Archive for reform

Dauphine blocked for a few hours

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , on March 14, 2020 by xi'an

“UK outmoded universities must modernise”

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures, University life with tags , , , , on July 3, 2015 by xi'an

[A rather stinky piece in The Guardian today, written by a consultant self-styled Higher Education expert… No further comments needed!]

“The reasons cited for this laggardly response [to innovations] will be familiar to any observer of the university system: an inherently conservative and risk-averse culture in most institutions; sclerotic systems and processes designed for a different world, and a lack of capacity, skills and willingness to change among an ageing academic community. All these are reinforced by perceptions that most proposed innovations are over-hyped and that current ways of operating have plenty of life left in them yet.”

Beyond the acceptable…

Posted in University life with tags , , on May 22, 2009 by xi'an

I came across this video yesterday about an exam at the Université de Besancon being interrupted by a group of students, calling themselves the Brigade de la Grève (the strike brigade) who systematically block exams across the campus to enforce their call for a “neutral” semester (meaning that everyone would get their credits for this semester without any grade)…

I find this story quite appalling in that a self-nominated committee can decide to stop exams on the basis they are on strike and so should the other students and so should the professors. I am also quite relieved this has not happened to me because I do not think I would react as moderately as the professor in the video

That this professor has to justify his action (of organising an exam) to the gang of half-articulate brigadiers (or that one student seriously finds it amazing that he could go against the decisions of the general assembly) is reminding me of China’s “cultural revolution” where Red Guards would bring their teacher to volunteer their auto-criticism. (The very denomination “Brigade” stinks of a para-military orientation!) This is the final step in an escalation of protests where others´ opinion can no longer be respected, as also shown by the numerous blockades/pickets organised by students on strike or calls to boycott Le Monde because the journal was not sufficiently favourable to the protests… Actually, given the discourse of the students in the video, I am not certain they have any higher goal than expressing a general protest against the current government.

On the reform…

Posted in University life with tags , , , on March 8, 2009 by xi'an

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.