Re-focusing Institutional Autonomy: The Portuguese Decree Law of 2007
To analyse so complex and widely ranging a piece of legislation as an Act that re-defines the legal framework of a higher education system in toto is a task that is doughty in the extreme. It is no less so when this analysis has to take account of the continuities and changes introduced by the Act. Agreed, there is always an easy way out. In this case, the solution de facilité would be to concentrate wholly, specifically and exclusively on those elements which touch upon institutional and positional autonomy. However, such an approach is far from satisfactory. On sheer pragmatic grounds, the fact remains — and it has been observed in countless studies on the kaleidoscopic face of autonomy in higher education — that changes brought to bear on, and in operationalizing, autonomy have a ‘knock- on’ effect in other areas of an institution’s activities. These areas are not always directly involved or strictly a part of the dimensions that determine both the nature and the extent of autonomy itself. Thus, the observer does well indeed to be exceedingly chary of the pitfalls that lie in wait for him or her! They are many and they are subtle.
KeywordsHigh Education High Education System High Education Policy Institutional Autonomy Portuguese Context
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