In a straight news article it can sometimes be difficult to figure out where the reporter’s sympathies lie but for the careful observer there are a few clues. Take the article in today’s Dziennik about the decision to fund private third level colleges from public funds. The headline reads “Government to finance private colleges” (“Rząd dofinansuje uczelnie prywatne”). How very kind of the government (Donald Tusk and Co.). You can bet if the paper disapproved of this handover of public monies to private business the headline would read “Taxpayer to finance private colleges.” There are clues as to the sympathies of the newspaper within the article too. For instance “…as a result they [private colleges] will be able to reduce their fees” (“Dzięki temu będą mogły obniżyć czesne”). They could use the taxpayers’ money to reduce fees for the students, sure, or they could use it to increase dividends, buy walnut dashboards for the boss’s company car or just about anything really.
Stanisław Mocek, of the private school Collegium Civitas, has a wonderful comment to make on the matter: “…it’s time to end the stereotype of the division into public and non-public colleges and start dividing them into good and bad” (“…czas zerwać ze stereotypem podziału na uczelnie publiczne i niepubliczne, a zacząć je dzielic na dobre i złe.”) A stereotype? There is a difference between public and non-public colleges: the former are public and the latter are not. It’s not a stereotype. It’s a fact, not a terribly complicated one, I would have thought – but I’m not the pro-dean for didactics in a private university.