As developing countries build their higher education sectors, many see the "US-style university" as the desired model. This typically means an institution that combines teaching at most or all postsecondary levels with a broad, internationally recognised research programme, all in a campus-like setting. Faculty are expected both to teach and to carry out research in areas that are globally recognised as important. But is this really an appropriate model?
Many countries considering this model do not have the base of the pyramid in place. Without it, the elite university cannot effectively play the role that its proponents assume. And last but not least, this is the most expensive model of higher education ever invented. Combining research and teaching may have benefits, but it also has high costs. Research faculty command relatively high salaries compared with teaching faculty, and they teach relatively few students. Research facilities are expensive to build and maintain. Even the US is finding that it can no longer afford this model.
developing countries should concentrate on building institutions of quality that respond to the issues, challenges and opportunities of their own situations. They should investigate radically different approaches that lower the cost of higher education while achieving appropriate educational goals.
This independent path is the best way to serve their citizens and their futures. In time, the best of these institutions will come to define "world class" in 21st-century terms, just as happened in the US in the 20th century.
Sérgio Godinho, "Não te deixes assim vestir"
(a partir do minuto 6)