On the reform…

After more than a month of demonstrations, strike actions and various street-happenings in French universities, summarised ad nauseam on this site, the Ministry for Education has produced a much reduced version of its reform project for the evaluation and promotion of faculty members. The result is not terribly impressive as most earlier dispositions towards a more autonomous structure have been canceled: promotions will keep being decided by a national committee for each field, evaluations will not be done at the local level but again nationwise, and teaching loads are still set on a national basis. The move towards autonomy for French universities has thus not gone very far! I was feeling rather awkward trying to explain the reason for the strikes to my colleagues in the UK when I visited them last week, as all the points attacked by the French protesters have been implemented (presumably better) quite a while ago in Britain… They are actually partly implemented in some French universities but under-cover, and in breach of regulations. To reject the reform unfortunately means that this will be going on for the happy fews who can benefit from it, rather than for the whole community of active researchers.

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