Will the French Government be obliged to review the Law concerning the freedom of Universities, the so-called Pécresse Law for Liberties and Responsibilities of the Universities – LRU ?

Article published on Nov. 8, 2007
Article published on Nov. 8, 2007
Many General Assemblies (GA) have taken place since the start of the new academic year in order to have people debate and get mobilized against this law which was voted this summer, when students and a large majority of universities’ staff were in holidays. Many GAs resulted in strikes and the blockade of some universities.
The universities presently on strike are Paris I-Tolbiac, Paris VIII-Vincennes, Rouen, Toulouse le Mirail etc. According to the National Union of French Students (UNEF) GAs should go on.

Nevertheless, some conflicts exist upon the demands. A majority of the students belonging to the previous universities are asking for nothing more than the simple repeal of the law, whereas the UNEF thinks that this demand is not “reachable”.

As one can understand from its title, this law intends to give more autonomy to universities in terms of budget and human resources’ management, and it may also be unable them to get access to real estate property by 2011. It increases their presidents’power, shrinks the universities’ staff as well as the students’ representation, and gives an important role to external people (like chiefs of firms for instance) in the decision making process.

Besides, it supports “professional orientation and integration” and considers the “spreading of culture and of scientific and technical information”, as well as “international cooperation”, of secondary importance. According to many students and to the teaching staff, professional orientation and integration should not prevail upon “initial training and block-release training”, “scientific and technical research, and the enhancement of good results”.

Some similar reforms have taken place in other European member states (in Italy for example); the results were not brilliant, on the contrary. Let’s see, now, if these demonstrations which are, indeed, occurring in a social environment rather hostile to the Government, will reach the scale of the CPE (Contrat Première Embauche) that led to the retaliation of the Government.

Renald LUBERICE / Translation : Sophie HELBERT

 Café Babel Special