10
Academic Freedom and Higher Education in
Latin America

ORLANDO ALBÓRNOZ

The issue of academic freedom has received substantial attention in the United States in recent years. There seems to be a fairly general agreement among scholars, with substantial public concurrence, that academic freedom is a necessary part of higher education. Academic freedom also has as important a role in the developing nations although it has been a good deal less secure in these nations than in many of the industrially advanced countries.

It can be argued that the quality of university life is even more important in the developing areas than in the advanced nations because of its crucial role in modernization and in technical training. Because academic freedom is a key element in determining the tone of academic life and is generally agreed to be an important component of scholarly research, it is a vital issue in any consideration of higher education and the progress of democracy in the developing nations.

Latin America offers a particularly interesting example of the relationship of academic freedom to the emergence of an adequate system of higher education because of its combination of economic and social traditionalism and a strong background of Western higher education. In this chapter, I want to consider some aspects of academic freedom in this area as they affect the prospects for modernization in the Latin American nations. The ideas discussed here are largely a set of observations which hopefully will be elaborated by some of the empirical research concerning education at all levels which is now under way in Latin America. 1

Initially it should be stated that it is impossible to have complete aca

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