Sunday, May 17, 2009


An interesting note in Les Echos suggests that the blocked universities are mainly those where the study of literature, law, and human sciences is dominant and that in these disciplines 60 to 70 pct of students are women. The suggestion is that many women in these fields will go on to teach at the primary and secondary levels and are therefore especially affected by the "masterization" requirement for teachers. I can't confirm any of these claims, but the hypothesis is more interesting than the allegation (by the government and some Socialists) that the blockages are the result of manipulation by the extreme left.


Anonymous said...

It's a very interesting point. France does not have "School of Education" - its IUFM are grad schools. So essentially these striking universities serve as waiting grounds until students can start teacher preparation and now teacher preparation would be eliminated entirely, so they'd jump from, say, a Master's in Sociology to teaching Kindergarten with no Education course whatsoever... Even TFAers get to have their Summer Institute to learn how to make a lesson or how to manage students, with some guided student teaching thrown in. Also I somehow imagined the blockers and strikers as young men... it flips this mental image totally.

On another note, if you're interested in what a French 2nd grader is supposed to know in order to be considered "at grade level" in Language Arts and Math, here it is:
I found some questions very indicative of the French system (classify nouns, articles, and verbs... Lots of questions based on implicit understanding of texts, word problems, basic plane geometry and symetry...)

Leo said...

The hypothesis may sound more "interesting" than the government's allegations but I don't think it's true.

Those same universities have been the subject of strong student rebellions since the dawn of mankind (yes, I know, I exaggerate but you see the point). In any case long before the proposed "masterization".

A case in point is that they are all enduring a significant enrolment shrinkage which started years ago.

Very few gauchistes are attracted by a scientific education and most of them end up in social sciences, preferably sociology. It's a much more plausible explanation. At least on this one I stand with the gorvernment.

Passerby said...

A decade ago, chosing social science or "lettres" usually meant having much less courses. In terminale, I had friends weighting the benefits of Sociology versus Psychology, based on hours of classes per week. Which I think were respectively 19 & 15 (but my memory could betray me).

No need to say, that the job market
wouldn't be rosy for students who went to university to study hardly-marketable topics; especially with this kind of motivation.

All this to say that, contrary to hard science universities (like "medecine") with packed schedules and much better job prospects, social sciences universities have much more reasons (and possibly time) to protest.

I don't think that whether they are "gauchistes" or future teachers matters much.