One thing is certain and that is the uncertainty of the changes to come. The pandemic is shifting society, creating unexpected opportunities for reshaping all areas life, not just the medical sector. The form and direction these changes will take shouldn’t be left in the hands of autocratic leaders and neoliberal institutions seeking to re-establish old systems of power. Universities must play a central role in shaping the post-COVID-19 world.
International leaders of higher education are thus calling for universities to renew their commitments to foundational democratic values. Higher education shapes society at all levels, from the bottom up. For this reason, institutions of higher educations are needed more than ever to foster the democratic culture that ensures the functioning of democratic law. The neoliberal entrepreneurial university can’t accomplish this, but neither can the old model of the ivory tower detached from the rest of the world. What is needed are universities that see their purpose in actively sustaining democratic communities characterized by participation, cooperation and commitment to the public good.