Monday, May 5, 2014

The Failure of University Reform

The reform of the universities undertaken by the Sarkozy administration under minister Valérie Pécresse had some promising features. Decentralization of university administration might have led to more efficient management and greater circulation of scholars among universities. But to have succeeded, funds would have had to be made available to university administrators. This did not happen. The result is predictable: strapped universities, left to their own devices, have no choice but to close important facilities, such as libraries. They are expected to make do with what funds they have, with no emergency backstop. Decentralized management is a fine idea if decentralized fundraising yields necessary funding. Without it, failure is inevitable.