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What role should play Higher Education in Social Change ?

Last week, Princeton University and the Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme associated each other and organized the Princeton-Fung Global Forum. During one week, actors of Higher Education in the world met at the Hotel de Ville de Paris to debate about the future of Higher Education. On Friday, the Dean of HEC Paris, Bernard Ramanantsoa introduced the topic « Universities and development : how are universities agents of Social Change ? »
 [ Les acteurs des grandes universities mondiales se sont retrouvées la semaine dernière pour débattre du futur de l'éducation supérieure. C'est le doyen d'HEC Paris, Bernard Ramanantsoa, qui a introduit le débat vendredi sur le sujet "Universités et développement : en quoi les universités sont-elles acteurs du changement social ?" ]

University : a chance of Social immersion

Nowadays, universities have the purpose of training more responsible citizens. Indeed, governments were enable to predict the economic crisis whereas Universities provide students with the best education ever. Therefore they became the best places to invest : more and more private founds invest in higher education thinking they are the only ones able to anticipate the crisis thanks to academic surveys and researches. They provide society with the minimum of stability we need in the world. Thanks to them, students learn how to understand globalization and its consequences through meetings, trips and cultural experiences. « Generosity and knowledge are the most important values student should learn at University » said Ambuj Sagar, professor of policy studies at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi. Although, Universities see Globalization and the emerging market as opportunities to develop partnerships. Besides students are taught discrimination : « it is a social issue we have to cope with. Students have to be aware of its existence. »
[ Désormais, les universités tiennent compte du phénomène de mondialisation dans leurs enseignements. La mondialisation devient un enjeu pour les universités qui souhaitent dévlopper leurs partenariats et inculquer des valeurs mondiales. ]

Thus, University becomes the meeting point for next generations. They no longer think locally, global becomes the main point of courses. Higher Education emerges as the new critical force. Contrary to media which speak the « politically correct », Universities want to spread a critical mind among their students. « We are not here to create robots. Learning means being able to critic, positively or not, the decisions taken at a higher level. We want to make people more responsible. » One of the most important change remains climate. In Higher education, students are trained to the coming main challenges in the world such as Climate Change.
[ L'enseignement supérieur vise à former des esprits critiques capables d'aller à l'encontre du politiquement correct dispensé par les gouvernements. Les étudiants deviennent ainsi les acteurs de ce changement social. ]

It is high time for governments to understand the role that play Universities in the main current debated issues. « We are no longer only players. We live in this social change and students are the best to make change occure. »

Olympe Muller