The auditorium of the Universitat de València held the Solemn Opening Event of the Academic Course 2018-2019. A large part of the Valencian society was represented in the ceremony. The President of the Valencian Government, Ximo Puig, presided over the event, which has been the official start of the academic course for Valencian universities. The Principal of the Universitat, Mª Vicenta Mestre, highlighted the social role of state universities and defended in front of the authorities stable financing, the homogenization of state taxes and a regional collective agreement for teachers and researchers.
The President of the Valencian Government, Ximo Puig, the President of the Valencian Parliament, Enric Morera, the Government Delegate of the Valencian Community, Juan Carlos Fulgencio, and members of the Council are some of the authorities that were present at the event. Additionally, the regional leaders of unions and business associations, the representatives of social movements and organizations, as well as professional associations attended the event, too. The Ceremony opened the 519th academic course of the Universitat de València.
Mª Vicenta Mestre recognised in her speech the budgetary situation of the Valencian Community. She reminded to the President of the Valencian Government the necessity to develop a plan for stable financing in order to face the teaching and researching challenges, as well as the retributions and the consolidation of university personnel.
The principal indicated that a new financing model is necessary to carry out the main investments of the following years: the renovation of the Lluís Vives Hall of Residence and the expansion of the Botanical Garden, which can now be built thanks to a cession of terrain by the Mayor of Valencia, Joan Ribó.
Mª Vicenta Mestre defended state universities and highlighted the main achievements of the Valencian University State System and the Universitat de València. She expressed her concern for the punctual cases that have question the quality of the National University System. She also recognised the task of Valencian media to show the mechanisms of control and quality verification of the Valencian Public Universities.
The Principal of the Universitat defended in front of the President of the Valencian Government the end of the negotiations of the Collective Agreement of State Valencian Universities in order to have new contractual labour arrangements for professors and researchers, as they already have in other autonomous communities, expecting a change in the national law.
The Principal remarked that an Agreement for State Universities is necessary to strengthen the university system. Mestre remembered the important contributions that state universities have carried out for the transformation of society, democracy, gender equality, the creation of a more diverse and inclusive society and a more sustainable and intelligent growth that comes from research, innovation and transparency.
Finally, the Principal expressed her gratitude for the efforts that the Valencian Government has carried out in its fee and grant policy. According to Mestre, the student fee reduction of the Valencian Government must be completed with a homogeneous national policy.
The President of the Valencian Government, Ximo Puig, indicated that these events are useful because they permit to renew the avant-garde position that the university has in society as a strong social agent that promotes equality, social transformation and ethics against intolerance. “It is necessary to promote a new social contract that defends the university and democracy.”
The General Secretary of the Universitat, Mª Elena Olmos, analysed the main challenges of the academic course 2017/2018 in her report. Olmos stated that “maintaining the replacement rates and the budgetary limitations has caused that the lack of enough public employment for this academic year to carry out efficiently the teaching necessities, particularly in the fields of knowledge with a higher loss making.
The professor José Devís of the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport imparted the lecture “Los discursos sobre las funciones de la educación física escolar. Continuidades, discontinuidades y retos.” Devís was supported by his academic mentors Vicente Anyó and Miguel Villamón. He reflected on the importance of physical education, not only for the training of students, but as a tool for social and cultural integration.