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50 Years after May '68: Higher Education Reform & Student Protests in France 2017/18

Students hold a banner saying:
Pupils, students and lecturers during a protest march against the reform of the higher education sector 2017/18, especially the new rules comcerning the allocation of study places. The banner says: "I got my university-entrance diploma, I chose my university. # No to selection" (01.02.18)

With the law on "Ori­en­ta­ti­on et réus­si­te des étu­di­ants" (orientation and academic success) a higher education reform was initiated in France in 2018. One of its key aspects was the reform of the system of allocation of study places / universities ("clearing"). Almost exactly 50 years after May '68, this has given rise to considerable student protests during spring 2018. In our webdossier, we provide a small overview of the reform and the debate it has stirred up. The information is sorted by language and in the language sections by themes and resources. You will find official documents and information, scientific analyses, media reports and statements by stakeholders concerned by the reform.


*German* Information on the French Higher Education Reform 2017/18

The Reform's Content and Progress
 

The portal "Kooperation International" is run on behalf of the Federal German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). It provides a good German overview in the form of news of the content and progress of the higher education reform. The news are sorted chronologically.

News available in German only. The article links to several French articles on the same topic. "Kooperation International" is a platform created with the support of the German Ministry for Education and Research.

News available in German only. The article links to several French articles on the same topic. "Kooperation International" is a platform created with the support of the German Ministry for Education and Research.

News available in German only. The article links to several French articles on the same topic. "Kooperation International" is a platform created with the support of the German Ministry for Education and Research.

News available in German only. The article links to several French articles on the same topic. "Kooperation International" is a platform created with the support of the German Ministry for Education and Research.

News available in German only. The news links to the two original French articles. "Kooperation International" is a platform created with the support of the German Ministry for Education and Research.

News available in German only. The article links to several French articles on the same topic. "Kooperation International" is a platform created with the support of the German Ministry for Education and Research.

Available only in German. [Abstract: Editors of Education Worldwide]

In the Media


"Frankreich: Der Missmut der Studenten" (France: The students' displeasure) - a report by ARTE Journals, 04.04.2018, authors: Patrick Schulze-Heil, Loïc Wibaux.
This video is also available in French.

German radio broadcast, available in German only.

[in German only] Blog article and radio broadcast of a German student in Linguistics, Journalism and Communication Science who spends a semester in France during the protests against Emmanual Macron's reform of the higher education sector, especially the new clearing system (allocation of study places). The radio broadcast was published by the University Radio Campus Vienna [...]

German radio broadcast, available only in German.

available only in German


*English* Information on the French Higher Education Reform 2017/18

A protest banner that says in French:
Protest banner during demonstrations against the French higher education reform of 2017/18 on the Campus Saint-Charles (Aix-Marseille University): "Against selection - Let's march on Macron" and "Saint-Charles is fighting"

Official Reports and Scientific Analyses

Eurydice's country report, chapter 14.4, provides a very good overview and summary of the most important points of reforms in higher education in France since 2016. The Eurydice Network is the Education Information Network in Europe. It was established by the European Commission in 1980. [Abstract: Editors of Education Worldwide]

On the occasion of a broader publication on Emmanuel Macron's first 12 months as a French president (May 2017 - April 2018), the French liberal Institut Montaigne also provides a chapter with an analysis of education and higher education under Macron. The analysis comprises the following sections: Key points, Figures, Campaign promises, Overview, Analysis, And [...]

The liberal French research institute Montaigne provides several articles and interviews on the reform of the higher education sector in France 2017/18: >> "A New Higher Education Admissions Service in France - Three Questions to Edouard Husson" 09.03.18 "Reform of The French Baccalaureate Exam - No More Cramming? 3 Questions to Christian Forestier" 16.02.18 >> [...]

Blog article by the French economist Thomas Piketty about the new and controversial portal "Parcoursup" which administers the allocation of study places. Parcoursup was installed in the course of higher education reforms in France in 2018. The author of the article, Thomas Piketty, is a professor at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS), associate [...]

The subject of this report is European higher education admission systems. While volume I provides a comparison between several countries, volume II provides the case studies on which the comparison was built. One of the cases studied is France. It describes the admission system *before* the higher education reform of 2017/18. [Abstract: Editors of Education Worldwide]

In the Media

"In France, protest is theatre. And as the half-centenary of May 1968 approaches, it looks like the props are out, the stage-set is getting the final touches, and the actors are once again learning their lines." By Hugh Schofield BBC News, Paris, 28 April 2018

"University students are continuing to protest against a new selection law across the country today, as over 400 professors and teachers join with them to publish an open letter against the 'absurd reforms'." The Connexion, French news and views, 10.04.18

"Major university reforms launched by Nicolas Sarkozy after his election as president in 2007 changed the higher education landscape in France for the first time in more than 20 years. (...) [...] like his predecessors Macron, who was elected in May 2017, promised priority for higher education and research, and increased the budget. (...) Fréderique Vidal, minister for higher [...]

"The [French] government has launched its Students Plan, with funding of nearly €1 billion (US.2 billion), aiming to cut the high first-year failure rate, reform controversial university admission processes and increase the number of places for heavily oversubscribed courses. But while it avoids overt pre-entry selection – a taboo for students – and gives students a [...]

[This article is subject to a fee] "Minister vows to end lottery as 87,000 wait to discover what they will study in year ahead. (...) Minister Frédérique Vidal said the present non-selection system was unfair, unsatisfactory and over-stretched. She particularly attacked the tirage au sort ‘lottery draw’ where students are allocated a place through chance not ability. [...]


*French* Information on the Higher Education Reform 2017/18

Part of an infographic about changes in the higher education sector (higher education reform in France 2017/18)
Part of an infographic about changes in the higher education sector (higher education reform in France 2017/18). Provided by the French Ministry for Education.

Official Information

On this page, the French National Assembly provides all the documents and information on the legislative procedure concerning the new Higher Education law "Orientation and Academic Success" in effect since 2018.

Starting in 2018, the French portal Parcoursup replaces the old allocation system for study places Admission Post-Bac (APB). Parcoursup was created as a result of a news higher education law on "orientation and study success" loi Orientation et réussite des étudiants ORE). [Abstract: Editors of Education Worldwide]

"Students' programme: practical information for families" - The changes in the French higher education law 2018 are clearly presented with infographics. "Pan Étudiants" (students' programme) was the name of the reform project that finally led to the new higher education law "Orientation et réussite des étudiants" (orientation and academic success). The information presented [...]

Statements by University Presidents, Lecturers and Students

"University: the law allows for support services that will lead all students to success." - statement by the French Conférence des présidents d’université CPU (comparable to Associations of University Professors) concerning the new Higher Education law in France, signed by more than 60 French university professors, 20.04.2018.

"Letter to the university presidents" - Open letter by Gilles Roussel, president of the French Conférence des présidents d’université CPU (comparable to Associations of University Professors) concerning the new Higher Education law in France, 09.04.2018.

"Law on Orientation and Academic Success: the CPU supports it but remains vigilant." - statement by the French Conférence des présidents d’université CPU (comparable to Associations of University Professors) concerning the new Higher Education law in France, 15.02.2018.

Press pack by the UNEF, the biggest and oldest students' association in France, as of 13 march 2018, title: "Parcoursup, clearing service for university applications: The intensification of selection, inequalities, and discriminations when applying for universities." The UNEF (Union nationale des étudiants de France) criticises the new higher education reform "Orientation et [...]

"'An absurd selection': more than 400 lecturers denounce the reform of university access" - statement that was signed by more than 400 university lecturers who speak out against the new higher education reform "Orientation et réussite des étudiants" (orientation and academic success), especially the new rules for the allocation of study places via the portal "Parcoursup". [...]

Further Information

"How the reform of the general qualification for university entrance became possible" - blog article by Marie-Caroline Missir. The author was a journalist to the well-known French news magazine "l'Express", to the French press agency "Agence Education et Formation" (AEF), which is specialised in education, and she is now the editorial director of the monthly magazine [...]

"The entry to higher education: secondary schools on the frontline." - blog article by Marie-Caroline Missir. The author was a journalist to the well-known French news magazine "l'Express", to the French press agency "Agence Education et Formation" (AEF), which is specialised in education, and she is now the editorial director of the monthly magazine "l'Etudiant" (The [...]

Last Update: 17.07.2018  -  N. Cohen ;

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