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PSD Education and Science Committee deputy defends Polytechnic Universities


For António Cunha, the change of name is an investment in the internationalization of companies and in the progress of the country

The second debate of the itinerary "Higher Education: Betting on the Future of Portugal", an initiative promoted by the Presidency of Polytechnic of Porto, took place yesterday, late afternoon, 5th December. The session was attended by a number of personalities and by several PSD deputies elected by the Oporto Electoral Circle and was an opportunity for joint reflection on the importance for the country of polytechnic higher education institutions being able to confer PhD degrees and to change their designation from "Polytechnic Institutes" to "Polytechnic Universities".

The debate was led by the President of P.PORTO, Paulo Pereira, by the former Secretary of State for Higher Education, Pedro Lourtie, one of the main promoters of the Citizens' Legislative Initiative concerning the "national and international valorisation of Polytechnic Education", by João Pedro Pereira, President of FNAESP, and by José Luís Gaspar, Mayor of Amarante. António Cunha, Coordinator of the VIII Education and Science Commission of the PSD, and MP for the Oporto Electoral Circle, was one of the MPs who expressed his support for the initiative of polytechnics to award PhDs.

"This session was very enlightening, especially at a time when the Portuguese Parliament is working on this issue", he said, stressing the enormous responsibility that institutions such as the Polytechnic of Porto have in the progress of the country, in the development of the business fabric and in the production of empirical knowledge. For the deputy, "from a personal point of view it seems more than fair that the polytechnics can grant PhDs and continue with the excellent work they have been doing".

"This only interests the country," he adds, considering it unnecessary to have noise in this discussion. "We have to be objective in understanding what is best for the country", considering partnership doctorates an injustice. "We have to analyse how equitable this reality is and how [the possibility of polytechnics granting doctorates] confers equal circumstances to our higher education institutions."

Still in the context of the country's socio-economic development, António Cunha highlighted the importance of changing the designation to polytechnic universities "facilitating the attraction of international students at a time when demographic contraction is a reality".

The Mayor of Amarante expressed his support to the expectations of polytechnics, underlining how the municipality and the companies of the region have developed a logic of proximity and very fruitful collaboration with P.PORTO. "In a world that is becoming more and more global, in which we want to be competitive, move the focus of the territory out of the region and spread throughout Europe, only the contribution of specialized knowledge allows us to leverage the region".

For José Luís Gaspar, the change of name is a necessity. "Just look at the European context" and the issue of awarding doctorates becomes crucial. "In what was debated today, there are already doctorates [in polytechnics], but with the need to use a surrogate [the granting is done by the universities] and this, unfortunately, is a common situation in the country and that should be changed." "This discussion was fundamental," he concluded, adding that, "if we wish to be Europeans, we have to be so in our own right."