Archive for autonomy

“Les universités dans un cul de fac”

Posted in University life with tags , , on May 14, 2009 by xi'an

This was the headline of Libération on Tuesday and, while the pun is difficult to translate (cul-de-sac turned into cul-de-fac for faculties, maybe Universities imteached would make sense…), it conveys both the feeling of the reform of faculty status, having reached a dead end and the terrible impact on the image of French universities (at least nationwide). As posted in earlier posts, the government and in particular the ministers for education and universities just botched their attempt at reforming the status of faculty members. Following Sarkozy’s principles of “ça passe ou ça casse!“, they first announced a whole range of radical changes without first discussing with anyone, then, faced with widespread protests, they started discussions and gradually removed items from this reform to the point it is now mostly empty… This was a recipe for a disaster that indeed happened: giving up in front of the protests lead to wider demands and the university protests have now reached such a wide scale of demands that (a) they obviously cannot be met and (b) as put by Libération, everyone is a loser. The reformation has not taken place, [some] teachers and researchers have not taught nor done any research for [most of] a semester, [some] students have not had classes for [most of] a semester, the lackluster French universities are even less appealing to prospective French students [as compared with engineer and business schools] and to Erasmus visiting students, and, in the end, the move towards a more autonomous and more efficient university governance has been stopped at an early stage, once again for ideological reasons. The situation is that hopeless that yesterday students started fighting other students who were picketing the entrance to Saint Etienne university… The last time I saw students fighting, it was on the UCV campus in Caracas, it figures!