Munich Personal RePEc Archive

On how can higher education institutions contribute, or not, to the success, or not, of public policies of social cohesion

Caleiro, António (2018): On how can higher education institutions contribute, or not, to the success, or not, of public policies of social cohesion.

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Abstract

Public policies aimed at achieving an increased level of social cohesion were initially confronted with a problem associated with what would/should be understood as social cohesion. This problem has raised difficulties in its implementation and monitoring, which has been tried to reduce, for example, by the latest European Union recommendations on Cohesion Policies. In fact, the reduction in the ambiguity of what is meant by social cohesion has also made it possible to better identify the instruments and agents of public policy that best contribute to that goal. Based on this fact, our objective is to analyze a less considered aspect in the literature, which is the importance of higher education institutions (HEIs) in public policies aimed at social cohesion. In doing so, we consider two points of view: 1. How HEIs may, or may not, contribute to that objective, through its external effects, eventually on the surrounding territory; 2. How can HEIs contribute, or not, to those objectives, through their internal effects, possibly on the level of social cohesion of the individuals who constitute them. This second point of view, which, as far as we know, has been (even more) ignored by literature, is, as a fundamental, crucial to that first point of view, since, without internal social cohesion, HEIs can hardly contribute, as much as possible, to external social cohesion.

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