The public character of school has recently been called into question more often. I examine the question given in the title in terms of three different aspects (juridical, institutional and performative), each of which is linked with a number of disturbing transformations of public schools (privatization of that which is public, re-feudalization, and commodification of education). By virtue of such an analysis and with reference to research on the essence of what is public, I make an attempt to formulate the key meanings of the public character of school.
The article is an answer to questions concerning values, goals and functions of the University in the era of globalization changes that enforce changes in the area of higher education. The author emphasizes the need for balanced development of science, humanities and social sciences as a condition for preserving research independence, as well as the importance of cooperation, both in research and in the „shaping of autonomous institutionalism” of the University (Roggero). The article provides an analysis of the commercialization process of research results, based on data from Polish and foreign studies, and indicates its various forms and social costs. This is a study of the University's condition in the face of the growing importance of transnational corporations, regulating not only the flow of capital, but also the distribution of scientific prestige and appropriating in a different way the effects of academic work. The metaphor of the university as a enterprise/knowledge factory visualizes the errors in perceiving the role that it should play. It proves that research and teaching is not the production and transmission of knowledge, but the creation and sharing of knowledge. In this dialogical process, the idea of a university understood as a community of educators and taught in pursuit of truth is achieved most fully, not for glory, for making profit or for gaining a competitive advantage.