Mission of universities: the search for truth or the pursuit of profit?

Andrzej Kajetan Wróblewski

Abstract


The first part of the speech contains the author’s reminiscences from the secondary school years and his early contacts with the Warsaw University of Technology. The main part concerns the mission of universities in the present world. In 1932 the eminent Polish philosopher Kazimierz Twardowski wrote an essay on the dignity of universities in which he stressed that the first and only mission of universities is the search for truth and dissemination of the scientific way of thinking. This is often at odds with the politicians who may try to twist or neglect the truth in their pursuit of power. The present Minister of Science and Higher Education would rather see the universities in Poland acting in a way similar to factories, that is, “producing” alumni and making profit. The newly established very restrictive Law of Higher Education puts many aspects of teaching and research acitivities under strict control of the Minister. The author thinks that some articles of that Law are contrary to the Constitution of Poland.

Keywords


mission of universities; truth; scientific way of thinking

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