The evaluated university | Antón Capitel

George Couloris, whom Kane interprets to the tutor of Kane, the banker Walter Parks Thatcher in a Citizen Kane | Citizen Kane trailer (1941) | RKO Radio Pictures

With some frequency it appears in the press – that can never avoid what should ignore intelligently – a supposed “ranking” of the Universities, in relation to the investigation or to the totality, and where always there appear big holders in whom one affirms that the Spanish women are to the tail, none between the 100 first ones of the world.

Naturally, the press always reports badly, and does not say to us where these supposed 100 better universities are. It is not difficult to know it: only they might be in The United States, Canada, England, France, Holland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. Doubtfully in Belgium, Norway or Austria. Simply impossible in Italy. In Switzerland there is something more than the protection of the financial delinquency? In end, which I do not believe myself at all. Do not be to what the universities measure up, but, in my condition of university old man, I am sure that the procedures are mistaken and, in addition, cheated. I have a lot of experience in evaluation of the investigation and have stumbled often over supposedly objective criteria and, actually inappropriate and absurd. Invented by those that there want to evaluate certain well universities or certain and supposed investigators; this is, almost always for Americans, the theoretical one – but only theoretical – mother land of the good universities.

In Spain there are many, too many universities, and enough of unexpected them. But many more work reasonably well. Here it is a real interest to protest about the universities, but already our country wanted that everything was working so well as them. The Spanish universities work better enough than great part of the public administrations, that the administration of justice, that the professional colleges, that the bank and economic system, and that the immense majority of the companies. The Spanish universities are responsible mostly for the high level of the country in all the aspects, and his investigation is good enough, very good and the the most ample if it is considered in relation by the scantiest means which he has.

And if the Spanish universities are bad, what they do the families sending systematicly them to all his children? They will not be so bad judging by the enormous abundance of matriculation, much any more of the reasonable thing, and the first person in charge of the university proliferation. But, at last, that in Spain there are many university licentiates it is not so bad for the country. He can be a villain for them same, but not for the company. If an architect is used of bank or an attorney is in charge of a bar, is not very good for them, but it is not so bad for his clients. The company will need other things, better, but if there is many licensed the matter it is not so bad.

That all the professions could be notaries, recorders of the property or air-traffic controllers, I put for case, between other many possible reforms. Something would be solved, and we would not have Rajoy, for example, receiving 200.000 Euros a year for hiring his Record (news of the press, some time ago) and to devote itself to the bad politics. And that has less pleaded, certainly, that control completely the politics, the public function, the judicature and all his boundaries, the world of the companies, and that flood with his awkward mentality leguleya the whole country. To reform the university would be, first, to diminish the powers of the evil called Law and to diminish consistently the gavelas and advantages of these licentiates, who dominate unduly and ineffectively anyone that is the matter, protecting systematicly the privileges of his congéneres.

To judge to the Universities as unitary entities is, on the other hand, a bilge. The universities are composed by many powers, schools and institutes. They are not homogeneous. A few institutions will be good, different mediocre and different bad. The Spanish universities are not, certainly, homogeneous, for what sense does not make evaluate them like globalidades. I do not believe that in other countries it is too different.

Only I have real experience it brings over of the Spanish Schools of Architecture, and, also, of some foreigners, of many, actually. Up to the proliferation of universities public and private roads of last years, execrable blight against which nobody has moved a finger, the Spanish Schools of Architecture were good enough, mine – that of the Technical University of Madrid-, excellently, for our fortune well recognized by so many people abroad, since it demonstrates in the practice the students’ abundance of the whole world. And since there demonstrates the great quantity of good professionals – this is, the quality of the education – and of the great quantity of good studies and publications. And it is not an isolated School; other many Spanish women also are good. In Spain, the education of the architecture is high-level.

But, the one who does measure it? And, especially, to whom is he interested in it? The good Spanish architects do not serve for anything, so not even the administrations use them to solve better the plannings of the cities and of the territory, which leave pettifoggers and mediocre professionals to give better service to the speculation, since at sight it is, and even they nor are used systematicly as designers. Only the administrations, often, good architects search, but different many, and, especially, the so called “civil society”, look always for the worst, since a simple look to our urban realities demonstrates.

The administration, in addition, puts increasingly you unite the good professionals and he is fixing them up to prevent the good architecture. Finger to mention that in many official contests the weight of the quality of the project performs equivalent to the importance of the fall in the offer of fees, with what the competition, in the economic thing, will go out winning, but the architectural quality is systematicly expelled. This is what in architecture achieves with the sacralización of the “competition” – competition only economic, for supposition-, so defended by ” contemporary idiots ” as Fernandez Ordóñez, that it directs, unfortunately (and in a suicidal decision that I ignore to whom the Bank of Spain corresponds).

This way, so where there are the scales and the studies capable of demonstrating the good quality of many Powers and Schools since in Spain is it? And where is it the company and the administrations capable of providing with better means to the universities that work and of suppressing his stupid proliferation? For when a serious control of the worst private universities, who are left to work forever with a mediocre study plan and a scanty number of doctors?

I do not believe that either the administrations or the company Spanish women are interested in the quality of the Universities. Neither I believe that the international evaluations are honest. And much less I believe that the press is capable of reporting of something sensibly and efficiency. But well it is true that with all these things we are accustomed to living.

Antonio González-Capitel Martínez · Doctor architect · professor in ETSAM

Madrid · january 2010

Antón Capitel

Es arquitecto y catedrático de Proyectos de la Escuela de Arquitectura de Madrid, fue director de la revista Arquitectura (COAM) de 1981-86 y de 2001-09. Historiador, ensayista y crítico, ha publicado numerosos artículos en revistas españolas y extranjeras sobre arquitectura española e internacional. Entre sus libros destacan diferentes monografías sobre arquitectos.

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