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    Universidad Tecnológica de la Mixteca Directorio

    Dr. Modesto Seara Vázquez Rector

    M.C. Gerardo García Hernández Vice-Rector Académico

    C.P. José Javier Ruiz Santiago Vice-Rector Administrativo

    Lic. María de los Ángeles Peralta Arias Vice-Rectora de Relaciones y Recursos

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    First Spanish edition, May 2009. ISBN: 978-607-95222-1-6

    Second Spanish edition, March 2010. ISBN: 978-607-95222-1-6

    This is an updated translation into English of the book “Un

    Nuevo Modelo de Universidad. Universidades para el Desa-

    rrollo”, first published by the Universidad Tecnológica de la

    Mixteca in 2009, with a Second updated Edition in 2010.

    Diseño:Eruvid Cortés Camacho

    D.R. 2010 Modesto Seara Vázquez Universidad Tecnológica de la Mixteca Carretera a Acatlima, Km. 2.5. Huajuapan de León, Oax. C.P. 69000

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    In the following pages I offer my conceptions of what a university

    should be. They are ideas generated by a long academic life in vari-

    ous countries and continents. However, I spent the longest period of

    time in Mexico, in Mexico City and the last twenty years in the state

    of Oaxaca. My academic background in the field of international

    relations has forced me to always keep an eye in what is happening

    on the world stage. This has allowed me to incorporate knowledge

    and experiences to the university project that I have had the enor-

    mous privilege to develop.

    As is natural, not everyone will agree with my opinions regarding

    the idea of university; I would be disappointed if they did. However,

    I want to invoke three things in my support: one, these are not im-

    provised ideas, but the fruit of a wealth of experience in the field of

    universities to various degrees; two, I hope to have demonstrated

    with the facts that these ideas work and the possibility of combining

    theory and practise is something that not many university theorists

    have been able to do; three, I have expressed my ideas with the same

    freedom with which I have been applying them over the decades. It

    is my hope that in other geographical environments where similar

    situations exist they will benefit from the Oaxaca experience, as

    this model is perfectly exportable.


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    It was and still is an enormous challenge in which I gradual-

    ly became involved. I had the unique opportunity to conceive and

    carry out a university project, of public universities, in which my

    own ideas are applied. Against all the odds and the most difficult

    circumstances, political, social, economic and also geographical, it

    can be said that we have achieved considerable results. As in all

    projects of this kind there are contributions from many people from

    both inside and outside the universities and it is just to recognize

    this. In the second part, dedicated especially to the practice, I men-

    tion the most significant names, to which I would have to add many

    of my collaborators who have tolerated my impatience beyond that

    which should be reasonably expected. However, in what is referred

    to as the oaxacan experience, I should say in my defence that it

    has been twenty years of long working days and constant travel-

    ling, almost always by highway because of the difficult geography of

    Oaxaca which ranges from sea level to high mountainous regions.

    Apart from the weekends, I hardly ever stay in place for more than

    one night. Until now I have had the good fortune of being in excel-

    lent health which has enabled me to withstand these excesses and

    I should confess that I feel extremely proud of the work which has

    been carried out and the results obtained. Above all, I feel proud

    of the overall consensus which has been achieved in Oaxaca with

    regards to this project which is seen as belonging to all the oaxacan


    Since this project is still a work in progress, I can’t speak in the

    past about everything. In what is referred to as being my ideas about

    university, I don’t believe that at this stage they will change funda-

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    mentally. However, in practice we are still in plain combat, achiev-

    ing things which we hadn’t been able to until now, creating new

    challenges and innovative projects such as the NovaUniversitas. We

    are also creating areas of technological development with the re-

    search centres which we have established.

    Today Oaxaca has, like it or not, a firm place in the Mexican

    scientific and technological fields and we have shown by way of

    everything we have achieved that we can rise above any chal-

    lenge. With this willingness to provide something important for

    the government and people of Oaxaca, we hope that the social

    and economic challenges facing Oaxaca today will be in the near

    future a thing of the past.

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    Part I The Theory

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    1. The social context

    The start of the 21st century sees an extremely complex society,

    characterised by a clash of two apparently contradictory trends:

    On the one hand, the reduction of the political units which had

    been in force for decades or centuries and the discredit of all insti-

    tutions, that haven’t been able to respond to the needs of modern


    On the other hand, an evident and unstoppable tendency to-

    wards the progressive unification of societies in a phenomenon con-

    fusingly described as globalisation1 or interdependence.

    The unification process is presented under diverse manifesta-

    tions and could also be interpreted as a confluence of partially uni-

    fying processes in a continuous acceleration. This has extremely

    important consequences for any analysis that is done about the

    concept of university in modern times, a concept which has a lot

    more universal validity today than it had before.

    1 “As a center for the generation of knowledge the university has the strategic com- promise to transform its immediate and mediate environment, in order to perma- nently improve the quality of life of the population, which must be understood not only as an answer to the people´s demands for goods and services but also to promote cultural development and the conservation and improvement of the en- vironment. Besides, the university must assume responsibility for the insertion of the different local, regional and national sectors of the economy into the inter- national markets”). See Alberto Romero, ‘Universidad y Globalización’ in Revista de Ciencias Sociales (RCS) Vol. VII, Jan-April 2001, pp.141-151. Universidad de Zulía. Maracaibo, Venezuela. Others, Joseph S. Nye Jr., and John D. Donahue (Editors) Governance in a globalizing world…. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, c2000; Banco Mundial, Globalization, growth and poverty: build- ing an inclusive world economy. Washington, D.C.: World Bank 2001; Subhash C. Jain, Towards a global business confederation: a blueprint for globalization. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2003; Mike Moore,. A world without walls: freedom, development, free trade and global governance. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

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    In today’s world which is growing increasingly smaller and uni-

    formized, it is indispensable to consider the problems presented by

    the contradiction between the legitimate aspirations of the people to

    conserve their traditional values which have been formed over count-

    less generations and the undeniable fact of the movement towards

    a universal culture with common values and aspirations2. In the

    analysis of this confrontation two extreme positions are clear: those

    people who regret the weakening and progressive disapearence of

    the local cultural values and those who praise the rising of a truly

    universal culture.

    In this analysis the judgement of values is always confused with

    the problem of recognising the existence of a reality. The most sen-

    sible thing is to accept that not all local values are positive, nor are

    the universal values which are substituted for them. Very often,

    the values which are presented as the reflection of a culture, in all

    its meaning, of the people, are no more than an imposition of the

    ruling classes and have frequently served as simple instruments of

    domination. Equally, the universal cultural forms which are spread-

    ing throughout the world and are presented as a manifestation of

    the general aspirations of all the peoples are in fact the result of the

    manipulation of information by those who, through technological

    and economic power, are able to control the mass media and can

    impose standards of consumption and conduct. They shouldn´t pre-

    2. About the interpretation of universal values, Rushworth M. Kidder, Shared Values for a Troubled World: Conversations With Men and Women of Conscience; San Francisco: Jossey Bass 1994, and Modesto Seara Vázquez, La Hora Decisi