want to undertake and produce good research”, so it is about organising funding in a way that makes the most of that motivation.
But “there are some systems where you have got more of a problem in terms of a culture of people just not producing…and there you [may] need more extrinsic drivers in the system to try and crank up the volume”.
He says the REF has evolved from its original incarnation as the research assessment exercise in the 1980s – when its mission was more overtly about increasing research volume – to something that is now, he believes, focused on quality and avoiding the wrong incentives.
The move in the latest REF to allow researchers to submit a minimum of just one piece of scholarship “is quite a sensible one because it does recognise that people produce outputs in different forms in and different rhythms…I think volume of papers is a very bad thing to be incentivising: far better to be incentivising people to do fewer but better things.”
So which national systems seem to have got the balance right between quality and quality?
Looking at data on the most highly cited research produced per academic researcher suggests that the Netherlands is one system that others should look to. Wilson suggests this may be because of its diversity of approaches to funding and assessment and also its position in Europe as an “open” system that is drawing talent and collaborations from other countries. But the fact that both the Netherlands and another country scoring well for highly cited research productivity, Switzerland, have high shares of international collaboration raises the question of whether this, in itself, influences the data.
Making your presence felt: authorship and highly cited research
Another interesting question is the degree to which China is moving from a quantity-driven model to a quality-driven one and whether this is a natural development for any emerging system.
Fanelli, whose own studies have identified China and India as “high-risk countries for scientific misconduct”, says this “is plausibly due to academics in some contexts [being] lured to publish by cash bonuses” that they receive for every paper published. In India, for instance, career advancement has been linked to publication since 2010. Only in 2017 did it introduce a vetted list of journals, and only this year did it take steps to remove the hundreds of predatory journals that had been included among the more legitimate ones. However, Fanelli adds that it is in „low ranking institutions that are fighting to emerge” that poor incentives seem to have the worst effect, and it may be a problem that resolves itself as those universities come to realise the futility of attempting to compete on research and switch their differentiation efforts to teaching.
Over the longer term, developing systems like China and India may also benefit from the increasingly detailed analyses being conducted about productivity and citation impact by academics. But whether their policymakers and governments make use of such evidence is open to question.
“Unfortunately, I don’t think that there is policy debate happening on this topic,” warns Cambridge’s Kolesnikov. “A stronger mutual dialogue and engagement between scholars and policymakers is needed to put recent advances in the ‘science of science’ – including our improved understanding of the productivity-impact relationship – into policy practice.”
Publicație : The Times
Universities should offer restorative justice for sexual misconduct victims
Facilitated meetings can encourage early admissions of guilt from perpetrators and provide recognition of victims’ experiences, says Clare McGlynn
The UK media’s continuing interest in the University of Warwick’s mishandling of rape threats against its students highlights the strains being placed on conventional disciplinary processes – and the reputational damage that can arise from getting it wrong.
According to The Times, Warwick has been forced to suspend its annual fundraising drive among its alumni after many of those contacted expressed anger at its decision earlier this year to reduce to one year the initial 10-year campus bans given to two male students who had repeatedly made rape threats against female peers on Facebook. It was subsequently announced that the men would not return, but two of the female students are considering legal action against the university over its handling of the scandal.
At the same time, the Office for Students said last month that while it welcomes action taken by English universities to tackle sexual violence and misconduct, there is far more to do. Subsequent discussions focused mainly on the need to encourage reporting, establish prevention programmes, recruit specialist staff and offer better leadership and governance. But while these are all important, what we are missing is any detailed discussion of alternative, potentially more transformative options for dealing with complaints.
One possibility is restorative justice. As part of a comprehensive approach to tackling sexual violence and misconduct, and in appropriate cases where the victim requests and the offender agrees, this may offer an additional form of justice for victims. It also has the potential to enhance prevention and rehabilitation.
Before going further, however, let’s be clear about what we mean. Restorative justice is not a generic form of “informal resolution”, of the kind well suited to student disputes over more minor issues, such as accommodation. Nor is it mediation, which is characterised by neutrality between the parties and an encouragement of compromise. Indeed, mediation is entirely inappropriate in cases of sexual violence and misconduct, which are not quarrels to be resolved by negotiation and a sharing of blame, but involve specific and serious harms caused by one person to another without their consent.
Restorative justice is predicated on an acknowledgement of responsibility by the accused. It is an umbrella term for a range of processes bringing together the offender, the victim and often other members of the community, with the aim of understanding the impact of the wrongdoing and resolving collectively how the accused can make amends to the victim and the wider community. It often takes the form of a face-to-face conference, facilitated by a trained practitioner with specialist expertise in sexual violence.
Many victims of sexual violence want some sort of redress but, understandably, do not want to go through the criminal justice system. They often speak of coming forwards out of concern that the offenders will harm others. They want an acknowledgement that they were wronged, and may also hope for some sort of (re)education of perpetrators.
Conventional university disciplinary processes, which were not designed for student-student complaints of sexual violence, are ill-equipped to meet these aspirations. Too often, they make matters worse, both for complainants and those accused. Lack of guidance and expertise around issues such as interviews, evidence, hearings and participation rights, as well as delays (often because of lack of resources), have left some victims traumatised.
In addition, these predominantly adversarial and individualised processes struggle with broader cultural concerns and attitudes, such as sexual harassment and misconduct among friendship groups or by sports teams. Such harms may be particularly suitable for restorative approaches.
The outcomes vary. They can include non-contact agreements, education and rehabilitation plans for offenders, and reparations such as time spent serving the community.
For victims, restorative justice may offer several advantages. It can encourage early admissions of guilt. It can provide recognition of their experiences. And it can give them greater voice and control, providing a meaningful forum to communicate the impact of those experiences.
Of course, restorative justice must only ever be part of a range of options, and can be additional to a disciplinary process, as well as an alternative. Nonetheless, there remains scepticism about its use in sexual violence cases. Understandably, it is feared that it may trivialise the offence, or that it might retraumatise victims or endanger their safety.
But while these risks are real, we must also recognise that both existing disciplinary processes and the criminal justice system are also very good at trivialising harms and instilling fear and trauma. Moreover, in the case of restorative justice, the risks can be reduced by specialist support and facilitation. All parties should be prepared for the face-to-face sessions by detailed psychological screening and, often, interventions.
Of course, this level of support doesn’t come cheap. Restorative justice is no quick fix; it requires commitment to working with experts to implement changes, all as part of a comprehensive approach to tackling sexual violence. And since it is likely to only be taken up by small numbers, it does not remove the urgency of reforming conventional disciplinary processes.
But if we are to be truly attentive to the interests of victims, and if we are to hold offenders to account in more educative and rehabilitative ways, universities must be open to such potentially transformative approaches.
Publicație : The Times
Justine Greening: next PM will not adopt Augar, levy is alternative
‘Inconceivable’ next PM will adopt Augar plans and graduate, employer levy plan is ‘only’ solution for England, says former education secretary
Former education secretary Justine Greening believes that the model she explored in government of funding English universities through a graduate contribution plus a “skills levy” on employers could be taken up by the next prime minister, as it is “inconceivable” that he would adopt the Augar review plans.
Ms Greening, who exited government in January 2018 as Theresa May pushed through the review, told Times Higher Education of her plan, which would abolish the system of tuition fee price tags and loans: “I suspect it’s exactly how we’ll end up reforming the system. In fact, I think it’s probably the only higher education bill that could get through Parliament.”
Ms Greening said that she would hold a round table meeting with universities and Conservative colleagues in the coming weeks “to look at the Augar review and to look at some of these other ideas…that we think can perhaps be stronger ways to reform the system”.
The Augar review’s recommendations on changes to the repayment system were “hugely regressive” in increasing the burden on low- and middle-earning graduates, while lowering it for those on higher incomes, Ms Greening said.
“I find it inconceivable that any future Conservative government that cares about…progressive funding of higher education and social mobility could take that kind of proposal forward,” she added.
Alongside former universities minister Jo Johnson, Ms Greening has been a vocal opponent of the review’s recommendations on higher education funding, which would keep in place the system of fees and loans. The review recommends that the fee cap be lowered from £9,250 a year to £7,500, with the Treasury providing replacement funding so that the average unit of resource remains unchanged, but with a shift towards high-cost subjects or those with greater “social and economic value”.
If the next government were to bring the Augar recommendations on tuition fees to Parliament, would Ms Greening rally opposition against the plans among Tory colleagues?
“I think many Conservative MPs were unhappy with the Augar review proposals on higher education and felt they [the recommendations] were against promoting social mobility and would vote against seeing them taken through the House of Commons,” Ms Greening said.
But she added: “I don’t think it will get to that stage [a Commons vote], because I don’t think the Augar review will be taken forward. Which is the other issue with it: you waste a year and a half, and we haven’t had the government’s response to Augar. I’m afraid politics is moving faster than a review like Augar was able to cope with.”
As education secretary she had “recognised there was an inherent fragility to the student finance system” supporting fees and loans given the low loan repayment rates, and that the government “couldn’t continue to raise fees year on year as a strategy” because there would “come a time when the level of debt young people were taking on…would genuinely put them off going”, Ms Greening said.
Her plan to create a system that was “more stable for the future” was “not per se a graduate tax”, but more akin to a “time-limited National Insurance” contribution, she said.
This graduate contribution would go into a “higher education fund”, she added. “I was interested in looking at whether businesses could contribute to that fund as well.” This employer contribution could come from “an overall skills levy that looked at both apprenticeships and degree-level investment,” Ms Greening continued.
The proposal, she said, was “my idea that I came up with, rather than one from the officials”. She asked Department for Education officials to “come back and tell me why it was a really bad idea – so I asked them to break it, basically”. By Christmas 2017, those officials had “come back to [tell] me that fundamentally it could work”, while “Treasury had had an initial look at it and was also open to it as a route forward”, Ms Greening said.
She argued that although the Augar review was not a deliberate effort by No 10 to kill off her own proposals, it nevertheless meant that “nascent policy reforms that could have been not only progressive, but allowed a better chance to address value for money in the sector and potentially for future millions of graduates lifted a burden of worry on debt…were not looked at by No 10 because they were myopically concerned about kicking off this review”.
Publicație : The Times
China trials dual academic-technical courses to drive status shift
Worries over economy and graduate employability prompt trial of ‘1+X’ model in 10 provinces
Some Chinese universities are switching to a hybrid model of combined academic and vocational education, as the country grapples with its unique demographic challenges as well as graduate employability problems akin to those afflicting higher education sectors elsewhere.
Universities and vocational colleges in about 10 Chinese provinces are piloting the “1+X” system, whereby students emerge with both academic degrees and a cluster of vocational certificates, under a plan that could see hundreds of undergraduate institutions assume a more applied focus by 2022.
The pilot, which started in March, is part of a broader pivot from higher to vocational education unveiled in February. The government has committed ¥100 billion (£12 billion) from the country’s unemployment insurance fund to overhaul vocational education teaching and facilities, upgrade the skills of a reported 15 million people – including recruiting a million additional vocational students this year alone – and tackle a mindset that vocational education is inferior to university study.
The plans illustrate not only the scale of reform in China but also the pace at which it can unfold, and the way in which demographics, economics, culture and labour force needs can collide to force a deflection in social policy.
The Chinese Ministry of Education’s director of vocational and adult education, Wang Jiping, said that while vocational and academic education were different, they had “the same important status”, according to the translation of a government-sanctioned press conference transcript.
The focus on vocational education has emerged amid record university graduations, with 8.34 million Chinese obtaining degrees this year – 140,000 more than in 2018 and about 2 million more than in 2010, according to Tsinghua University education researcher Zhou Zhong.
However, international education market intelligence site ICEF Monitor reported that the pool of jobs per graduate was shrinking, while the South China Morning Post recounted survey findings that graduates were competing for “a dwindling number of vacancies” in an economy struggling to sustain growth amid the trade war with the US.
In comments reported by business news channel CNBC, China’s top economic planning body said that domestic companies were cutting their intake of new university graduates. “Recruitment demand for university graduates is tightening in internet, finance and other industries,” said the statement from the National Development and Reform Commission. It said that some companies had reduced, postponed or suspended their campus recruiting efforts.
People without degrees are also finding it tougher to get jobs, according to the chair of Australian Studies at Peking University, Pookong Kee.
Meanwhile, China is grappling with a dwindling pool of workers. China’s working age population shrank by almost 3 per cent between 2011 and 2018, according to a report compiled by the Australian embassy in Beijing, and now accounts for about 65 per cent of the country’s population – with projections that this will have slumped to 57 per cent by 2030.
Professor Kee said that during festivals such as Chinese New Year, when workers returned to their home provinces, factories closed down for lack of technicians. “As China upgrades its manufacturing and other industries, they are looking for people with high skills,” he said.
But a “strong social stigma” had developed against training for such jobs in China and nearby South Korea, where a Confucian approach militated against vocational education. This attitude “places a premium on university”, he said.
Professor Kee said that new workers in some technical areas now commanded higher salaries than university graduates. Nevertheless, parents did not want their children working as technicians.
“Everybody wants their kids to go to the top universities,” he said, adding that the 1+X system – with its job-delivering vocational certificates as well as its face-saving degree – was a cultural as well as practical solution.
While information is sketchy on the number of universities offering 1+X, the Australian Embassy said those that embraced the model would be rebadged as “universities of applied sciences”. Reports on government websites do not specify how many institutions are expected to sign up, but say that participation this year is not limited to the officially sanctioned pilot regions.
Dr Zhong said that the ministry planned to “scale up” to more regions in 2020 and to introduce the model throughout China’s higher vocational colleges, which collectively account for 53 per cent of the country’s higher education institutions. She added: “The plan is to have all [the colleges], if not yet all of their programmes, adopt the model in 2022.
“The Ministry of Education’s increased funding and rapid expansion of vocational education sends a signal to the Chinese people about [its] growing value.”
Dr Zhong said that China’s tertiary gross enrolment rate was expected to reach 50 per cent in 2020. “For those who go [into] the labour market after undergraduate education, there is increased need to distinguish themselves,” she added.
“The 1+X qualification may well differentiate the bearers from those who only have academic degrees from general higher education institutions.”
Hiroshima University education researcher Futao Huang said that Chinese universities would inevitably become more practically oriented if higher education enrolments continued to rise.
He said that the government’s plan would also foster utilisation of vocational colleges – some of which have reportedly been at 30 per cent capacity – by focusing on employability, strengthening ties with industry and creating “more flexible pathways” for their graduates.
Dr Zhong said that the government also planned to widen vocational colleges’ admissions from the traditional intake of high school leavers to include retired servicemen, laid-off workers and migrants from rural areas.
Publicație : The Times
More young disadvantaged students from England apply for university
Ucas releases figures on deprivation for the first time alongside 30 June deadline statistics
Applications to UK universities from young people in the most deprived areas of England have risen by 6 per cent on the previous year, while the number from the most advantaged areas has dropped by 1 per cent, Ucas figures show.
For the first time, Ucas has released data on the backgrounds of UK applicants made by the 30 June deadline, the final deadline before the clearing stage begins, based on their level of disadvantage.
Using the government’s Index of Multiple Deprivation, the data show that the number of English 18-year-olds applying from quintile 1 – classed as the most deprived areas – rose from 36,560 in 2018 to 38,770 in 2019.
In contrast, the number of 18-year-old applicants from quintile 5 – the least deprived areas – fell from 63,530 to 63,180.
Overall, there were 418,940 applications from English-domiciled students in 2019, down 1 per cent from 421,610 in 2018.
The Office for Students has called for universities, particularly the UK’s most selective institutions, to erase the entry gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged studentsand to accept applicants from the least advantaged areas with lower grades.
Using the IMD measure, the Ucas statistics show that applications by English mature students – an age group where disadvantaged numbers outweigh advantaged – fell for both the most and least deprived, by 3 and 6 per cent, respectively.
The number of mature student applications has been dropping since the 2012 changes to tuition fees.
For the first time, the number of 19-year-old English applicants from the most deprived areas, 16,030, outnumbered applicants from the least deprived areas, which fell by 6 per cent to 15,880.
Across all age groups, the number of applicants from the most deprived areas grew by 2 per cent to 84,940 in 2019, and the number of applicants from the least deprived areas dropped by 3 per cent to 93,740.
In Scotland, applications from the most deprived areas increased by 3 per cent while those from the least deprived areas declined by 5 per cent. Application numbers from the most deprived areas in Wales grew by 1 per cent and applications from the least deprived areas slipped by 4 per cent. Northern Ireland recorded drops in applicants by 4 and 6 per cent, respectively.
Ucas also released the data on the participation of local areas (POLAR) classification, another way of measuring disadvantage, which groups neighbourhoods across the UK based on the proportion of the young population that participates in higher education.
The figures showed a growth of 3 per cent for applications from 18-year-olds in the UK from the most disadvantaged areas, compared with a less than 1 per cent growth from the most advantaged areas.
Ucas found that 39.5 per cent of all 18-year-olds in England submitted an application, up from 38.1 per cent at the same point last year.
The number of applicants from outside the European Union rose by 8 per cent. The growth in applicants from China was particularly noticeable: rising by 30 per cent to 19,760.
This meant that, for the first time, there are more applicants from China than Northern Ireland, which saw applications fall by 4 per cent to 18,520. EU applicant numbers increased by 1 per cent.
Chris Skidmore, the universities minister, said it was “fantastic to see there are record rates of 18-year-olds in England, including an increase from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, applying to university, along with increasing numbers of applications from international students, too.”
Publicație : The Times
Contrairement à Paris, sept Sciences Po de région vont maintenir un concours écrit
Sept instituts d’études politiques (IEP) ont annoncé mercredi maintenir des épreuves écrites anonymes d’admission, au nom de l’«équité». Ils intégreront aussi trois notes du nouveau baccalauréat dès 2021.
Les IEP d’Aix, Lille, Lyon, Rennes, Saint-Germain, Strasbourg, Toulouse ont donc fait un choix différent de celui de Sciences Po Paris. Alors que l’école de la rue Saint-Guillaume (Paris 7) avait annoncé fin juin mettre fin à son concours d’entrée en première année au profit d’une admission sur dossier, ces sept «Sciences Po de province» ont annoncé qu’ils allaient continuer à intégrer une épreuve écrite à leur processus de sélection, tout en ajoutant des résultats du nouveau baccalauréat prévu pour 2021. Ce choix permet selon ces sept IEP de «promouvoir l’excellence, assurer l’équité et valoriser la diversité des profils».
«Permettant chaque année à plus de 10 000 candidats de passer un seul et même concours d’entrée, le réseau Sciences Po intègre ParcourSup en janvier 2020. Pour tous les candidats, l’inscription au concours commun est désormais gérée par la plateforme ParcourSup, comme le sont les résultats au concours et l’affectation dans les sept Sciences Po du réseau», explique un communiqué de ce réseau, confirmant une information du Monde. Le prochain concours commun se déroulera «le 18 avril 2020 dans 17 centres d’examen».
En 2020, «les thèmes pour l’épreuve de Questions contemporaines, sont «le Secret» et «Révolutions». Désormais, un des deux thèmes est conservé pendant deux ans. L’épreuve d’histoire devient une analyse de document(s), directement inspirée de l’épreuve du baccalauréat. Le concours comporte également une épreuve de langues», précise le communiqué.
Épreuves de bac
À partir de 2021, «l’admission reposera sur les trois épreuves écrites, et trois notes du nouveau baccalauréat: deux notes de spécialités et une note de contrôle continu de langue vivante, autre que celle choisie à l’écrit du concours. Il s’agit ainsi de valoriser l’investissement des élèves et la pluralité des parcours au lycée», assure-t-on.
Le concours «doit être accessible à tout lycéen et assurer la richesse des profils retenus. (…). Le travail de préparation au concours s’inscrit en cohérence avec le parcours de première et de terminale. Le concours commun reste ouvert aux bacheliers de l’année et aux bacheliers de l’année précédente».
Publicație : Le Figaro
Discrimination positive des étudiants, une révolution à bas bruit
Des quotas de boursiers vont être mis en place à l’entrée des instituts d’études politiques, qui vont rejoindre la plateforme Parcoursup.
Il y a quelques années, cela aurait fait scandale. On aurait crié à la menace sur le niveau, alerté sur la rupture d’égalité entre les candidats… Oser introduire une touche de discrimination positive dans le temple de l’élitisme républicain – nos grandes écoles – aurait, à coup sûr, fait surgir un torrent d’inquiétudes dans le monde politique et académique.
Et pourtant, le principe d’un coup de pouce aux classes sociales les plus défavorisées est en train de s’installer, à bas bruit, dans l’enseignement supérieur. Parcoursup, le système d’affectation des lycéens après le bac, agit comme une petite révolution. Voilà deux sessions qu’est appliqué un « pourcentage minimal de bacheliers retenus bénéficiaires d’une bourse nationale de lycée », lié à la part de boursiers parmi les candidats, à l’entrée des universités, des classes préparatoires, en STS et en IUT. L’an prochain, ces taux seront mis en place dans les instituts d’études politiques de région. A Sciences Po Paris, ce sera en 2021. La discrimination positive en direction des boursiers, instaurée par la loi orientation et réussite des étudiants promulguée en 2018, est à l’œuvre, sans levée de boucliers.
« On est en train de faire ce que la France a toujours vu avec beaucoup de répulsion : des quotas, constate le sociologue François Dubet. On va tenir compte des origines sociales, et cela est bien plus décisif que le choix de la forme de sélection entre oraux, dossier ou épreuves écrites. » « C’est une révolution pour l’enseignement supérieur sélectif », poursuit Vincent Tiberj, professeur de sociologie en charge du groupe de travail sur la réforme des modalités d’entrée à Sciences Po Bordeaux. Lui, comme nombre d’observateurs n’ont pas manqué d’être surpris, aucun ne s’attendait à ce qu’une telle mesure passe si facilement, au pays du concours républicain, censé mettre tout le monde sur un pied d’égalité.
« Etiquette »
« C’est une politique des petits pas », résume la sociologue Annabelle Allouch. Au début des années 2000, la création d’une voie spéciale d’entrée à Sciences Po Paris pour les lycéens d’établissement de quartiers défavorisés partenaires, à côté du concours, provoque encore de fortes résistances. Une décennie plus tard, en 2009, Valérie Pécresse, alors ministre de l’enseignement supérieur, fixe un objectif chiffré : « 30 % de boursiers dans les grandes écoles. »L’opposition s’exprime encore avec véhémence. Au cours du quinquennat Hollande, ce sont des quotas de bacheliers professionnels et technologiques qui sont progressivement instaurés en BTS et en DUT, au début des années 2010.
Publicație : Le Monde
Test Invalsi, il 35% degli studenti di terza media non capisce un testo d’Italiano. E al Sud 8 su 10 in ritardo sull’Inglese
I risultati delle Prove nazionali: leggeri miglioramenti per Matematica e Lingue alla secondaria di primo grado. L’Istituto di valutazione: „Il Meridione ha studenti in grande sofferenza”. Il ministro Bussetti: „Motivi di preoccupazione”
ROMA – I risultati delle prove Invalsi nazionali, che quest’anno contemplano anche l’analisi di qualità e attitudini dei nostri studenti di quinta superiore, mostrano un livello critico degli apprendimenti di bambini (seconda e quinta elementare), adolescenti (terza media) e ragazzi (seconda superiore e, appunto, quinta). Si avverte un leggero miglioramento, rispetto al 2018, per gli studenti della scuola superiore di primo grado, soprattutto in Matematica e Inglese, ma le larghe zone d’ombra faticano ad essere illuminate. L’istruzione al Sud resta un’emergenza. Così come, soprattutto nel Meridione d’Italia, l’idea di una scuola equa.
Campania, Calabria, Sicilia alle medie: tre anni persi
I livelli di assimilazione in Italiano, Matematica e Inglese mostrano differenze marcate nel Paese e le distanze, ancora contenute nella scuola elementare, crescono alle medie e diventano rilevanti alle superiori (il lavoro mette in discussione il convincimento collettivo che le medie inferiori siano il buco nero dell’istruzione italiana, sono solo uno dei passaggi critici). Bene, in seconda elementare il blocco di chi raggiunge risultati largamente insufficienti in Italiano (si parla di comprensione del testo) è pari al 20 per cento: uno scolaro ogni cinque. E se in Umbria e Basilicata quest’area supera di poco il 10 per cento, in Calabria si arriva al 24 per cento (peggio ancora nella provincia autonoma di Bolzano, ma in questo caso dipende dalla larga platea discente di lingua tedesca). Nelle stesse classi – sempre la seconda della primaria – la forbice si allarga se si prende in esame Matematica. La media dei „largamente insufficienti” del Paese qui è pari al 28 per cento, in Campania e in Calabria si arriva al 35. Vanno segnalati, anche in questo caso, i risultati confortanti della Basilicata con una quota di forte sofferenza sotto il 15 per cento, la più bassa tra le venti regioni italiane. Alle ampie difficoltà scolastiche del Sud si sottrae anche la Puglia.
Il sistema scolastico nell’Italia meridionale e nelle Isole non solo continua a essere meno efficace rispetto all’Italia centrale e soprattutto settentrionale, ma coltiva un’ingiustizia di censo. La variabilità dei risultati tra scuole differenti e tra classi presenti nello stesso plesso, nel primo ciclo d’istruzione, è consistente e in ogni caso più alta che al Nord e al Centro, così come sono più elevate le percentuali di alunni con status socio-economico basso che non raggiungono livelli adeguati nelle prove. In particolare, in Campania, Calabria, Sicilia e Sardegna. Rispetto al 2018, tuttavia, alcune variazioni in positivo si osservano anche nella macro-area del Sud, nel primo ciclo d’istruzione e nel biennio del secondo ciclo.
La crescita costante delle differenze Nord-Sud tra i 7 e i 19 anni si vede già con le prove Invalsi di quinta elementare. Gli allievi in „forte difficoltà” nella comprensione di un testo salgono nel Paese al 25 per cento: vuol dire uno su quattro. Calabria e Sicilia viaggiano, invece, hanno percentuali di dieci punti peggiori. Umbria e Marche mostrano una sofferenza intorno al 15 per cento: meno della metà rispetto all’estremo Sud. La Matematica allo stesso livello scolastico – stiamo parlando di pre-adolescenti di undici anni – acuisce le differenze: i „gravemente insufficienti” nel Paese diventano quasi un quarto, quelli della Calabria quasi quattro su dieci (con la Basilicata che detiene ancora il risultato migliore: 15 per cento di „ritardi seri”). Anche in Inglese lo stacco tra Settentrione e Meridione è netto. Nella comprensione (listening) si trova sotto il livello A1, l’Inglese basico, il 15 per cento degli scolari italiani di quinta e il 32 per cento degli scolari sardi.
In terza media le differenze non si contengono più e i ritardi scolastici meridionali diventano una frattura nazionale. I problemi nella comprensione di un Italiano adeguato all’età si fanno seri in tutto il Paese: il 35 per cento dei quattordicenni, infatti, è al livello 1 e 2 (su una scala di cinque), ma in Calabria addirittura uno studente su due ha problemi di comprensione di un testo. Le Marche mostrano anche alle medie i risultati migliori. Per comprendere cosa si intende per livello 1 nella comprensione di un testo in terza media, l’Invalsi indica questo specchietto: „Al livello 1 l’allievo individua singole informazioni date esplicitamente in parti circoscritte di un testo. Mette in relazione informazioni facilmente rintracciabili nel testo e, utilizzando anche conoscenze personali, ricava semplici informazioni non date esplicitamente. Conosce e usa le parole del lessico di base e riesce a ricostruire il significato di singole parole o espressioni non note, ma facilmente comprensibili”.
Passando all’insidiosa Matematica la sofferenza tra gli studenti italiani, sempre in terza media, sale al 38 per cento – si parla di difficoltà rispetto a nozioni base -. In Sardegna e in Campania si supera il 50 per cento, in Sicilia ci si avvicina al 60 e in Calabria sono sei i ragazzi ogni dieci che non conoscono i ferri del mestiere della disciplina. „Possiamo dire che in larghe parti del Sud ci sono adolescenti che affrontano l’esame di terza media avendo competenze da quinta elementare”, spiega Roberto Ricci, direttore generale dell’Invalsi, l’Istituto nazionale di valutazione del sistema educativo. Sulla comprensione dell’Inglese, ancora, i „gravi ritardi” in Valle d’Aosta sono poco meno di uno su cinque, in Sicilia sfiorano il 65 per cento.
Inglese, maggioranza dei maturandi sotto il livello B1
In seconda superiore gli „scarsi” in Italiano sono il 30 per cento, oltre il 45 in Calabria e Sardegna. I migliori risultati si vedono in Valle d’Aosta, Veneto e nelle due province autonome di Trento e Bolzano. Le forti difficoltà in Matematica sono al 38 per cento sul livello medio nazionale e oltre il 60 in Sardegna. Nella stessa disciplina i guai (e le differenze) esplodono in quinta: all’esame di Maturità approdano diciannovenni che nel 42 per cento dei casi hanno lacune larghe. In Calabria e in Sicilia i „gravi ritardi” superano il 60 per cento, in Campania si tocca l’aliquota sessanta, in Sardegna la si sfiora. Sull’Inglese il livello è imbarazzante (per la scuola italiana, ben prima che per i ragazzi). In Calabria quasi sette maturandi su dieci non riesce a leggerlo, in Calabria e in Sicilia l’85 per cento non lo comprende (al livello richiesto seguendo standard europei). Il dato medio del Paese sulla seconda lingua resta da allarme rosso: quasi il 50 per cento non sa leggere, il 65 per cento non raggiunge il livello B1 previsto, appunto, dai programmi di quinta superiore.
Le ragazze meglio nelle Lettere (italiane e straniere)
In seconda primaria, la differenza tra maschi e femmine nei risultati delle prove Invalsi è di tre punti in Italiano, a favore delle seconde, e tre punti in Matematica, a favore dei primi. In quinta elementare le pre-adolescenti superano i coetanei di nove punti in Italiano mentre una differenza di sei punti si registra, ma a parti rovesciate, in Matematica. Nell’Inglese, sia nell’ascolto che nella lettura, le femmine conseguono un risultato migliore, di quattro punti nel primo caso e di sei punti nel secondo. In terza media la differenza si attesta a nove punti in Italiano e a tre punti in Matematica, a vantaggio nel primo caso delle femmine e nel secondo dei maschi. In Inglese, come già in quinta primaria, le studentesse ottengono un punteggio più alto dei maschi di sette lunghezze nella prova di ascolto e otto nella prova di lettura.
Gli stranieri faticano con le cifre, bene in Inglese
In tutti i gradi gli alunni stranieri ottengono in Italiano e in Matematica punteggi nettamente più bassi di quelli degli italiani. Le distanze tendono, però, a diminuire nel passaggio tra la prima e la seconda generazione d’immigrati e nel corso dell’itinerario scolastico, in particolare in Matematica, materia dove pesa meno la padronanza della lingua del Paese ospitante. In terza media, classe terminale del primo ciclo d’istruzione, la differenza tra italiani e stranieri di seconda generazione è, a livello nazionale, di diciotto punti in Italiano e di nove in Matematica. Nella scuola secondaria di secondo grado il divario in Lettere tra gli studenti italiani e quelli d’origine straniera si attesta sul piano nazionale, in seconda superiore, a ventiquattro punti rispetto agli stranieri di prima generazione e a tredici rispetto agli stranieri di seconda. In Matematica le differenze sono rispettivamente di diciassette e sette punti. Per i maturandi le distanze si riducono a diciassette e nove punti in Italiano e a nove e cinque punti in Matematica.
La sola materia dove gli alunni stranieri conseguono risultati simili a quelli dei loro compagni italiani è l’Inglese: in varie regioni, gli stranieri, in particolare di seconda generazione e nella prova di ascolto, fanno meglio degli italiani. Considerando l’Italia nel suo insieme, in quinta elementare gli alunni stranieri di prima e seconda generazione superano di alcuni punti gli italiani nell’ascolto, ma non nella lettura.
I dati del Rapporto Invalsi – l’adesione ai test in quinta superiore è stata del 96,4 per cento – evidenziano „innegabili motivi di preoccupazione, ma anche motivi di novità e interesse”. Lo ha detto il ministro dell’Istruzione Marco Bussetti alla presentazione dei risultati, oggi alla Camera. „L’Invalsi è uno strumento che consente di avere una foto articolata e dettagliata del nostro lavoro”, ha aggiunto, „come ministero siamo convinti dell’importanza della valutazione standardizzata degli apprendimenti che, tuttavia, si deve integrare e affiancare all’insostituibile ruolo della valutazione dei docenti”. Critico il presidente della Commissione Cultura della Camera, Luigi Gallo (M5s): “Le valutazioni da sole non bastano se non si attiva un processo di miglioramento. Da vent’anni si mappano i guasti, senza però lavorare alle soluzioni. È necessario investire più risorse per sviluppare processi di miglioramento, per esempio rafforzando l’azione di Istituti di ricerca come Indire a cui va dato un ruolo cardine nella formazione e nella promozione concreta di processi di miglioramento della scuola”
Publicație : La Repubblica