Monday, April 22, 2013

Socialist Academics Contest Government's Program for University Reform

A group of Socialist academics is protesting the university reforms proposed by the government (loi Fioraso). The gist of their complaint seems to be that too much of the spirit of the Pécresse reform (LRU) has been retained, including the strong emphasis on centralized management by university presidents. The protesters want greater "collegiality," that is, more power for faculty and staff, as well as larger budgets (which they say the LRU dangled before them but never made good on).

I predicted that Hollande's election would not change much in this area, but it brings me no joy to say that I was right.

Peillon, Citing "Intellectual and Moral Crisis," Proposes a Course in "Lay Morality"

Sarkozy insisted that the école laïque had failed to replace the Church as moral educator of France's young and proposed in some vague way that the priests be brought back in. Vincent Peillon, the current minister of education, appears to share the diagnosis of failure but as a good lay republican he thinks that the école laïque can heal itself. Hence his proposal to institute a course in "lay morality." Le Monde waspishly suggests that it can think of a number of politicians who could use a refresher course, but Peillon deflects the jab by insisting that what France needs is "un sursaut collectif." A nice Gaullist idea and Gaullist word, sursaut collectif. In these desperate times, the Socialist Republic seems to feel the need of a little Gaullian backbone. I wouldn't hold out much hope for, like, you know, actual results, however.

High Price of Housing Hurts French Competitiveness

Housing costs in France are high, especially relative to Germany, and this housing inflation, through its effect on wages and salaries, hurts French competitiveness, according to this piece in Le Monde.