ACCOUNTING FOR SUSTAINABILITY: THE DILEMMA OF POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTIONS
Polytechnic Institute of Guarda (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2012 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Conference name: 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2012
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:This research demonstrates the most important benefits of the Polytechnics in Portugal despite of significant differences between Higher Education Institutions (HEI), in general, and following the concerns presented by Zihaly et al. (2009), in particular, the globalization of teaching, research and outreach activities; additionally the dramatic increase in competition for students, staff and funding sources.
The first part of the research presents a comparative synopsis of the organizational and legal issues related with the network in Portugal at the same time it will be based on eight critical dimensions presented by Calder et al. (2003): 1. curricula; 2. research; 3. faculty and staff hiring; 4. development and rewards; 5. operations; 6. student opportunities; 7. outreach and service; 8. institutional mission, structure and planning. The second part of the research focus on the State Budget of Polytechnics in Portugal and provides accounting information of one of the more controversial issues in public higher education, and indeed to the society, which involves the issue of who pays the costs of higher education, taxpayers or students and their parents (Fethke, 2011). The third part of the research discusses findings that are consistent with the accounting and sustainability literature and promotes the results of HEI management according to legitimacy of new public management and with the reduction of its political cost. Also, these findings are consistent with the organization of the network of HEI, knowing that the merger process in several countries has been accompanied by huge increases in fixed costs on infrastructure, governance and other overheads (Jacobs & Van der Ploeg, 2006) and reduction in the number of programs had reduce the competition and quality (Kelchtermans & Verboven, 2010).
These results show that an excessive financial center of attention, however, may adversely influence traditional activities, promotion of best practices and overall strategy of higher education policy that is focus on the decentralization of large to small centers. The students could enjoy a quiet life, balanced and with a high-quality of environment in these small centers. Instead of living in large centers, concentrated of population, industry, commerce and services, with reduce "quality of life" and without an adequate student environment that will develop its psycho-sociological youth integrated into the society and with a cost and standard of living extremely high. Thus, the lemma will be "learning and life with quality" ensuring, therefore, sustainable development of these regions and saving money of their families, strengthening local economies and reducing government expenditure.
Keywords: Accounting, Sustainability, Polytechnic Institution.