Ranking: il cancro delle Università moderne

Il ranking è il nuovo cancro delle università odierne. Il malsano pensiero che si possano comparare gli istituti accademici di tutto il mondo, che differiscono per contenuti, organizzazione, lingue, storia e didattica, ha origine a Shangai, presso l’università Jiao Tong, ad opera di un gruppo di scienziati che, presi dal desiderio irrefrenabile di fondare sul territorio asiatico un’università riconosciuta e apprezzata a livello mondiale, hanno sciaguratamente tentato di determinare degli indicatori universali che potessero classificare, e dunque comparare, i luoghi di formazione delle giovani menti. Nel 2003 Shangai produce la prima classifica ARWU, destinata ad alimentare costantemente il dibattito istituzionale universitario, e tredici anni dopo, superando ogni confine geografico e culturale, raggiunge anche Salerno, ponendo il primo campus del mezzogiorno tra i migliori cinquecento istituti accademici di formazione. Un grande riconoscimento.

Prima, però, di appendere qualche medaglia al petto o di aggiungere una stellina alla già maestosa scritta “unisa.it” e di arricchire il curriculum dell’ateneo, è opportuno ampliare i confini del merito favorendo una riflessione sul paniere di indicatori che l’università Jiao Tong adotta, e inserire tale studio nel più ampio scenario del ranking che continua a mietere vittime. Sebbene gli studiosi asiatici volessero unicamente estrapolare delle proprietà intrinseche ad ogni luogo di formazione che si rispetti, il risultato verificatosi è quello di un vero e proprio racket delle classifiche, e una riduzione esigua del dibattito universitario che più che essere volto alla formazione di menti libere, si interessa, sempre più spesso e quasi unicamente, di raggiungere posizioni alte in una o in un’altra classifica.

Ogni classifica è una competizione, ma anche le classifiche competono tra di loro. In origine, infatti, esisteva soltanto l’ARWU, ma il prestigio che la stessa ha raggiunto, ha condotto il mondo occidentale a rispondere. E’ in tale circostanze che nasce la QS-THE, coniugazione di due realtà differenti: la Quacquarelly Symonds e il Times Higher Education, distaccatesi nel 2010 per contrasti di metodi, e che ad oggi concorrono separatamente a divenire la classifica più influente. Tralasciata la macro-competizione, e volendosi avviare a quella micro delle università, è indispensabile soffermarsi sui metodi che queste classifiche utilizzano.

Ogni classifica adotta metodi diversi ed ognuna di essa è libera di attribuire il peso che preferisce ad ogni determinato indicatore. La QS, ad esempio, si basa principalmente sulle reputation surveys, ossia sulle opinioni e i commenti che dottori, studiosi e docenti possono esprimere in base all’esperienza maturata in una determinata università. L’ARWU trascura del tutto questo indicatore, ma considera il numero di premi Nobel e medaglie Fields ottenuti dagli alunni e dal corpo accademico, il numero di articoli pubblicati nelle riviste Science e Nature e il cosiddetto Science Citation Index che è un indicatore che conta le citazioni contenute nelle seicento riviste scientifiche più importanti al mondo. La mera lettura degli indicatori fornisce una chiara idea sul tipo di classifica che l’università di Shangai redige, interamente rivolta al piano scientifico. Nessuno dei premi ottenibili in campo umanistico è considerato. Dunque quanto può essere veritiera ed esaustiva del mondo universitario, una classifica che prende in esame soltanto i risultati, e non i progressi raggiunti in base ad una certa partenza, e tra l’altro risultati unicamente scientifici? Ma c’è di più.

Queste classifiche, che come già detto utilizzano indicatori diversi in peso differente e tralasciano le discipline umanistiche, ricevono un’attenzione mediatica fuori da ogni ordinario. Sempre più spesso, infatti, si inneggiano i meriti di chi rientra in queste graduatorie e si sbeffeggiano gli affanni di chi ne resta fuori, appiattendo completamente il dibattito tra accademici, e che possono condurre gli atenei a dare fin troppo peso a queste graduatorie. In pochi forse sanno che le stesse agenzie che redigono queste classifiche, possono offrire anche consulenza alle università, offrono cioè consigli, suggerimenti alle stesse per aiutarle a rientrare più facilmente nelle classifiche che di certo conferirà loro un certo prestigio. Ma quali consigli, non a titolo gratuito tra l’altro, possono somministrare agenzie che guardano unicamente le scienze naturali? Potranno mai suggerire di rafforzare la didattica dei dipartimenti umanistici?

Inoltre, affinché un’agenzia classifichi e compari vari istituti, è necessario che l’università scelga di partecipare alla competizione, rendendo noti documenti e dati dell’istituto. Quella degli atenei è quindi una partecipazione attiva, una volontà manifestata di rientrare in queste classifiche per aumentare prestigio e fama dell’istituto. Dal momento che queste classifiche ignorano del tutto gli studi umanistici, considerando unicamente le scienze naturali, che il loro contenuto è considerato un modo per orientarsi nel mondo accademico, che sono ampiamente considerate dai media, e che offrono consulenza alle università per inserirle più facilmente, non si rischia che vengano diffusi dati falsati, tendenti a premiare un solo ambito universitario?

Il ranking è il cancro delle università moderne perché promuove unicamente la competizione, svilendo del tutto le diversificate realtà accademiche di tutto il mondo. E più che università competitive, noi vorremmo università formative.

Antonella Tanya Maiorino

 

 

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