Definition of Academic Training

lilen gomez
Professor in Philosophy

Academic training is the education provided in educational institutions of university level or higher —in which professionals from different areas are trained— and research centers.

It is an important section in individual development, regarding the interests and aspirations that one has, and according to the demands of the labor market. Specific professions cannot be practiced without having the corresponding university degree, applied for example in the fields of Law and Medicine. On the other hand, in cases such as Journalism or Computer Programming, although academic training does not necessarily become a requirement, it does function as support for the knowledge that the person should be able to articulate. Embodied knowledge carried out through accredited institutions constitutes an element of the Curriculum vitaeas a classic instrument for presenting professional capacity.

Origins of the academic tradition

The origins of the academic tradition go back to Antiquity, being identified with the foundation around the year 387 a. C. of the Academy of Athens, by the Greek philosopher Plato. Originally, the Academy was a space dedicated to the worship of the muses, so the predominantly scientific and cultural character of the institution is a matter of controversy between different authors.

However, Plato himself in his work Republic gives an account of the study curriculum in which the ruling philosophers had to be trained, so that the contents taught in the Academy can potentially be deduced from there. Such contents were addressed to the cultivation of the intellect, since, through it, we approach the realm of true reality. Among them, arithmetic, geometry, stereometry, harmony and astronomy are mentioned; On the other hand, testimonies have survived that confirm the relevance of mathematics and astronomy among the subjects developed in the Platonic school.

Legislation and politics were also areas of interest in academic training, as essential knowledge for the leadership of the state. Finally, the characteristic feature of the Academy, among other forms of teaching of the time —such as, for example, those carried out by the sophists—, was the study of philosophy and dialectics that, from Plato’s perspective, established the bases of all knowledge.

Through the dialectical method, inherited from the Socratic maieutics (which made the disciples “born” ideas, through questions and answers), students had to exercise their intellect to achieve understanding by their own effort.

After Plato’s death, the Academy survived for a few years, going through multiple transformations, until it was finally closed by Justinian, head of the Byzantine Empire, in the year 529.

university and academy

The university institution was born around the 11th century, as part of the European intellectual renaissance, around the study of philosophy and theology. In a first instance, higher education was organized in centers called studio generale, that is, educational centers that received students from different regions. Thus, communities of students who migrated to carry out their studies were gradually formed.

Since its inception, the university corporation fought for its autonomy from local authorities, finding support in the ecclesiastical institution. The organization of the medieval university, thus, received a strong religious imprint. After its genesis, universities developed in different ways in each region. Thus, by the 13th century, the first faculties specialized in particular branches of knowledge began to be established in Europe.

During the Middle Ages, the university had as its objective the transmission of the culture of the time; later, towards modernity, the medieval scheme of the university entered into crisis, emerging a model of a mostly scientific and professional nature. At the beginning of the 19th century, then, the first universities under state control were founded, with a manifest objective of training professionals and dedicated to scientific progress.

Actuality of the academy

In the context of the advance of the capitalist system, from modernity to the present day, the academy has been consolidated as part of a network of knowledge production in which other actors are involved, namely the state and companies. Since the deepening of neoliberal regimes in recent decades, public universities have entered a period of deep crisis due to underfunding, particularly in Latin America.

The imbrication of the academy and the market —with a broad rejection of the student movements, for example, in the face of measures such as the modification of the study plans based on business interests— puts at risk the capacity of the universities to respond to the social demands in contexts of extreme inequality. In this sense, the academy, originally thought of as a “temple of knowledge”, has become a disputed field, revealing the necessary link between the knowledge produced there and the conflicts that are going through society as a whole.



Fields, APV (2007). Plato and the Academy. In Universal History of philosophical thought (pp. 309-389).

Chuaqui, J. (2002). About the history of universities. Chilean Journal of Pediatrics, 73(6), 583-585.

Galcerán Huguet, M. (2013). Between the academy and the market. Athenea Digital: journal of thought and social research, 13(1), 0155-167.